Laval opens its data to app developers 

By Robert Frank

Starting this Fall, Laval will release to the public some of its computer databases that hitherto were available only to select civil servants.

The move will be a boon to programmers, who can now develop applications that will put the information at the disposal of computer, tablet and smartphone users.

“It has opened up a world of opportunity to the community,” city spokeswoman Valérie Sauvé told The Suburban. “The number of possible applications is limited only by the level of interest and creativity of the community.”

Laval is following in the footsteps of its two larger counterparts, Montreal and Quebec City, both of which have already opened up vast vaults of data to the benefit of their residents.

Montreal’s French-only web page lists 44 apps.

They can help you find schedules for buses, trains and skating rinks, where free wi-fi internet access is available and where public parking might be available or where it is prohibited to facilitate snow removal operations. You can check out whether the restaurant you plan to eat at has been fined for being unsanitary or if local cross-country ski conditions are suitable for a jaunt.

In the provincial capital so far only seven apps are on offer on Quebec City’s French-only web page.

One is designed to warn you if you exceed the speed limit or if you enter a mobile photo radar zone; another lets you volunteer to dig out fire hydrants in the interest of public safety, after a blizzard.

“It’s consistent with our transparency policy to move closer to achieving what is known as open data,” Laval executive committee vice-chairman David de Cotis said in a statement.

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Intelligent parking: Will Montreal’s app that warns motorists about snow clearance measures be coming to Laval this winter?

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