Information modified from the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Government of South Australia, Open Data Process Guide, 2014.
Data needs to be in a format that makes it easy to use, transform and reuse. It is important for the community to have confidence that the data they are accessing is current, reliable and well managed.
For data to be open, it must be released in an open format and machine readable.
Open format: An open format is one, which is platform independent or non-proprietary, which means it does not matter what operating system or licensed software you have access to.
Machine readable: means that a computer without human aid can read data both in its format and in structure. Machine readable data is structured and easy to query using software code. Developers can consume the data from their programs/applications and re-use it.
Data may need to be transformed into another format to make it open. Releasing data in an open format may be as simple as saving or exporting system generated data in csv format instead of Microsoft Excel or PDF which is proprietary.
CanWIN can store data in any format, and some formats (such as shapefiles) cannot be easily converted by a regular user. Where possible, we ask our users to provide their data in the native format AND an open format.
The table below provides examples of Common Open Data Formats. Click to view a larger version. Table from Australian Government Open data toolkit (https://toolkit.data.gov.au/index.php?title=Publishing_your_data)