Announcing OpenNWT

Last update on Oct. 28, 2014.

Welcome to OpenNWT!

I’m proud to announce the launch of OpenNWT, an initiative to make the GNWT more open and transparent. The focus is on developing technology projects that will make existing public information more accessible or useful to the public. By launching a community-run open data portal for the NWT we hope to enable the public to make better use of government data, and to spur a conversation about public information.

OpenNWT originally started as a NWT version of the open parliament tools that have been created in recent years including and While creating that we realized there is a greater need for open data in the NWT beyond just Hansard and from there OpenNWT transformed into this portal.

The inspiration for OpenNWT portal came from a number of similar projects around the world including OpenNorth (based in Montreal), and MySociety (based in the UK). Many of the existing open data projects focus on data generated by larger jurisdictions. As a northerner organization the focus will be on designing, and implementing data solutions that focus on the NWT. While a number of governments have gone down the road of creating data portals, the work from the community is just as important, if not more so, as it demonstrates the need and utility of the data.

After over two years of planning and developing, the OpenNWT data portal is launching with our first two projects, NWT Contracts and Hansard Search.

NWT Contracts is an online application that makes it easier to view currently open and awarded GNWT contracts as well as view contracting reports interactively with data connected across multiple years.

To do this we’ve built a database of all published government contracts since 2004/05, sourced from the GNWT’s Contracts Over $5,000 Reports, combined with all competitive bid information currently published to the web. The first version allows browsing of the reports. In the second version we have plans for full search capabilities, exporting to Excel for tables and e-mail alerts (for newly posted RFPs, awarded contracts, etc.).

Hansard Search is an online application, originally based on, that displays the debates of the Legislative Assembly in a much more user friendly format than they are officially published. There is also advanced search functionality for records over the past 7 years. The full feature set is too large to get into but, there will be a future dedicated post to it.

We have a number of other data projects under development for release in the near future so stay tuned to see what’s next.

- David

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  1. Ben McDonald

    Ben McDonald on 10/28/2014 3:20 p.m. #

    Good luck with the project. The site promises to be a great aid for those wanting to keep up with what the GNWT is up to.

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