Government of Prince Edward Island Open Data Standards

What is Open Data?

Open Data is defined as structured data that is machine-readable, freely shared, used and built on without restrictions.

The Open Definition provides a more detailed definition of Open Data. To summarize the most important points:

  • Availability and Access: The data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form. 
  • Re-use and Redistribution: The data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets. 
  • Universal Participation: Everyone must be able to use, reuse and redistribute. There should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, 'non-commercial' restrictions that would prevent 'commercial' use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed. 


Structured Data

Structured data is usually in the form of text but follows a specific format giving it machine readability. Some more complex formats may be in binary format such as maps and GIS related files. You will find different formats in the Open Data listing. This section covers some of the popular formats and provides some tips on how to work with them.


The easiest method for working with a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file is to use a spreadsheet application such as OpenOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel. Simply launch the application and open the .csv file to launch the application’s CSV import wizard.


JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a structured Open Data format that is lightweight and very well suited for mobile applications. It is used either natively or as a library available in most web and mobile development languages. Detailed information on JSON can be found on the official JSON web site.


XML (eXtensible Markup Language) defines a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification.


Geo Formats


ESRI Shapefiles (SHP) are popular geospatial, vector data files which are accompanied by a series of files necessary to use the SHP file.

Based on the Government of Canada Data Standards


Published date: 
June 9, 2016
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General Inquiries

Department of Finance
2nd Floor South, Shaw Building
95 Rochford Street
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-4040
Fax: (902) 368-6575