Microsoft Canada Inc.

Microsoft Canada Inc.

March 19, 2010 10:16 ET

Microsoft Canada Opens Up to Help Fuel Local App Ecosystem in Vancouver

Gov 2.0 initiative takes centre stage in fostering government culture of transparency & innovation

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2010) -

Editors Note: There are four photos and one video associated with this Press Release.

Microsoft Canada Inc. announced today it is working with local open government experts and Vancouver-based developer Nitobi, to help make government data more easily accessible and useful for citizens. Leveraging the City of Vancouver's Open Data catalogue and Microsoft's Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) platform, Nitobi has developed VanGuide, a web and mobile based social mapping application that enables citizens to tag, rate and comment on Vancouver landmarks and locations. The codebase for the project has been released as an Open Source framework, to enable the creation of new community driven "mash ups", presenting new opportunities to increase citizen participation and collaboration.

VanGuide is just one example of how Microsoft is working to build a vibrant application ecosystem around Open Data catalogues in Canada and around the world by leveraging the power of technology. 

Microsoft's Open Government Efforts Felt Across Canada:

• Since the launch of Vancouver's Open Data Catalogue, local programmers have been working on applications to make the data useful for the citizens of Vancouver. Apps like Vancouver Parking, MapWay and FreeFinders are the result of a Microsoft sponsored competition to encourage the development of open government apps.

• Edmonton is the first North American city to use the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) cloud-based solution from Microsoft for its Open Data Catalogue. The catalogue was implemented at minimal cost to the City using open source components and Microsoft's newest cloud operating system, Windows Azure ™. Using open standards and application interfaces (API), local developers and municipal IT staff can easily retrieve data for use in innovative online applications that can help improve citizen services, enhance collaboration between public and private organizations and increase City transparency.

• In November 2009, Microsoft Canada held an Open Government Roundtable in Vancouver which brought together various Western government organizations planning open government initiatives. The event facilitated the sharing of best practices amongst the cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, North Vancouver and Nanaimo and served as a discussion hub on how technology can assist with the challenges around deployment. Currently, Microsoft is working with the cities of Nanaimo and Calgary on new Gov 2.0 projects.

• Microsoft continues to contribute and drive innovation through its Open Source initiatives such as Microsoft's CodePlex.com, Port25 and Open Source Technology Center (OTC). A deep engagement with local Open Source and application communities is also maintained through a series of events including WordCamp, DemoCamp and most recently ConFoo conference. Microsoft's open source efforts also include Web Application Gallery, PHP on Windows and the FTW! Coding Competition at the Make Web, Not War event in Montreal on May 27th, 2010.

Supporting Quotes:

Nik Garkusha, Platform Strategy Manager, Microsoft Canada Inc.

"Microsoft is open to Open Source. We actively foster application development using Open Data catalogues on a variety of application platforms to help government organizations meet their transparency, citizen participation and agency collaboration goals. By helping Canadian cities transform how they deliver services, our continued focus is on interoperability and helping close the digital divide."

Andre Charland, CEO, Nitobi.

"We're presently using open source components with Microsoft technologies to quickly respond to business needs and create innovative mobile and Web applications. Our VanGuide application and the underlying Open Data Application Framework are clear examples of the power of open standards on the Microsoft platform, enabled by open source to make information available for all citizens."

Supporting Resources:

• VanGuide: http://vanguide.cloudapp.net/

• Open Data Application Framework: http://odaf.codeplex.com/

• City of Edmonton Innovates with Microsoft on Open Data Catalogue: http://news.microsoft.ca/press_releases_business/archive/2010/01/14/city-of-edmonton-innovates-with-microsoft-on-open-data-catalogue.aspx

• Edmonton Open Data Catalogue: http://data.edmonton.ca

• City of Vancouver's Open Data Catalogue: http://data.vancouver.ca/

• Windows Azure™ Platform: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/windowsazure/

• Nitobi Software: http://www.nitobi.com/

Open@Microsoft Flickr link: www.flickr.com/photos/48040036@N07/?saved=1

About Microsoft Canada Inc.

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT"), the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Microsoft Canada is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario with MSN.CA offices located in Toronto and eight regional offices across the country. The company supports local communities across Canada by creating innovative technology and partnerships that help people realize their full potential.

(C) 2010 Microsoft Canada Inc. Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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Contact Information

  • Press inquiries only:
    Microsoft Canada
    Chantelle Bernard, High Road Communications
    416.644.2289
    cbernard@highroad.com
    or
    Nitobi
    Julie Szabo, Capulet Communications
    604.726.6739
    julie@capulet.com