New, more open data sharing on Toronto websites

English: Map of Toronto Français : Carte de To...

English: Map of Toronto Français : Carte de Toronto Deutsch: Karte von Toronto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Toronto data geeks can be excited about three new websites breaking onto the Toronto scene.

The first is a fresh new look for Toronto Health Profiles, a data partnership among St. Michael’s Hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health, Toronto Public Health, the Wellesley Institute and some community organizations. Thematic maps and data tables on a range of health indicators are being released as they are being developed. The site has gotten a good overhaul to make it easier to navigate and give it a cleaner look.

The second, from the Three Cities project, which looked at changing income trends in Toronto neighbourhoods, is releasing its findings in new more useable formats. The research website, driven by St. Christopher House and University of Toronto Professor David Hulchanski, Neighbourhood Change has re-launched with a new look. The site offers additional maps, a recent report on Scarborough and video clips. Information on Montreal and Vancouver are included alongside tower renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The third and most elaborate, the Wellbeing Toronto website will be launching June 29. (The site is so new, the URL was still being determined at the beginning of June!) It evolved out of the Neighbourhood Wellbeing Index/Indices project through the City of Toronto.

This new interactive site will build on census data and local administrative databases (liberated through Open Data Toronto). It has been funded through the Citizenship Immigration Canada Toronto Newcomer Initiative. The available data will be aggregated to the level of the city’s 140 planning neighbourhoods.

The site offers a range of goodies, from orthographic/satellite, cartographic/street view maps of Toronto. Ward boundaries and places of interest, such as community stores or convenience stores, will be mappable. An address search function is also to be included.

The developers have tried to make the site user-friendly, including some pre-set domains, including, for instance, a “diversity index” which measures ethno-racial mixes within a neighbourhood. Users of the site will be able to drill down into neighbourhoods or make comparisons among them. Up to 20 indicators can be loaded at a time, weighted differently, and then the data can be able to be exported to PDF, Excel or CSV formats.

The crime data is likely to be the most popular area of inquiry. Data for criminal code offenses for seven major crimes are included: Murders, Shootings, Vehicular theft, Break and Enters, Assaults, Sexual Assaults, and Arson. All of this rich fodder that has only been available on a limited basis up till now.

City staff are also looking to include other data in the future. Approaches to the Toronto Board of Trade, the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs, for information on hospitalization rates and seniors), the Canadian Bankers Association (for information on debt load), and the Children’s Aids Societies.  Indicators for arts and culture will be coming in October. The Toronto Transit Commission should also be included because  of the open data work, looking at routes, stops, crowding.

Both these sites will help to better inform civic discussions in the city and so are welcome web 2.0 resources.

PowerPoint presentation on Wellbeing Toronto domains to health service providers

Toronto Maps: An incomplete index of interactive maps on the internet

 

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