IBM has unveiled the first major Canadian application on its Platform-as-a-Service offering Bluemix, from Toronto-based startup ThinkData Works.
The solution, called Namara.io pulls public data from all levels of government in Canada into a searchable directory, with hopes of making app development more efficient by eliminating the need to dig for data.
“This is one of the first major apps that is Canada specific,” Nevil Knupp, vice president of cloud computing at IBM Canada told CDN. He explained that it has not even been a year since Bluemix left beta, and so with services available on the platform being mostly US-centric, Namara.io is “very unique.”
Public information that Namara.io aggregates includes transportation, education and healthcare. The data collected, when in their traditional format, tends to be strewn about on various government websites and is a challenge to find and access.
In one example, IBM suggested a map of nearby healthcare services that treat specific illnesses.
In another, called Map Your Property, the platform collects open real estate, land development and building permit data across the Region of York and City of Toronto to assess development potential.
According to Knupp, while ThinkData Works’ approach to open data is designed for Canada, it will likely be emulated elsewhere.
“The federal government in the US is keen on this as much as our own government,” Knupp said. “Developers don’t have to look around for it, they can dive right in. It will catch on in every government around the world.”