The Linkable Open Data Environment (LODE) is an exploratory initiative that aims at enhancing the use and harmonization of open micro data primarily from municipal, provincial and federal sources.
The results are a collection of datasets released under a single open data license (Open Government Licence - Canada), as well as open source tools used to process the data, and collaborations in an open space.
The LODE is implemented by the Data Exploration and Integration Lab (DEIL). Thus, it is an ongoing and exploratory initiative, developed in an open space, as an open project.
Why a Linkable Open Data Environment?
Open data are generally defined as structured data that are machine-readable, freely shared, used, and built on without restrictions (Canada Open data portal). Statistics Canada is a major producer of open data, released under the Statistics Canada Open Licence.
The vast majority of open datasets disseminated by Statistics Canada come in the form of aggregated data, as opposed to microdata. This is done to protect confidentiality of personal and sensitive statistical information and to comply with the requirements of the Statistics Act, under the authority of which most of the data of Statistics Canada are collected.
In recent years, a multitude of stakeholders have started producing and releasing open data to the public. Some of these databases are micro data with non-personal and non-sensitive statistical information, such as civic addresses, building locations, listing of businesses licensed under a given municipal bylaw, and public transit information. Increasingly, private sector stakeholders are also releasing openly licensed micro databases to the public.
The LODE focuses specifically on these open microdata. By doing this, the LODE initiative aims to:
- harmonize data sources and facilitate the adoption of standards across different data providers;
- release the data with one single open data license to the public;
- contribute to an open data ecosystem and amplify the value of open microdata.
The components of the LODE
The LODE initiative has four pillars. First, the open databases released under the Open Government of Canada license. Second, the open source tools developed to process and link these databases. Third, collaborations on the development and use of open data and open tools. Fourth, the Linkable Open Data Environment Viewer: a map that displays the content of select databases.