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Christchurch City Council launches open data API programme

Christchurch City Council launches open data API programme

'The potential for innovation is limitless when the right data is accessible,' says Adrian Dawson, council service manager.

We can invite outside organisations to plug into our network to drive even further innovation

Adrian Dawson Christchurch City Council

Christchurch City Council has deployed Anypoint Platform from MuleSoft to build a series of system integrations and open data APIs.

By securely exposing historical city data to approved third parties and agencies, the council says citizens will benefit from the release of innovative products and services.

Previously, external parties who want to access these records had to email their request to the council and were then provided with a CSV file containing the records manually drawn from an SQL database.

Requests can now be made with a simple API call, reducing the time it takes to fulfill these requests to seconds. Taking an API-led approach also makes it easier for third parties to gain access to the data they need in more widely compatible formats.

“By creating an application network through API-led connectivity, we’re able to quickly serve up data required by third party companies to deliver digital experiences to Christchurch Citizens and can invite outside organisations to plug into our network to drive even further innovation,” says Adrian Dawson, service manager, Christchurch City Council.

“Since launching the open data API program, we’ve already seen many organisations jump at the chance to access this data and use it to start delivering cutting-edge services to our citizens,” says Dawson, in a statement.

Related: Paul Stone: On a mission to promote open data for public good and business innovation

The council provides a range of services for more than 375,000 residents. These include public transport, sports facilities, construction approvals and disaster recovery services.

The council released its first open data API created in June 2017 this year.

The ‘Property Data API’, unlocks data historically siloed in the council’s internal property data warehouses and makes it easy for real estate agencies, researchers, application developers  and other government departments to access historical property information including sales and pricing data.

By making this data accessible to third parties, citizens will be able to more readily access insights on property ownership over time.

For example, a property sales agency can now leverage the Property Data API to show historical pricing of properties on their website or similar properties in the area to give potential homebuyers a point of comparison before purchase. Other third parties, such as researchers could combine this with other datasets to allow for new insights and enhanced decision making.

Since completing the Property Data API, the IT team created a B2B service that streamlines the way in which work requests are sent to road construction contractors.

Over the next year, the council plans to use the platform to further improve citizen experiences by creating other open data APIs such as an API to expose cemetery data to support genealogy research and an API traffic flow data to assist with the introduction of self-driving cars.

"The potential for innovation is limitless when the right data is accessible,” says Dawson. “Christchurch citizens will continue to benefit from the new offerings other agencies and organisations are able to launch as a result of these open data APIs.”

Related: Dame Diane Robertson talks about data being used for the benefit or as a deficient model for Kiwis

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

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Tags local governmentCIO100Smart Cityinnovationpublic transportopen dataMuleSoftpublic sectorAPIChristchurch City Councilintegrationgovernment CIO

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