The real power of open data is not accountability or transparency, it’s collaboration and engagement.

A couple weeks ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to be part of that in Toronto when the city’s open data department (@Open_TO) held their MapJam event.

The City of Toronto’s geospatial team hosted the event to engage the community and take questions about how to use the city’s open geospatial data catelogue.

I participated by showing some maps I’ve produced using free tools and taking questions.

It was a great event, dozens of different people from a wide-range of sectors/experiences asked me a variety of questions. A couple of those people have followed up by email. The best part of their emails is when they present a new mapping idea that I don’t have the solution for – yet.

That’s one of the reasons I volunteer for these events, I enjoy the challenge of expanding my skill set and learning from what others are doing with open data.

The event was held at Metro Hall in the rotunda, an inviting location for citizens. I noted many post-secondary students attending the event.

Thank you to Toronto’s amazing open data team for inviting me to the event and providing the opportunity for citizens and civil servants to learn together.

*Note: We’re on track in Hamilton with our open data plans and hopefully, we’ll enjoy the same kinds of collaboration and engagement with our open data this fall. *