Mississauga connects and engages the community through open data

November 17, 2017 Anneliese Sanghara

Discover how the City of Mississauga engages the community in developing innovative open data applications in support of their Smart City initiative.

The City of Mississauga recently reached out to residents for their ideas, energy and talents to build apps that engage the community and improve quality of life within the city. On October 21, they co-hosted Tech and the City, a one-day hackathon in the Innovation Complex at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. Esri Canada was proud to support the event.

Fourteen teams participated to create solutions around the theme, “Building an Engaged and Connected City,” for three specific challenge sets.

Challenge #1 – Connecting to the Environment
Challenge #2 – Connecting Business to Business
Challenge #3 – Connecting the Community

The hackathon put the spotlight on Mississauga’s Open Data Catalogue, from which participants drew data for their applications. The catalogue is powered by ArcGIS Open Data, an application in ArcGIS Online that allows organizations to quickly build and deploy an open data site.

Outside the Tech and the City event, you can access the catalogue to support your research, analysis, and reporting, as well as use the City’s open data to develop mobile apps. It includes a wealth of information about Mississauga such as licensed eateries, public Wi-Fi locations, landmarks, heritage sites, fire stations and census data. New datasets are added to the catalogue on a continual basis. The data is provided in an accessible, structured and useful format and can be freely used.

After six finalist teams were selected to present their solutions, a distinguished roster of judges from government, business and academia picked one winning team for each challenge set.

“Tech and the City is a great opportunity to engage youth, our entrepreneurs and the community in the use of open data and innovation. Everyone has an opportunity to participate and learn. Tech and the City has been made possible through great partnerships and is a priority for the City of Mississauga as we continue to build a connected and engaged community,” says Shawn Slack, City of Mississauga’s Chief Information Officer.

The winning apps

Challenge #1 – Green Mi by Sauga City Hack Squad

Green Mi is a geographic information system (GIS)-enabled application that connects Mississauga residents to the physical environment to help them understand their environmental footprint.

Challenge #2 – Short Message Service (SMS) Business Application by Null

SMS Business Application allows residents who may not have a data plan or access to Wi-Fi the ability to connect with businesses and obtain business information via SMS.

Challenge #3  – NearMi by Jazz Hands

NearMi provides users who do not have any information about Mississauga with event details, notifications and directions.

The winners with the judges. As part of their prize, the three winning teams will become members of a sponsored accelerator program where they can bring their ideas to reality.

Becoming a Smart City

Tech and the City was an excellent showcase of the City of Mississauga’s Smart City initiative, which focuses on using digital technology and internet connectivity to run more smoothly and be more responsive to citizens. To date, the City has launched several Smart City projects, such as Wi-Fi ubiquity, smart traffic management and transit, smart streetlights and smart waterways, among others.

In addition to their Open Data Catalogue, the City also engages residents on a whole new level with their Planning Information Hub. The application, which also leverages ArcGIS Online, gives residents access to planning data from across the city.

Check out Mississauga’s Open Data Catalogue and leave your questions and comments below.

About the Author

Anneliese Sanghara

Anneliese Sanghara is a Marketing Communications Coordinator with Esri Canada. As part of this role, she reviews and develops content for the company’s various marketing channels and provides support for several communications programs. Along with her Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, Anneliese attained a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University. Her many teachers and mentors sparked her passion for strategy, writing and design. In her spare time, Anneliese enjoys exploring the city, honing her culinary skills and volunteering.

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