Open Data, So What?  Was a PD (Professional Development) event in Burnaby on February 16th that I recently attended during my reading week.  Hosted by URISA BC.  It was an excellent use of time.

The lineup of speakers was fabulous; people shared how they enabled open data at their organization, what they built using it (an estimated $2,300,000 worth of value added products says one speaker), how important it is, challenges encountered when making data open, and so on.

My personal favourite speakers were, interestingly, partners and co-founders of one of the value added applications created using open data: Recollect.  The speakers themselves were Luke Closs and David Eaves; they spoke on two different topics.

Recollect - Garbage and Recycling Reminders

Recollect - Garbage and Recycling Reminders

For municipalities with changing garbage and recycling reminders, residents can sign up for a reminder that can come in a variety of formats.  Dubbed the “Marriage saver”, this application is genius.

How many municipalities are spending extra by having waste removal occur every Monday (for example), thereby paying (directly or indirectly) statutory holiday wages?  In 2011, of the 52 weeks, 6 Monday pickups were stat holidays. I see opportunity for cost savings if these municipalities move to a variable schedule, and utilize Recollect for reminders.

And speaking of cost savings, David Eaves, an incredibly engaging and effective speaker, discussed key opportunities with using open data and open source technologies, and introduced us to Kuali.  Open Source Administration Software for Higher Ed.  Doesn’t it look like it’s worth exploring?