What’s the story
Tracking Toronto Ticker was one of the Innovation Lab’s first projects.
Tracking Toronto Ticker was the winner of the first Lab Action process. It was highly supported by the judges, and the process rallied an army of motivated volunteers, ready to make it happen.
“The Ticker” is a way to tell Toronto’s story through live statistics about our society, environment and economy. It’s an innovative idea that uses data already available on the Open data catalogue, and applies the existing concept of the stock or sports result tickers. The Ticker instead displays dynamic statistics such as average house price, transit ridership, consumer price index, unemployment rate and air quality with up/down symbols indicating change in figures since last month, last quarter or last year (see sample strip below).
The ultimate vision for the Ticker was for it to be displayed at the bottom of the City of Toronto’s website or a physical version that could be displayed around the perimeter of the City Hall rotunda or at other Civic Centres.
As the outcome of this project, a prototype of the Ticker operating on the Innovation Lab webpage was developed over a period of about a year with the help of a team composed of dedicated lab members: Denis, Kurtis, Derek, Joseph and Sheyda. The success of this project is thanks to unique IT skills, great team management, a can-do attitude and an inspiring vision brought by various team members.
The initial Innovation Lab approach for making this idea a reality was to get all Innovation Lab members involved since many members were eager to be part of one of the Lab’s first tangible innovative projects. After a few weeks we soon learned that the ideal team size for such projects is 3 to 5 people. A team composed of more members just does not meet the rapid results approach. This was in fact the conception of the passion project teams. The teams are small, usually composed of those with an innovative idea and those interested members with the right skills and level of passion to implement it.
The Ticker prototype is complete and can be viewed here. Since its inception, the team has made attempts at working with the Toronto Progress Portal team to display the City’s progress through the ticker on their webpage. However, a number of prototype limitations have proven challenging, namely compatibility with Internet Explorer browser (the City’s internal standard) and automated data updates. These limitations are by no means unsolvable, however, they require more staff time as a part of a City initiative to be address, which is beyond the Lab’s resources at this time.
The prototype has been a successful proof of concept, and the Lab is open to working with City teams with access to dedicated IT resources to take it to the next, more functional level on webpages or as digital display board(s).
Innovation Lab Ticker webpage showing the prototype
Recording of Ticker being presented at an Open Data Toronto event (February 2013)
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