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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Filtering down : open data in smaller scaled Canadian municipalities Gill, Mark Richard


This thesis is a case study examination of open data initiatives in smaller scaled municipalities in Canada. My research questions explore how open data initiatives are being developed and deployed as well as how notions of scale affect these initiatives. I used three avenues of investigation: first, I performed an assessment of district and municipal open data websites in British Columbia; second, I interviewed government open data experts in Western Canada; and finally, I reviewed open data policies from participant governments. From this research, I found that there is a high level of variability in the benefits and challenges associated with offering open data at the municipal and district level. These challenges include: technological barriers to publishing and using data; the current culture around data management; a lack of understanding about who is using open data from a government perspective; and, the need for standardized procedures relating to open data. For governments, challenges associated with open data can create barriers to realizing the potential benefits of open data. In looking at the effect of scale on the development and deployment of open data, two scale effects emerge: the limitation of size and data jurisdiction. In the first, smaller scaled municipalities focus on the size of a municipality as a determining factor for the success of open data. In the second, data jurisdiction produces borders and boundaries for open data users in a way that reifies a traditional data management model. I conclude with recommendations to reduce barriers associated with open data initiatives, and present some theoretical considerations of scale in open data initiatives as groundwork for future research.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International