Open Data Frequently Asked Questions

What is open data and

The Region makes data it collects available to the public via By offering data sets for others to use, the Region supports unfiltered access to its data. This allows the public to analyze data for their own purposes, it provides additional research resources and it allows applications to be created using regional data to provide potential benefit for everyone.
Over the last year a project team has been involved in a comprehensive investigation to inform recommendations into the development of an open data initiative. The team has been working with internal staff, other Canadian municipalities and the community to ensure it uses the appropriate approach.
The open data initiative at the Region will continue to grow. This launch of data is the first step and we will strive to continually update, add to and enhance the site. Visualization tools will be provided in the near future and new datasets will be added to the site.

How can people submit ideas for data sets?

Please feel free to contact the Open Data Project Team at to submit ideas. These ideas will be provided to the appropriate data owner to review and to analyze whether the data can be made available.

How are data sets selected for the open data catalogue?

The Region's open data initiative is still in its infancy. Region staff responsible for data collection, are working towards releasing all allowable data as soon as possible. The Region is working towards a proactive approach to analyzing data that it will collect in the future to ensure it will be posted. 

Will personal information be at risk?

The Region complies with freedom of information and privacy laws and will not be releasing information that infringes on privacy rights. In fact, some requests from the community for data are not actionable due to privacy restrictions.

Under what licence is the data available?

The Region researched many data licensing options. The licence mimics the Open Government Information Licence (OGL) developed by the UK government, maintained by the UK National Archives. The Province of British Columbia's open data initiative uses a variant of the OGL and the Region has developed its licence using the same wording as BC's, with minor changes to respect applicable legislation.

What projection is the data provided in?

The GIS data provided by the Region of Waterloo is in the Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 17, NAD83 projection.

Why is a particular dataset not available yet, and when will it be?

The Region maintains thousands of datasets that come from many sources. Our intention is to release as much Regional data allowable by law. Exceptions include restrictions on release because of privacy or confidentiality issues. Resolving issues and privacy concerns takes time.

How frequently is data updated?

Operating divisions and program areas within the Region manage their own data sets and update them as required to meet business needs. The currency of the data is stated as part of the dataset information.