Digital terms glossary

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Application Programming Interface (API)

A mechanism that allows systems to talk to each other so that data available in one system can be used in another.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as apposed to the natural intelligence of humans and animals. The term is also used to describe machines that mimic cognitive functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem solving.

Augmented reality (AR)

AR is technology that overlays computer-generated information on a user's view of the real world, providing a modified view of reality, often with a smartphone or technology-enabled glasses/goggles. This can come in the form of a variety of sensory experiences, including visual, auditory and motion.


Automation is the partial or full replacement of manual or mechanical tasks with automatic ones, reducing human intervention to a minimum.

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Blockchain is a system in which online transactions are made and maintained through several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network. It’s like a digital ledger that is protected from user manipulation.


Wireless networking technology that allows users to send voice and data from one electronic device to another.


A program used to access webpages.

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A chatbot is technology that often uses artificial intelligence to simulate human conversation, usually over the internet. Chatbots can be text or speech based. Often seen on websites, social media and smart devices (e.g. Siri, Alexa).


An action that requires the user to click on the button on the left side of a computer mouse.


A programmable machine; a.k.a. PC or personal computer.


Connectivity is the ability of devices to be able to connect to other devices through the internet. It can also refer to the ability of people to connect and communicate with each other.

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Data is information that is gathered for monitoring, reporting and analysis. This may include personal information and statistics.

Data-driven decision-making

Data-driven decision-making involves making decisions that are backed up by data rather than making decisions that are intuitive or based on observation alone.

Data literacy

Data literacy is a person’s ability to collect, read, interpret and use data in a meaningful way.

Design thinking

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” (Source: Tim Brown, IDEO)


A thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment. For our purposes this might be an electronic or mobile device (e.g. smartphone).

Digital (or online) services

Digital or online services are services that are provided over the internet.

Digital divide

Digital divide is the gap between people who have the resources to access and use technology and those who do not.

Digital literacy

Digital literacy is a person’s ability to understand, use and communicate through digital platforms.

Digital twin

A digital twin is the digital copy of a city that can predict the impact of a suggested change to all aspects of a city.


To digitize is to convert information or services to a digital or online format.

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Hyperlink (or link)

A word, phrase or image that you can click on that will take you to another spot on a webpage or one on a different website, webpage or open/navigate a document.

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Innovation is doing something different that has an impact.

Intelligent City

An intelligent city is a municipality that focuses on finding collaborative and innovative solutions to complex and shared community problems, often with the aid of technology.


The internet is global system of computer networks, where users can access information or communicate with other computers with the proper access/permission. Internet is also accessible on other internet-enabled devices (e.g. smartphones).

Internet of Things (IoT)

The connection of devices in everyday objects (“things”) over the internet, enabling them to send and receive data (e.g. sensors, wearable devices, smart home products).


An intranet is a private or restricted network that is only accessible to a certain group of users. Intranets are often used by organizations to communicate information internally, i.e. to staff.

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Model city

A model city is a 3D or digital copy of an actual city, which can be used to visualize the impact of changes to a city’s environment.

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A network consists of multiple devices that can communicate with one another.

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When devices are turned on and connected to other devices, like over the internet, they are considered online.

Online service

Digital or online services are services that are provided over the internet.

Open data

Open data is data that is free for anyone to access, use, reuse and redistribute.

Open government

Open government is about transparency and providing open access to information about how a government is run.

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An action when the user touches a touchscreen with two or more fingers and moves them together or apart to zoom in or out. This function is also referred to as a zoom or pinch-to-zoom.


Privacy is like confidentiality. Only intended or authorized parties should be able to access and use the information. As a BC municipality, we are bound by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) and our Privacy Policy.

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An action that requires the user to click the button on the right side of a computer mouse.

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When related to information technology, security means providing confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Confidentiality is concealing information from unauthorized parties. Integrity means preventing any unauthorized tampering or modification of data. Availability means providing the service for the authorized parties without any disruption.

Service delivery

Service delivery is how services are provided to customers.

Service design

Service design is the planning and organizing of all the parts of a service to improve its quality from both a customer and service provider perspective.

Smart City

A smart city is a municipality that uses sensors connected to the internet to collect data and then use it to improve the management of assets and resources.


A swipe involves quickly moving (or "swiping") your finger across a touchscreen (or trackpad).

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When referring to a touch screen, a tap is a quick, gentle touch on the screen with a finger.

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Virtual reality (VR)

VR is an artificial environment that is created with technology and presented to the user in a way that could seem quite realistic, blocking out the physical world.

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Networking technology that allows computers to communicate over a wireless signal.

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5G network

Considered the next generation of internet access, 5G uses a different frequency (then what is currently used for 4G or LTE coverage) to transmit data through the air, which reduces disruptions, increases speeds and improves reliability.

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