VanPark: Vancouver Parks Finder built with Open Source

By: Nik Garkusha, June 28, 2011

In my recent post on OpenHalton.caI talk about what’s possible when Parks data is made available as Open Data. Using the Vancouver Parks Listingdataset  as example I demonstrate how that data can become useful for anyone looking for just the right park with just the right facilities for a hike, scenic strolls, a picnic or a friendly game of tennis.

image

That’s exactly the purpose of

VanPark (Vancouver Park Finder)that uses simple visualization and faceted search to help "find" a park based on various criteria & features.

What I’d like to highlight here is how Open Source projects like SIMILE Exhibitand jQuery used for this project, combined with other Open Source technologies like Microsoft’s Open Government Data Initiative(OGDI) can be used to rapidly publish + enable open data apps.

OGDI is an open data catalogue that exposes data from CSV, Excel, KML, etc. as APIs using standards like JSON and oData. Using jQuery you can query & parse JSON and visualize it using various libraries such as Exhibit. Using a little bit of JavaScript code I pieced together over a few evenings, I load Vancouver’s Park listing data into Exhibit at run-time from a JSON feed exposed by APIs from an OGDI powered catalogue.

My code is available as Open Source under New-BSD license, and of course Exhibit code is already available as OSS under the BSD License. Exhibit has a relatively active Google Group, and my team is active with OGDI development if you have any questions. Of course you can use any JSON feed to power your Exhibits.

Enjoy :)

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Nik Garkusha

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