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York Region expands use of search solution

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The Regional Municipality of York, also called York Region, in Ontario has expanded its use of search software to offer users more flexibility and autonomy when accessing its vast amounts of data.

The government entity, which has been using Voyager Search for more than four years, is leveraging the solution to benefit a variety of audiences including the general public, internal staff and consultants who rely on York Region data to accomplish their goals. Voyager Search provides geospatial enterprise search that finds and delivers more than 1,800 types of content. York Region has evolved the commercial off the shelf (COTS) software to a variety of functions beyond enterprise search.

York Region’s Data, Analytics and Visualization Services Branch is charged with managing and sharing so much data that it is constantly updating and improving its approach. John Houweling, director of data, analytics and visualization services at York Region, says, “With each improvement Voyager makes to its software, we find new and interesting ways to offer our users more flexibility and autonomy when it comes to accessing our vast amounts of data. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our staff, partners, residents and businesses to get the most value out of the data.”

The four key areas in which York Region’s Data, Analytics and Visualization Services Branch has developed applications and services using Voyager’s COTS software include:

  • Data Discovery PortalYork Region began its relationship with Voyager by using it to develop the Data Discovery Portal, which provides a catalog on the web for consultants who are looking for specific types of data.
  • Open DataThe Open Data application gives users the ability to download data, and York Region system administrators can track those downloads.
  • Self-Serve Data Depot—The Self-Serve Data Depot (SSDD) provides York Region consultants with direct online access to more than 400 hosted and maintained data sets 24/7. The SSDD includes the presentation library, which gives members access to videos, presentation materials and more.
  • YODA (York’s Online Data Access Catalog). YODA is York Region’s internal catalog or data registry, which contains all data held within the region—totaling approximately 1,720 records.
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