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City launches new open data portal

August 14 2019 –

The City of Vancouver has launched its new open data portal making it easier than ever for users to access, search, visualize, build maps, charts and explore the more than 160 public datasets available at opendata.vancouver.ca, without ever having to leave the browser. 

The open data platform also allows users to export data in different formats or to use advanced features such as the application programming interface (API).   

Features of the new portal

  • Search, filter, and sort the catalogue of datasets. Filters include view, theme, keyword, data owner, and data team.
  • Preview datasets with tables. Visualize them with maps and charts. Refine them with searches and filters.
  • With an account, users can also follow dataset updates, and save maps and charts.
  • Data and metadata use a structured format that is easier for users and search engines to understand. 
  • Download any dataset (or a selection of its records) in multiple formats for further use. Non-geospatial datasets are in CSV, JSON, and Excel formats. Geospatial datasets are in GeoJSON, shapefile, and KML formats.
  • Search and download dataset records using the API (application programming interface). With an account you can also generate API keys.

The most popular datasets include business licences, locations of public art and drinking fountains, council voting records, employee remuneration and expenses, location and attributes of community gardens and food trees, council budget and expenses, and local area boundaries.  

What’s different from the old catalogue?

We split groups of datasets

Datasets are listed separately. For example, the old catalogue's Property Information Data Package breaks out block outlines, tie lines, parcel polygons, and so on.

We replaced XML with JSON

The few datasets offered in XML format are now available in JSON making them faster and easier to use.

We list DWG files differently

For datasets with DWG files for AutoCAD users, the files are listed on the dataset's export tab as an alternative export.

We limit shapefile exports

Shapefile exports are limited to 50,000 records at a time.

We offer geospatial data in two coordinate systems

The default is the WGS84 coordinate system of latitude and longitude (expressed in decimal degrees). The alternate is UTM Zone 10N, NAD83 (expressed in metres). If the original data were collected in a different coordinate system, some loss of accuracy is possible.

The City’s Open Data website was launched in September 2009 following a council motion with 20 basic datasets available for download. Today’s open data catalogue contains 167 datasets with new ones added and existing ones updated regularly.  

In addition to Open Data, the City publicly posts a large amount of other detailed information on its website including: 

  • In camera agendas and reports
  • Budgets and finances 
  • Mayor’s discretionary fund transactions 
  • Water consumption - top 50 utility accounts
  • City Council annual financial disclosure statements
  • Progress reports, documents, details and backgrounds on high profile City initiatives
  • Progress reports, documents, details, and backgrounds on high profile developments and re-developments
  • City Manager’s emails and memos to Mayor and Council