1.3 Data Delivery Method

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CanWIN currently provides two ways for users to access data:

  • hosted on CanWIN datahub (Manual Publishing)
  • linked data to an agency portal, data service or automated data delivery (harvesting)

Hosted on CanWIN

Datasets can be stored and hosted on CanWIN. In this instance, files are manually uploaded to the site. Refresh of this data will require a new data file to be manually uploaded to the dataset each time the data is available.

When to host data on CanWIN:

  • data collected periodically where automation costs would exceed benefits (e.g. annual, in frequent or once of data)
  • historical data
  • system infrastructure does not support automated delivery
  • to release data initially while automation processes are established

To see when in your data collection process you should store data on CanWIN see Section 1.4 Data Levels and Best Practice Recommendations

Linked Data

Linked data is when data is discoverable on CanWIN and the dataset entry is linked to the source of the data, either an agency portal, data service or through automated data delivery.

When to link data on CanWIN:

  • automated data delivery is established
  • if an existing data portal or website exists where the agency will maintain the data (either manually or automatically)
  • link to a data tool that allows users to explore, manipulate, and reuse the data
  • if data is of a considerable size (Terabyte+) and a hosting service is used

An example of linked data is adding an HTML page as the URL when you are on the “Add Data” page in CKAN.

Add file or URL to CKAN

Add file or URL to CKAN

Automated Data Delivery

It is recommended that data publishers consider automating data delivery. Examples of automated data delivery include:

  • Application Programming Interface (API)
    • An API allows your product or service to talk to other products or services. In this way, an API allows you to open up data and functionality to other developers and to other businesses. It is increasingly the way in which agencies and companies exchange data and services, both internally and externally. API’s allow developers to build applications that use data. Data that
      changes rapidly is often delivered through an API.
    • As API’s are external to CanWIN, data publishers need to provide information on how to use the API. Usually, instructions and a sample key are provided and published on CanWIN with the link to the API.
    • CanWIN has its own API to harvest data to another repository, see http://docs.ckan.org/en/ckan-2.7.0/api/ for details.


CKAN can also harvest specific types of data. These include:

  • Web Accessible Folders (WAF)
    • A WAF is an online accessible index page with links to metadata documents. 
  • Geospatial Servers 
    • CSW servers
    • ArcGIS and Geoportal Servers (REST, WMS, WFS) and Z39.50 databases
  • Other CKAN instances
    • e.g. Government of Canada, Government of U.S.A., U.K. Government, Government of Australia
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