Applications and Data Sets

The first homework assignment for students in the Government 2.0 consulting course was to find prior art (i.e., existing applications on the web) and data sets that might inspire them. Here's what they found: Applications
  1. http://www.wikitude.org/: Wikitude is a Smartphone application that acts as a travel guide. It uses Wikipedia content to tell you information about the world around you. For example the user could just point their phone camera at a monument, and they would get an instant Wiki paragraph about the object they're looking at.
  2. http://www.widetag.com/widenoise/: Widenoise is an iPhone application that people use to determine the level of noise in their area and compare it to the rest of the city. It also displays the gathered data on a world-wide interactive map.
  3. http://www.moving.com/real-estate/compare-cities/index.asp: Lets you compare two US cities in several categories - demographics, income and jobs, ethnicity, education, climate, crime and residential.
  4. http://www.cityofdayton.org/departments/pw/Pages/GraffitiReportingTool.aspx: Graffiti Reporting Tool - City of Dayton, Ohio. The only mandatory field is "Address of Graffiti", which makes it easy to report this kind of art.
  5. http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3620&Itemid=1324: Boulder CO USA, Online Public Works Reporting. This is a very simple online reporting tool for people of boulder to report any problem with public facilities, including streets, bikelanes, sidewalks, paths, city buildings, and even Graffiti problems. This service is beneficial to both citizens and the municipal government, as it improves the maintenance turn-around time. People have their neighborhood hardware in good condition, and the local government can cut down costs on searching for hardwares that need repair. A potential improvement to this project is to add support for mobile platforms, which could conceivably encourage a lot more citizens to participate.
  6. https://ottawa.ca/cgi-bin/form.cgi?dir=cimmunization&form=immunization_en: Ottawa online children immunization record update. This is another simple online reporting tool for people to update the immunization records for their children. Since, the health care providers do not automatically update with Public Health when boosters are given, this is very important for gathering this valuable piece of information.
  7. http://movement.nyu.edu/DotShow/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DcG1yP5Y_l5k: Chris Bregler's "DotShow" motion capture app. Chris Bregler is a researcher at NYU working on computer vision and motion capture. His team wrote an Iphone application allowing users to record video and perform motion capture, producing a video of marker dots. The data gets stored on a centralized server, and is available to all users. The intent is for it to be something fun, and is used as a crowd sourcing tool to obtain lots of real world data to use as test cases for their algorithms. Apparently it's been quite successful. The cool thing is that the marker dots representation allows the actors to remain anonymous.
  8. http://www.appsfordemocracy.org/wheres-my-money-dc/: This application lists Washington's public spending and provides a forum for people to discuss it. Very simple implementation, but the motivation I think is very strong. Most people, probably 99.9% have no clue about the size and allocation of government's budget. Applications like these would allow people to have discussions based on factual data, rather than the general shouting match between "government's wasting my money" vs. "we should be spending more on services".
  9. http://vancouver.ca/vanmap/ and http://map.navteqidmap.com/destination/vancouver/: The City's all encompassing map that pulls together information and data from a variety of sources, and puts it into maps you can view, save or print. VanMap doesn't just offer street names and intersections, it also shows property lines, zoning information, sewer mains, water mains, addresses, public places and more.
  10. http://www.govloop.com/: This application does not explicitly use publicly available data to serve the city, instead it provides a social network for government employees. Together they connect and collaborate on ways to improve government from the inside. Recent discussions and blogs have addressed topics such as Gov 2.0, Participatory Budgeting, and Creating New Government Leaders.
  11. http://www.blinkenlights.net/stereoscope: Stereoscope is a temporary art installation during the art festival Nuit Blanche, that allowed any passerby to play a simple video game on the building facade of Toronto City Hall with a cell phone. This was done by installing a set of strobe lights behind the windows at city hall, which were wirelessly controlled through software. The barrier to entry for this application was very low, allowing anybody with a mobile phone, willing to incur the necessary phone costs, to participate. This display added value by creating an extra dimension of interactivity to an existing public space, while being relatively cheap to both implement and participate in. This application also had the added benefit of providing artists with the ability to temporarily upload their displays onto city hall, and thus giving value to the artists to promote their displays to a large (and considering the venue, probably attentive) audience, and for the public to enjoy a wider variety of local art, including that of the installation itself.
  12. http://www.nextmuni.com: The San Francisco Muni site site provides detailed, up-to date information about departure and arrival times for the San Francisco Muni transit system. The system is designed to be accessible from almost any cell phone, by providing WAP access for older smartphones, and even allowing individual updates via SMS, making it available to most commuters. The greatest value of this system is when the buses are not running on time, since it can give users the information necessary to decide whether to take another route that is usually longer, take a taxi, or know that the bus is really just around the corner. It places the commuter in greater control of how they manage their schedule.
  13. http://www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca/: Cycling Metro Vancouver, a collabarotion between UBC and the City of Vancouver among others, acts as a route planner for cyclists in the Metro Vancouver Area. It provides the standard route planner features that exist in popular online tools, such as google maps. In fact, the GUI is exactly like that of Google Maps, but also provides additional refinement options, such as restricting the largest slope on the route. Clearly, this site is designed for cyclists that care to plan their optimal route ahead of time, in order to avoid dangerous roads or large hills. This site is important, as it brings together the most important information a cyclist needs to make an informed decision about the route that they want to take.
  14. http://www.outsideindc.com/bikes: This website shows bike lanes and multiple different kinds of bicycle resources in Washington, DC. It sources information off of the city for bike lane and theft information, and even scrapes craigslist to figure out where items in the bicycle category are being sold. The result is a website for bicycle enthusiasts to find new paths to bike on, find where major bike hubs in the city are, and more.
  15. www.walkscore.com: Walk Score is a website that generates and displays the reasoning behind a "Walkability" score, given an address in a city in the world. The application counts businesses in different categories near the address given to determine whether or not a car or public transit is necessary to get the "essentials" from your address, or whether it is possible to walk everywhere that is necessary. Using these walk scores, people moving or visiting different cities can find places where the essentials are in easy walking distance, which is a good indication of a downtown/popular sector.
  16. http://mps-expenses.guardian.co.uk/: The Guardian broke one of the biggest stories of the year in the UK by crowdsourcing the reading of MPs' expense reports. They had an enormous public dataset of scanned documents, and they essentially made a game out of it to involve the community. As a result, a really important piece of investigative journalism was fielded out, and everyone benefited. As a cool aside, the software was developed by one of the co-creators of Django, Simon Willison, over the course of a single week (http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/06/four-crowdsourcing-lessons-from-the-guardians-spectacular-expenses-scandal-experiment/).
  17. http://www.toiletmap.gov.au/: Australia has a map of all the public toilets in the country. You can browse by a flat map, but also use a trip planner to schedule your rest stops. The applications in the Toronto context would be different, as the GTA isn't quite as large as Australia, but it could be a boon to tourism and plan-ahead types.
  18. http://www.torontohumanesociety.com/default.asp: This site is for animal lovers in Toronto to easily find the type of animals that they want to adopt, as well as those who currently have pets but can no longer keep them to publicize the information so that these pets can find new owners. In addition, they provide "Lost and Found" section so that people who lost their pets can put up public postings in hope of someone finding and returning them. They also provide shelters for stray pets. In summary, it is a platform for both pet trading and lost pet claiming.
  19. http://www.heffel.com/Index.aspx: Canada's National Fine Art Auction House. This is not only a site with all kinds of information about auctions going on. It is also a convenient application for auctioning online as well as searching for particular artists and/or art pieces.
  20. http://www.tsoundcheck.com/: One of my most frequently checked websites. It provides services for updating the lastest concerts that are going to be held in Toronto, performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Users can also purchase tickets on this website and book for season packages as well as subscritions.
  21. http://www.discoverhongkong.com/planner/eng/: This application plans several possible themed trips to Hong Kong, grouping attractions and eateries within a certain area into a particular period of time during your stay. Commuting instructions are provided to get from one area to the next. Detailed information (or links to them) are also provided.
  22. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/trip/: Ministry of Transportation provides information regarding daily construction, current traffic flow on major routes, and pictures from actual traffic cameras for major cities in Ontario. This is in the form of an interactive map so users can gather important information in one glance and plan their trip.
  23. http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/: Many Eyes. This website hosts the Data visualisation tools from IBM, allowing users to upload data and then produce graphic representations in several forms (like Bar Chart, Bubble Chart, Block histogram, Word Tree, Tag Cloud, Scatter Cloud and a lot many) for others to view and even comment upon. Also one can find large amount of data sets posted by other users here: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/datasets?q=toronto (I have searched for Toronto and got these 23 results).
  24. http://www.erideshare.com/carpool.php?city=Toronto: Car Pooling. Share a car, make new friends and even environmental friendly.
  25. http://visiblegovernment.ca/about/people: VisibleGovernment.ca is a Canadian non-profit that promotes online tools for government transparency. The objective of this initiative is to improve civic participation and government accountability by providing online tools for government transparency. All their tools are open source and freely available. A couple of interesting applications are:
    • http://www.disclosed.ca/: Disclosed.ca keeps track of 247253 contracts available since 2004 under the Government of Canada Proactive Disclosure. Disclosed.ca collects contract disclosure information from over a hundred different federal government websites, and makes them easily searchable.
    • http://fixmystreet.ca/: FixMyStreet.ca allows citizens to report problems in their neighborhood like graffiti, potholes, excessive garbage, or street lighting. People can browse reports that other people have submitted, and subscribe to reports they'd like to see fixed.
  26. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/: TheyWorkForYou.com is an initiative from MySociety (http://www.mysociety.org/) providing UK citizens with a range of information on their politicians, such as: Who their local MP is; What MPs said in Parliament; Summaries of how MPs have voted; Text of debates in Parliament; Video of MPs talking in debates; Written questions MPs have submitted to government departments, and the answers they've got back; Email alerts whenever an MP speaks, or a topic is mentioned in Parliament etc. According to Google Analytics the site was visited by 2 million Britons in 2007. MySociety also provides many other interesting Government 2.0 applications.
  27. http://www.apptism.com/apps/red-rocket: This application can be installed on an ipod or iphone and connects to the Internet to help citizens of Toronto use the public transport system. Some of the features of this applications are:
    1. approximate schedules for trains, buses and street cars
    2. official TTC maps of downtown, google maps of the GTA and all stops, TTC routes and and locations of bike racks
    3. you can save your most favorite routes and maps
    4. you can search for routes by name, number and street
    When your device cannot connect to the internet some of these features are still available. To use it full feature your device should be connect to the internet. The usergroup for this application is anyone who can purchase it. I have not installed this application but read reviews which indicate it is just as reliable as the TTC transit schedule because live data is not yet streamed for the TTC system, so that users get real time data. However it is a good tool for on-the-go people to use to help them plan their routes and give an approximate time for public transit vehicles. Users should watch for updates from the developers of the product as this will contain updated TTC changes.
  28. http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html#dirsearch2: FindLaw's is a site that allows users to search the legal cases and decisions made by the US supreme court since 1893. Some of the search criteria are party name, citation and there is a full text search. Users of this system would be anyone who can access the internet and has an interest in this information. This site is particularly helpful to law practitioners and non-practitioners who have cases they are interested in. In Trinidad I was able to search a Trinidadian version of this site in order to gain information about a legal matter that I had a great interest in. Case Law in Trinidad would allow a person to use the verdicts of past cases in order to set the precident for present cases. I created an account and searched some cases for a non-practitioner of law I find this site very helpful in explaining the circumstances of the case and the verdict that was given and in some cases explaining why the verdict was given.
  29. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html: This site is run by the law department of Cornell University and similar to the site above allows users to search for cases by certain criteria such as name. This site however seems to contain more detailed tracking of certain cases than the one above, for cases it determines to fall within the group of the "most important decisions through the whole period of its existence". This site and the one above do not give exactly the same search results for the same search criteria and have both shown to be lacking in results that the other contains. This site, similar to the one above will be useful to people who want to search for cases and their judgments but appears to be focused more on people who want details about cases that fit the criteria of "most important".
  30. http://www.thisweknow.org/: ThisWeKnow is a database search frontend of Federal data (geographical information, legislative data, and U.S. Census). Very similar to EveryBlock, users search by entering ZIP codes or city names. Their purpose is to make these federal data easily accessible and easily comprehensible.
  31. http://www.appsfordemocracy.org/dc-location-aware-realtime-alerts/: PointAbout is a location aware iPhone app using data from Washington DC. Depending on where you are in DC, it will show events such as crime reports and building permits near your location. On top of this, they are working with some universities and colleges to create a reporting and alerting system. Users can report on things in the university via the app. There are also expanding to Blackberrys soon.
  32. http://casper.frontier.nl/: Visualizing real-time flight data in Amsterdam airport. This is an app that displays real time flight movements of planes departing and arriving in the Schiphol airport at Amsterdam. It actually shows animations of individual aircrafts and their movement path, altitude, plane make and model, airline, etc. It says you can make it work with any airport as long as you provide streaming data on flight movements. It is also enriched by other publicly available data, mostly ones pertaining to the aircraft make and model. The company http://www.frontier.nl also has other map based applications such as traffic management tool.
  33. http://www.lapdcrimemaps.org/: LAPD Crime Maps. This is an interactive application that lets users visualize recent crimes in los angeles neighbourhoods. The data comes from the LAPD. You can double click on any location on a map of LA and crimes within some specified radious (1 to 5 miles) of the past X days (where X<=7) are shown as coloured dots. The coloured dots differentiate the crimes (e.g. burglary is orange, homicide is yellow). You can also choose a specific date range in the past 6 months or so.
  34. http://mdotwas1.mdot.state.mi.us/public/drive/rtt.cfm: This is the website of Michigan Department of Transportation. It has an interactive map which displays the location of construction sites, cameras, tunnels, road accidents (active or clearing) etc. on Michigan roads. It also has live feeds from the traffic cameras.
  35. https://www.bkms-system.net/bkwebanon/report/clientInfo?cin=111KACC33&language=eng: This is the website of Government of Kenya where people can anonymously report a politicians/bureaucrat for corruption. They have taken various security measures to ensure that the identity of the 'whistle blower' is not revealed.
  36. http://www.city.brampton.on.ca/parking-considerations/home.tml: This form lets you park your car overnight if you are crashing at a friend's or whatever. This is not for Toronto, but Brampton (which is where I am from). Pretty useful, but I don't think it is that well known. I've never been tagged after using this, but apparently if you are ticketed anyway you can use a confirmation number from this to make the ticket void.
  37. http://www.city.brampton.on.ca/bramcams/: These are live video feeds from various feature points in the City of Brampton. A use of these feeds as a service (Gage Park for example): Gage Park has a skating rink (the cameras could be used to determine whether the skating rink is open), or if there is a particular live venue and how packed it is (such as a band playing, or any other kind of presentation). Various camera perspectives can be obtained using the pulldown menu at each location.
  38. http://www.outsideindc.com/bikes: A public web service for the Washington, DC. cycling community. Currently the service provides a map of bike routes in Washington DC, a real time map listing of bike thefts in the city, a shop that has links to Craigslist bike sales and trades in the Washington DC. area and a Twitter feed. The service leaves a bit to desire however (for example, the map is a very unclear about where bike routes are), and there is a lot of information that could be added with the given interface, but it's a good start.
  39. http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/: An online interface for England's National Health Service. Twitter feed, health encyclopaedia, and general information about the NHS.
  40. http://www.beerhunter.ca: Definitely my favourite data mashup. It does one thing and it does it well. The real value of this application is that it tells you what locations are currently open and closed. Great for quickly assessing how far you need to go to get more beer at 9 PM on a Saturday.
  41. google.com/insights/search: Provides trending information for search terms over time. You can drill down into specific locations (Ontario) and specific categories (Health:Health Conditions:Cold & Flu). If the data appears to exhibit some periodicity, Google applies some machine learning and will actually show you a forecast of how the search term volume will change in the future. This service is important because the data goes beyond simply describing what people search for: Google has used it as the basis for tracking Influenza and real-time unemployment rates in the United States.
  42. http://wwwapp.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/Advisories/advisories.html: Knowing how much water you are permitted to use. I recall many summers when we had to turnoff our sprinklers and limit our shower-use because of water shortages. I think this information was normally conveyed through the news, but this application makes it a bit more clear, though not necessarily more accessible (since the individual needs an internet connection, as opposed to a radio or television or newspaper).
  43. http://www.trooptube.tv/: This is a relatively simple application to connect troops to their family and friends. The government knows who has been deployed and would obviously want to regulate communication between soldiers and the rest of the world.
  44. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/06/arts/20090407-buzz-maps.html: I could see this as something that's done dynamically and live so that citizens know where all the excitement will be at a certain time, based off of text message patterns and other media sources' hype, as well as the physical location of people. This would make it easier for citizens to be entertained, as well as for the police and other safety workers to be aware of where their services should be concentrated on any given night.
  45. http://toronto.zerofootprint.net/calculators/toronto: The Zerofootprint Personal Carbon Manager is a web-based calculator for measuring your footprint based on your travels (by car, plane, or public transit), food, and household habits. Then, and through their huge database, you can compare your footprint with the average footprints in other cities and countries. ZPCM also serves as a social networking application for connecting you with environmentally-aware organizations, mostly neighborhood based, around Toronto to make our city more sustainable. What I like about this calculator is that it has default average values (so if you don?t know how many kilowatts of electricity you use every year, or how many kilometers you drive, you can use them). I also like how it easily links you to city services like TTC, Toronto Public Health, Farmer Markets, and Carpools in order to help reduce your footprint.
  46. http://www.gigpark.com: Every once in a while, you may need to hire service providers like lawyers, dentists, wedding planners, contractors...etc, but finding the good and reliable ones isn't easy. GigPark helps you find these services and more based on your friend?s advice, because as the website founders believe, friends recommend the best people. The website uses facebook, twitter, and email contacts to find your friends that have GigPark account in order to ask them when you look for a service. GigPark also lets you post your questions (like "I'm looking for a good architect") on your facebook and twitter profiles, and email the people you choose from your address book very quickly and easily. You can post recommendations so that your friends can use them in the future.
  47. http://parking.greenp.com: Service offered by Toronto Parking Authority which provides tools to search for public parking lots across the city based on address, intersection or venue and can be sorted based on location or price. The service also provides information about parking permits and payment of parking violations and even has an events section which lists the events happening around the city and allows for a quick search for parking spots close to the venue where the event takes place.
  48. http://www3.thestar.com/static/googlemaps/homicidemap.html: A mash-up of Google maps and homicide crimes information in the GTA region for the past 4 years. Includes chronological, gender, age and type information for each case, which can be used to filter and/or sort the cases. Textual information about the cases displayed on the map is shown on clickable list to the right of the map.
  49. http://crimereports.com/: Similar idea as above, but this includes non-homicide crimes also and is mostly US based. Uses information released by the police departments directly.
  50. http://www.issy.com: the website for the french city of Issy. Wired magazine wrote an article about them as 'The Most Advanced City in France' primarily because of the wealth of information and useful services they have made available on their website. Citizens can sign up to get city information through SMS, RSS feeds and podcasts, they can fill out all of their govt. forms online, they can make reservations for social events and they can even vote in elections online.
  51. http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/online-services.aspx: The city of Edmonton has made a lot of services available online. The site allows them to call in service requests, make complaints, search cemeteries and even invite the mayor to events. One thing I particularly like is that you can find out if a sports field is reserved or not (this would have saved my brothers and I a lot of time when we were younger!).
  52. http://www.outsideindc.com/stumblesafely: Stumble Safely is a hilarious web-app that shows you bars in Northwest Washington D.C. superimposed on a map showing recent crime activity. The idea is that the map will help you find the safest way to get to a bar and back in D.C. while avoiding being mugged or worse. Knowing D.C. quite well, I certainly do believe that being mugged or assaulted on your way home is a legitimate concern for lots of young people.
  53. http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/About_Us/256792.html: This is from Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. Each year, the board publishes a detailed brochure, and all of them can be found on the page linked by the above url. The content of a brochure is really informative. It has the biography of each board member, several statistics, and sample cases. I like the sample cases most. They are illustrative. New comers can learn from them other than the laws which are dry and complicated. However, all brochures are really lengthy, so simplification must be undertaken.
  54. http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/statistics/: The visitor must accept the agreement in order to proceed to the statistics. This link leads to the Toronto police service. Data given in this page are simple, but straightforward. They can be utilized directly by the Toronto city website. Which area is safe is concerned by every Toronto resident, especially night workers, and real-estate purchasers. I think there is no reason to miss these data.
  55. http://sanfrancisco.crimespotting.org/: San Francisco Crimespotting. Gives you an interactive map visualization of the location of crimes committed San Francisco, color coded by crime type. There is a nice filter interface so that you can see crime by type of crime, date, and time of day.
  56. http://www.recovery.ca.gov/HTML/RecoveryImpact/map.shtml: California Recovery Spending. Shows spending from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) for each county in California. You can easily see the amount of money spent on each county and the distribution over types of projects in each county (Energy, Transportation, Housing, Public Safety, etc). There is also a detailed view of each county that shows the individual projects for a chosen county.
Data Sets
  1. http://www.yellowpages.ca/: The most obvious publicly available data. Use it to find anyone/anything.
  2. http://www.ontariodoctordirectory.ca/Toronto: For every doctor in Ontario (and hence Toronto) it lists their name, contact information, gender, whether or not they are accepting new patients.
  3. http://www3.ttc.ca/: This contains ttc routes and schedules. I use it to look up "Next three scheduled buses" under http://www3.ttc.ca/Routes/105/Southbound.jsp.. I really wish it was more accurate though (e.g. tell me where the next bus actually is).
  4. http://www.cineplex.com/ and http://www.amctheatres.com/: Movie schedules and reviews. These are both great and I use them all the time.
  5. http://www.toronto.ca/fire/annual_report/index.htm: Toronto fire department annual reports, containing data about false alarms, fatalities, response statistics, etc. The information is in PDF format, but the content is very valuable for any studies on the fire safety in the city.
  6. http://bedbugregistry.com/: The bedbug registry contains bedbug reports for many major cities in North America, including Toronto. This dataset not only helps people avoid buildings with bed bug problems, but could also be used for studying the spread of the infestation.
  7. http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/lost_pets.htm: Toronto lost pets has a link to search on their database for lost pets. The data in there could potential be used to study where do people take better care of their domestic animals, and hence potentially useful for pet insurance companies.
  8. http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/met01/met128-eng.htm: Stats Canada. Tonnes of useful statistics, many of which are classified geographically to Toronto and the GTA.
  9. http://www.mls.ca/: Multiple Listings Service. Essentially every house on the market is listed here. Unfortunately, in terms of being machine readable, it's in a terrible format. Many great applications could make use of this if it were more accessible.
  10. http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/: Not so much aimed at GTA, but I remember this one since we used to check the salary disclosures in undergrad to see how much our UofT professors were earning.
  11. http://bikingtoronto.com/maps/bikelanes/: Toronto bike lanes. This website provides toronto bike riders a detailed bike route cross GTA as well as the bike stores. Users of this web site frequently update the data such as road maintenance, extension of the bike route, or the new bike shops in the town.
  12. http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/statistics/stats.php: This map geographically provides the statistics of the shooting, homicides happened in Toronto area for the past a few years. It also gives you an idea what kinds of crime happened in your neighborhood---it's a proven must-go reference for home hunters.
  13. http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/airquality/pages/onaq-001_e.html: Caring about the air quality? This is the correct place to go. This web site provides the current air pollution index as well as 24 hour forecast of that. The history data of air quality can be a useful guideline for the future city development.
  14. http://geogratis.gc.ca/geogratis/en/product/search.do?id=28954 CanVec is a Canadian government database, which provides data on the topography of the entire canadian landmass. The data provided comes in ESRI Shapefile, a popular geospatial vector data format. The website provides an number of ways to search for specific maps, such as by categories like Postal Code. The data is also stored on an FTP server for easy access. Each piece of data is also associated with detailed metadata information to allow for simpler machine readable search, by latitude and longitude for example. The metadata also provides detailed information about the source and reliability of the data.
  15. http://www.gtaa.com/en/home/: The Greater Toronto Airport Authority website. From this website, with one click of a button, you can view all up-to date arrival and departure information for all scheduled flights to and out of Pearson International Airport. While the data is only provided in standard HTML format, it can scraped relatively easy. From the homepage, the website also provides information on any delays that may be affecting flight schedules.
  16. http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/culture/mhsevents.nsf/AllEvents?OpenView: Toronto Events. This page provides detailed information about ongoing cultural events in the City of Toronto, including things like cost, event times and directions. The information on this page is in HTML, but could be easily scraped. The page also provides a query mechanism for users to narrow their search results. This query mechanism can be readily used by an automated tool.
  17. http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/webteam/open-data/: Information the Toronto Public Library is giving out on geo-coding can be found half-way down the page. Basically, right now there is a Google Maps geo-coded entry on the website that shows branch locations of libraries in Toronto. From the website:
  18. We are working to open up other sources like our library catalogue and our programs and events listings. As we move forward, we are looking at ways make our site more modular and easier to integrate using mashups, semantic-markup, microformats, embeddable widgets, APIs, and further content syndication.
  19. http://www.toronto.ca/beach/index.htm: This is something I've always used, but I can't find anything online about whether or not this data is going to be cleaned-up/made public in any way. Basically, this is a repository of information from Toronto Health that posts (bi-weekly?) reports of Toronto beach water e.coli (and other toxins/pollutant) levels. I would be very interested in finding out more about when this data will be made totally public.
  20. http://www.flickr.com/services/api/: Flickr has an enormous number of geo-tagged photos; but in addition to the photos themselves, it also has a wealth of natural language data. Each photo has a title, and optionally a description, any number of notes, comments, and tags. If multiple photos which are geo-tagged closely to one other share data in any of these fields, we can pull out geographical data which isn't traditionally represented on a map. As an example: photos taken over a certain time range and all in a certain place can correspond to a specific event (such as Buskerfest), which isn't typically represented on a map, but could be. Additionally, since photographs are a visual medium, we can also apply computational vision techniques. With smartphones moving us towards a more real-time usage of services like Flickr, it would be possible to have trending topics, ala Twitter.
  21. http://www.torontohealthprofiles.ca/: This is an aggregate dataset provided by the city, hospitals and other organizations. It provides all manner of health data (i.e. not only relating to disease, but also other health factors such as the walkability of neighbourhoods and the proximity to different food sources). The data is provided as a set of disparate PDFs, but it would be interesting to be able to visualize multiple categories overlayed on one another.
  22. http://www.pathcom.com/~dbp98/index.html: This site is to give visitors a well-rounded view of Toronto by portraying through the medium of panoramic images, some of Toronto's unique character and richness. Each panorama is made from a sequence of between 10 and 15 overlapping frames. These are scanned into the computer and then stitched together to form a complete seamless image. These image datasets are catagorized in fourteen galleries.
  23. http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/canadian/Toronto-Artists-and-Art-Galleries.html: Toronto's artists and galleries. This site contains datasets on Toronto's artists, their galleries, and their contact information. It also contains a list of links to the variety of galleries in Toronto.
  24. http://www.torontotaste.ca/: Basic information for various restaurants and pubs that will participate in Toronto Taste are listed here. However, to obtain detailed information on a restaurant, you are redirected to their own website. This information would be better if it was localized and their locations or distances from one another mapped. Users will be able to more easily plan their trips down to Toronto Taste.
  25. http://www.cou.on.ca/_bin/relatedSites/cudo.cfm: Common University Data Ontario provides information such as enrollment, admission, student life, or expenses for various universities across Ontario (and in Toronto). For example, http://www.utoronto.ca/about-uoft/measuring-our-performance/cudo/cudo_2008.htm links to 2008 statistics regarding U of T (different information have their individual links).
  26. http://www.ontarioweather.com/analysis/ontarioarchives.asp: A huge database of over 300,000 weather entries for the main weather stations in Ontario from 1994 to December 2002. A complete work of all data that is available for the 57 stations in Ontario.
  27. http://www.aba.org/checklist/index.html: Toronto Christmas Bird Count records. Audubon provides huge data from 1943 till now yearwise, using taxonomic order and nomenclature of birds. This data can help us to track the environmental changes in Toronto, which are related to birds emigration and immigration.
  28. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-221-x/2009001/tbl-eng.htm: This resource provides latest reading on the health of Canadians region by region. This is produced jointly by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and is a compilation of over 80 indicators measuring health status, non-medical determinants of health, health-system performance and community and health-system characteristics at regional, provincial, territorial and Canada level.
  29. http://www.toronto.ca/archives/photographs/index.htm: The City of Toronto Archives holds a wide range of government and non-government documents, including photographs that document the city's heritage. All records contribute to an understanding of the development of Toronto, its natural and built environment, and the people who lived, worked, or had an impact upon the city.
  30. http://www.toronto.ca/archives/government_records.htm#toronto: This Archive contains documents created by the City of Toronto government and by its predecessor municipalities that existed between 1792 and 1997. These documents reveal the decisions, policies, and activities of these governments. The Archives also contains documents created by the city's agencies, boards, and commissions.
  31. http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/culture/mus_ed_guide.nsf/PgmSearch?OpenForm: Teachers' search for an education program provides a wide array of dynamic learning opportunities that support the Ontario Curriculum and enrich students' lives. Offered programs link subjects to create cross-curricular learning experiences for students.
  32. http://app.toronto.ca/im/children/services.jsp: This resource provides statistical information on the children and families residing in each ward of Toronto along with maps and listings of children's programs and facilities including: child care; community centers & libraries; elementary schools; family resource programs & Ontario Early Years Centers.
  33. http://www.toronto.ca/elections/: This is a resource for City of Toronto election results from 1994 onwards. Name of all candidates, winning candidates and number of votes polled for each candidate are provided. They also provide list of registered voters during election time (not in electronic form).
  34. http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/datalib/other/findcans.htm: This University of Toronto resource provides the location of statistics (as opposed to raw primary data), primarily in computer-readable form, with an emphasis on national statistics. In some cases, references are to collections of statistics themselves; in other cases, references are to tools that assist in locating statistics in print or in electronic publications. They also provide links to Toronto specific data sets.
  35. http://transit.toronto.on.ca/: This is a site created by Aaron Adel who is the Founder/Chief Technical Manager of the site. This site is not connected with the TTC and the purpose of it is to provide information about the public transit system of Toronto gathered from enthusiasts in trains, streetcars and buses. It gives current information about the system so that reads can see today, what part of the TTC has a problem and maybe what the problem is and hence adjust their route if possible. This site has sponsors such as google and New York city bus tours. The group who runs this site claim to be modern railfans who hold interests in various means of public transport. The creators of this site have also created a twitter feed at http://twitter.com/transittoronto. The uses of this site are anyone with an interest in public transit information who has access to the site. As a daily public transit user this information would be very helpful to have while in transit or while planning my transit route.
  36. http://www.gotransit.com/PUBLICROOT/en/default.aspx: This is the official site for the GO Transit system. It contains schedules, routes, fares amps and much more information that is of interest to people who want to use the GO transit system. The users will be those people who want to use the GO Transit system. I have never used this GO Transits system but general feedback on the Internet seems to be that people feel that the schedule is not followed often enough and a more reliable schedule is needed.
  37. http://www.torontotours.net/: This site gives a set of sight seeing tours of Toronto to readers. You can get tours via, jet boat, helicopter and bus. This site also allows you to make reservations and pay for tours. A user can also get tickets for shows and theatrical productions in Toronto. This site is a good information source to people wanting to know more about the city. Users of this site would be anyone who is interested in touring Toronto or seeing some of the things the city has to offer. As a foreigner who loves theater, it is great to have sites that give you information about producitons and allows you to buy tickets.
  38. http://www.toronto.ca/quality_of_life/healthcare.htm: This site contains information on health care in Toronto. It gives information on which hospitals exist and what the purposes of them are. The users of this site would mainly be people seeking information on health care in Toronto. This site is particularly helpful to people who have no knowledge of health care in Toronto.
  39. http://www.toronto.ca/health/hsi/pdf/hsi_cb_multiple_live_birth_rate.pdf: This gives information on the rate of live multiple births in Toronto. It shows how much the rate has increase from 1989 to 2001 and compares it to the birth rate over the last decade for all of Ontario. It is interesting that Health Information and Planning only prepared this document in 2005, four after the last statistics were collected in 2001. This information and perhaps a more up-to-date version of it would be very interesting to soon-to-be-parents of multiples.
  40. http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/statistics/: Toronto Crime Data. This is a database of crime data in the GTA area. There are maps of shootings, homicide and theft crime scenes in the city. In addition to the maps, it has statistics on shootings injuries/deaths going back to 2005.
  41. http://www.toronto.ca/toronto_history/politicians.htm: This is a collection of Toronto's politicians from 1834 to present. It has a chronological list of Mayors of Toronto as well as the years they served. The data includes the cities before the GTA merger. It also has a list of Councillors, Aldermen and Alderwomen dating back to 1998.
  42. http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/met01/met128-eng.htm: Even though someone already mentioned statcan.ca, here's a webpage within stat can that's explicitly relevant to Toronto (everything from consumer price indexes to ethnicity and mother language, to value of building permits).
  43. http://www.seetorontonow.com: This website has statistics on tourism in Toronto. For example look at http://www.seetorontonow.com/Web.CMS/pdf/TourismInToronto_2008.pdf which gives breakdowns of visitor demographics (e.g. where they come from, their characteristics, etc...) and how much they spend (e.g. overnight, or on shopping, sightseeing, etc.)
  44. http://www.jpint.utoronto.ca/ttshome/publications.html: Transportation Tomorrow Surveys. There are data reports on the usage of transportation in various cities surrounding the GTA. This includes what times during the day people are travelling, how many people are travelling into Toronto, etc.
  45. http://www.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrkti/tdst/tdo/tdo.php#tag: This website has lots of data related to Canada's imports and exports of more than 100 different products (dairy products, meat, industrial goods, vegetables, beverages, fertilizers etc.) for the past 10 years.
  46. http://www.torontogasprices.com/ and http://mjervin.com/gasoline_prices.htm: Data for the current gas prices in Toronto and other parts of Canada. The first website also tells that which gas stations in Toronto had the lowest prices in the last 24 hours.
  47. http://210king.org/: 210 King is where Autodesk's Toronto office is. They have done some scans of the building (and the street outside) so there are some point cloud files that can be downloaded, as well there are files in some other more complicated formats that contain additional semantic information (not just geometry, but what function the geometric components service, i.e. windows, ducts, etc.). I work there part time as a Research Student.
  48. http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/search?q=toronto&styp=m&btnG=Search: Google's 3D warehouse. You can view these models in Google Earth. I also made an Earth browsing application before (part of a project at Autodesk) that would import these files (as COLLADA, an XML format). The COLLADA format also included the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates to plop the models down onto the earth as well. Anyway the search result here is for lots of geometry models of buildings in Toronto.
  49. http://developmentseed.org/blog/2008/nov/12/outsideindc-guide-biking-washington-dc and http://data.octo.dc.gov: The first link gives a listing of the data used for the service found at http://www.outsideindc.com/bikes, while the second a link to the government data itself. It's not directly applicable to the city of Toronto, but this data gives a good indication of what can be accomplished with increased transparency.
  50. http://transit.frumin.net/subway/growth/nyc-station-ridership.xls.zip and http://frumin.net/ation/2009/05/spark_it_up.html: The first link is a spreadsheet of the annual recorded ridership at each station in the NYC subway system from 1905-2006. The second link is an interesting visualization of that data, displaying a histogram of the ridership at each station. This data set is relevant to the city of Toronto, because this sort of data can be used to understand how the transportation needs of people change over the years under various conditions. While the data isn't directly applicable to our city, there is much to be learned from this data, which can be used in turn to help developing cities like our own.
  51. http://stillepost.ca/calendar/toronto/month.php: Calendar of many small-medium rock shows happening in Toronto (made available using RSS and iCal formats) Good for keeping up with the cool kids that are posting on Stillepost. There are already too many disparate data sources for "happenings" in Toronto. It would be great to have an aggregator to consolidate them, it would be even better if it could incorporate social media like Twitter to gauge the buzz around each event, and it would be even better to put some personalization on top of it. I would love a website that booked my weekend for me.
  52. http://www.toronto.ca/children/gcmapx.htm: This may have already been mentioned in class, and there is already a nice app using the data to locate childcare centres. However, I think the data listing the locations and characteristics of all Toronto childcare centres could be useful in locating under serviced areas and locating new childcare centres. Such a project could leverage any expertise a student may have in operations research and optimization.
  53. yelp.ca/toronto: Yelp includes some interesting meta-data with its listings of restaurants (and other services). For instance you can find out if a restaurant is "kid friendly" or wheelchair accessible (According to Yelp only 410 of 2758 restaurants in Toronto provide barrier free access!). An quick and interesting use for this could show which neighbourhoods are most wheelchair accessible and over time which neighbourhoods are getting better/worse.
  54. http://www.fbi.gov/widgets.htm: FBI's Most Wanted. Although the US government has made this an "application," I still consider it a data set.
  55. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=labeled_buildings.locator: Energy Efficient Buildings. This would probably be an internal tool for the government, especially if measures are put forth in which building owners are taxed for inefficient building structures in the future.
  56. http://nrcan.gc.ca/eneene/statstat/index-eng.php:: This website, Natural Resources Canada, provides statistical data and analytical reports on energy in Canada and the energy sector's contribution to the Canadian economy. Although some data sets were too complicated for me to understand, I found many to be quite interesting like dwelling types, energy use, and green house gas emissions in Ontario.
  57. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/statistics/index.asp: Citizenship and Immigration Canada publishes here its annual statistical information about new permanent residents to Canada and temporary residents entering Canada to work, study, or for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. This website helped me learn more about new immigrants to Toronto like their country of origin, areas of concentrations, and the languages they speak.
  58. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/trip/traffic_report-toronto.shtml: Ontario Ministry of Transportation almost-realtime list of highway closures in Toronto. From the website: This report is being updated every few minutes. It contains information on collisions, breakdowns, emergency roadworks, and scheduled maintenance and construction events on provincially maintained highways. Displayed in HTML format.
  59. http://www.torontohealthprofiles.ca/dataTables.php: Provides access to aggregate health-related data for the residents of different areas in the city. Demographic composition, socioeconomic status, child and adult health, diseases, disease prevention, mortality are some of the categories of information available in the reports, which are offered in PDF format in a tabular layout.
  60. http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/profiles_map_and_index.htm: Toronto Neighbourhood Maps - demographical information for the different regions in the city of Toronto for the years of 2001 and 2006, adopted from Statistics Canada. Data is categorized based on neighbourhood and subcategorized based on social profiles(age & gender, language & ethnicity, income, etc.) and is available in PDF format in a report layout, with charts, graphs, maps and tabular data.
  61. http://earth.google.com/: Google Earth is the ultimate geographic data set. It combines many different online public data sets and links them by location. You can get for any location of interest: public geo-tagged photos, wikipedia articles, and a wealth of user generated data (comments, etc.). I find this particularly interesting because many of the data are already linked (e.g. photos and wikipedia articles). This adds a bit more information about the content of the photos than say flickr (which has tags which may or may not be that informative). I don't know how easy it is to obtain the data, but they do have an API.
  62. http://data.vancouver.ca/datacatalogue/index.htm: Vancouver has a wealth of data sets as part of their Open Data Initiative. This data includes libraries, drinking fountains, schools, community centers, etc. Most of them are formatted nicely in some standard format (e.g. XML or RSS). Someone has already used the fountain data to create a google maps mash-up showing you where all the fountains are in Vancouver (for very thirsty people I suppose).
  63. http://www.london.gov.uk/mediacentre: Media Centre of City of London. The media center has two parts. One is Mayor's media center, and the other is Assembly's media center. Assembly's media center lists news chronologically. I don't think this is a good way to provide news to the public. Personally, these news should be grouped by providers. Then the public can easily resolve the source of the news, and know that are the political opinions of the assembly office and individual assembly members. Major's media center is obviously more developed than Assembly's media center. The news are categorized and able to be searched using key worlds. Each article has notes which help readers to understand the article, and give information about the relevant articles. (I don't think notes are generated by programs) The Mayor's media center also has video clips. A lot of visitors prefer watching news other than reading news. I think releasing news through web is not new, but how to integrate it with searching technology and friendly interface needs to be considered carefully. Major's media center of the city of London is a good example.
  64. http://illinoisgis.ito.state.il.us/routemap/routeMapJVM.asp?uID=rmIMSuser&mName=InsideIllinois: Illinois State adds a simple version GPS into its government website. It is quite helpful, but I don't think it is user-friendly. It is very possible that a much better GPS can be embedded into web pages. This simple GPS works very like Google map. If Illinois government's web site can provide locally specified functions, such as bus routes and tourism lines, website visitors may tend to use Illinois government's GPS. More importantly and sadly, Illinois government's GPS seems not to give correct computations outside the Illinois.
  65. http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/statistics/neud/dpa/trends_res_on.cfm: National Resources Canada: Comprehensive Energy Use Tables. Aggregate but detailed data at the province level of how energy is consumed in Canada. It had distributions of energy consumption by source (Electric, Gas, hot water, etc), and it gives a breakdown of the housing stock by its characteristics (E.g., Single Family detached home, Apartment, Mobile home).
  66. http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/corp/about/cahoob/data/data_007.cfm and http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/corp/about/cahoob/data/data_008.cfm. Canadian Housing Stock. Breakdown of the distribution of kinds of buildings that people live in by type of building and year constructed. Data from 2001 and 2006 is available for all of Canada, either by province or by major metropolitan area (e.g., Toronto).
  67. http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=energy-price-index&months=120: Commodity Price Indices. Historical commodity prices and group price index data. This shows you, for example, the price of natural gas and other sources of energy through time. It also has data for all sorts of other commodities.
  68. http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2009/03/26/tweet-a-watt-kits-now-available/: Tweet-a-Watt. This isn't necessarily a data set (though you can the type of data generated from these devices at: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23tweetawatt). It is a small device that plugs into a power supply, and it automatically publishes to Twitter how much power is being drawn from that plug. The city of Toronto could install a few of these -- maybe in several government buildings -- and we could get some real time data about energy consumption.
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