14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal | The Coast Halifax

14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal

Provincial government opens some of its books.

14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal
via iStock

The province of Nova Scotia has launched its new open data portal, publishing a catalogue of more than 130 datasets now neatly collected and available to download. 

"Open data is one part of our vision for an open and accountable government,” said premier Stephen McNeil in a release. “By making our data widely available, individuals have easier access to the information they can use to understand their government, support their businesses, gain new insights and make new discoveries."


A lot of this information was already available publicly but not collected all in one place or formatted into easy-to-play-around-with datasets. Some of the information is also, well...calling it data is being generous. The calendar dates for Invest Nova Scotia's three board meetings last year probably didn’t need a spreadsheet. Still, there's lots of interesting info available, provided you do some digging. Here’s a surface-level look at some standouts:


Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel & Tobacco Disciplinary Notices
“A summary of recent disciplinary action and related information regarding non-compliant matters that have been brought before the executive director of Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division resulting in issuance of a Notice of Proposed Action.” Good for, among other things finding out that Joey’s Convenience in Beaverbank tops the violation list with its 90-day suspension.

Nova Scotia Abandoned Mines Openings
“This digital product is developed from a database of published abandoned mine openings for the province of Nova Scotia...The database provides approximate coordinate locations for many of the abandoned mine openings, and also provides a source reference on each mine opening.”

14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal
via DNR

Unclaimed Estate Funds Database
When individuals die and the heirs are missing and cannot be located, the unclaimed estate funds are transferred to the minister of Finance and the Treasury Board who holds them in a trust for a legislated time limit of 40 years, or until they can be dispersed. “At the end of 40 years, any unclaimed funds can be transferred to general revenues.” The largest unclaimed estate is the $580,000 that once belonged to George Alexander Getley. The smallest? John Henry Foster’s unclaimed $0.79.

Notifiable Disease Counts and Rates 2005-2014
“Overall counts and rates (per 100,000 population) of notifiable diseases reported in Nova Scotia for 2005-2014.” Useful for finding out how many chlamydia infections are out there. Go get tested, people.

Birth and Death Registrations
Birth and death registrations in Nova Scotia began in 1864 and lasted until 1877 (though even those records are incomplete). The province resumed tracking births and deaths in 1908 without any further interruption.

Crown Lands
A spatial dataset of all Crown lands in Nova Scotia (that is, land under the administration and control of Natural Resources as per the Crown Lands Act).

14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal

Federal Provincial Contribution Agreements
A dataset including expired as well as active agreements between provincial departments and the federal government. “It is intended as a working document for department staff. As such we do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information provided.” It doesn’t include federal transfer payments, however, or cost-shared agreements.

Lobbyist Register
A directory of active, inactive and terminated lobbyists registered in Nova Scotia. This info, like many other datasets, was already online in a fairly-searchable format. But still nice to have here.

New Arrivals at Adult and Youth Correctional Facilities
New arrivals in adult and youth correctional facilities. Counted as intakes only (from non‐custody status to custody, transfer from another jurisdiction, or conditional sentence to custody). “An individual could have more than one new arrival at a correctional facility during a fiscal year. New arrivals do not include the transfer of individuals between correctional facilities within the province.” Nova Scotia has roughly 4,000 new adult correctional arrivals a year.

Nova Scotia Mineral Rights Database
What is it?
A digital project, maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, containing layers for exploration licenses and leases, hydrocarbon storage-area licenses and leases and non-mineral registrations, among others. For those who crave those minerals.

Awarded Public Tenders
“Contains the awarded vendor and amount for government and public sector tenders by entity, vendor, category, start date, end date and awarded date.”

Nova Scotia Top 20 Baby Names 2014
The 20 most popular baby names for 2014 for both male and female babies in Nova Scotia. Liam and Emma were at the top, followed by Benjamin and Olivia. Jacob, sadly, placed ninth.

Nova Scotia Government Employee Absenteeism
Probably the dataset pundits, online commenters and tabloid owners will want to look at the most. “Absences reported by employees during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, by absence date, absence type category, absence type, absence hours, employee type, gender and age cohort on absence date.”

Nova Scotia Climate Change Data
Climate data for regions of Nova Scotia with a 30-year baseline period (1961–1990) and future projections out to the end of the century (2100).

14 of the best datasets inside Nova Scotia's new open data portal
Matt Bustin

Other information includes weather data, traffic volumes, civic addresses, fish stocking records and many more. Go take a look yourself and play around. Most columns can be filtered and there’s some in-page visualization tools as well. If you find or develop anything interesting out of the available data be sure to let us know.