ReCollect Waste Data Guide

This page explains the data format and content needed to provide accurate waste collection schedules. It also outlines options for ongoing Data Connectors.

If you or your GIS department have any questions, please send us an email!

Schedules For All

We want to provide a great experience for those searching — and finding — their waste collection schedule.

In addition to the people you serve, ReCollect can display collection schedules for a wide range of specific addresses, or customized messages for addresses you don’t service, like:

  • Multi-family units (townhomes or apartment buildings)
  • Industrial, Commercial or Institutional addresses (businesses or schools)
  • Pilot areas (like a food scraps collection pilot area)
  • Addresses in neighboring municipalities, that frequently believe they are served by your organization (but are not).

Detailed data helps provide a great experience for visitors to your website and fewer calls to your help line! 

Terminology

Schema – The column headers, fields, or attribute names of your data.
Service – The types of collection you provide, be it Garbage, Recycling, or Organics.
Event Flag – Event flags are the visual representations of different types of service. They appear in the calendar as colored rectangles with titles of each service offered (for example, Garbage). Colors can be changed.

Fig 1 Garbage service event flag

Event An event is a repeatable occurrence of a service. An event flag is used to show each event. (For example, In the Route 10 collection area, Garbage is picked up on Monday every week. Each pickup date/day is an event and these events are represented with an event flag called Garbage).

Fig 2 Garbage event flags repeating for each event

Frequency – How often a service is provided. This determines the frequency of events in ReCollect. (Garbage might have a frequency of service of weekly and Recycling may have a frequency of service of bi-weekly).

 

Fig 3 Frequency represented as garbage weekly and recycling bi-weekly

Zone – A zone is a way in which ReCollect categorizes your services. A route number or day of the service you provide may be used to create a zone in ReCollect. Each address is assigned to one or more zones and each zone might contain 0 or more event flag types and events. (For example, a collection area you call Route 10 will be represented as a zone in ReCollect. This zone would contain the event flags for the services you provide and would have any number of events depending on the frequency of collection days).


Fig 4 Route 10 zone with events

Calendar – A calendar is a name we give the product which combines a zone and it’s events. The people who use our product to find their schedule, view the calendar.

General Data Requirements

Our goal is to make the onboarding and maintenance of your address data and calendar information as simple as possible for you, so you can focus on other things! In order to do this, we like to create calendar events at the same time as importing your addresses. As a further step, we’d love to work with you to automate this process. Automating and having clear address data and calendar information will also allow us to better support you when you need to do a re-route!

We need 4 key pieces of information.
1. Serviced and unserviced addresses in a file format and schema that stays consistent over time.
2. The service information for each address including the day of service, the frequency and start date, and the type of service offered.
3. If unserviced, a message to set so the people using the calendar may be redirected.
4. Holiday information and how it affects service.

Please provide an initial dataset so we can get your product up and running in a timely fashion. In parallel, we will work with you to determine the best way to keep your addresses up to date in our system going forward.

Address Data Format and Schema

Accepted Data Formats

1. Tabular format (ex. CSV, Excel, Access).

2. GIS format (Shape, Geodatabase).

3. Open Data/REST Endpoints.

4. Please discuss with us if you have anything other than what is listed.

Required Address Data Schema Fields

  • Zone Name – The service information for each address whether it be a Route ID, Route Number, Zone Name, or Collection Day. This must match the Zone Name in the Calendar file if it is provided separately. The Zone Name will be used to create a Zone in ReCollects backend.
  • House Number – Separate from Unit number.
  • Full Street Name – Include directional prefixes/suffixes, for example, Main St W, or NW Broadway Ave.
  • City / Town Name – Please make sure this is the name that a person looking for their address will use. If there are multiples, please put each one in a separate column.

Optional Address Data Schema Fields

  • Unit Number – For multi-family or commercial.

  • Alternate Street Name – For addresses that could be typed in more than one way by your end-users, you may provide this information as a semicolon-separated list or as separate columns.

    • Please note, we do take care of directional prefix searching. For example, if you provide 124 Smythe St. NW, and the person using the calendar types in 124 NW Smythe St., they will be given the option to choose 124 Smythe St. NW. There is no need to provide alternatives in this case.

  • Alternate City or CommunitySame as Alternate Street Name

  • Latitude (Y) coordinate – Coordinates are required if you want to issue service alerts to targeted geographic zones. Please provide in WGS84 format where possible, if not, the coordinate system must be identified to us.

  • Longitude (X) coordinate – Same as Latitude

  • External ID – Unique never changing id for each address data record

Holiday Schedules and Seasonal Events

Holiday and Seasonal event information and how these affect your services is a very important piece of your calendar. Your CSM will provide you with a link to your onboarding tracker where you will find the Calendar form. This form will guide you through questions to gather information about observed holidays in your region and how they affect your services. In addition, we will ask you to provide dates and details for seasonal only events, such as Christmas Tree or Leaf pickups.

Address Data Examples

If all service types have weekly collections for all addresses, we simply require an address file containing a column for the day the services are collected. In this case, each address would be a record and the Zone Name column would have the day of collection.


Fig 5 Address file schema with the zone name as the day of service

If waste collection is variable (weekly Garbage, bi-weekly Recycle), we require a column or record for each of the service types you offer along with their frequency and start information. This will allow us to create a zone per service type and assign events based on the frequency of the service.

Fig 6 Address file schema with variable service frequencies

You may also provide the Zone Name as a route number. We would need a column for the day of service for each route.


Fig 7 Address file schema with variable frequencies and Day column added

Dos

  • Provide the full Street Name, House Number, and Unit Number in separate columns for all serviced and unserviced addresses.

  • Provide address data that does not contain special symbols.

  • Provide unit numbers or letters only in the Unit column. No special symbols or words like Apt or Unit before the unit number (10A is great, Unit# 10A is ideally avoided).

  • Provide only individual house numbers and unit numbers. No ranges please (10-100 Smith St. may be interpreted as a unit number or as even/odd or every number in between).

  • Provide a standard schema, which won’t change with each update.

  • Provide full datasets of all addresses in your system.

  • Provide a dataset with consistent spelling (Monday is different from Minday).

  • Provide a dataset where there are no null or empty values for your Street names and House numbers.

Calendar Data Format and Schema (optional alternative to one file)

If you cannot provide all address and calendar information in one file, you may also provide them separately. We must have an attribute to connect the two files together. Normally the Zone Name is used.

Required Calendar Schema

  • Zone Name – Please ensure the values match the Zone Name values in the address file

  • Collection Days – Values that are required if the service name is not a day of the week (Route 10 doesn’t describe the day of service so we’ll need a day value. Monday zone describes the day of services so the collection day value is not necessary)

  • Frequency of Each Collection Type – Values that describe the frequency of your service. Most often we see written frequencies, but if you provide us with information on what frequency each value represents we can also take codes. (eg., “every-week”, “last-week”, “first-week”, “second-week” or codes are acceptable)

  • Start Date – Do you have a bi-weekly or any other non-weekly service frequency? (eg. “A”, “B“, “Odd”, “Even”). If the frequency is anything other than weekly, a starting date is required in a separate column so that we may create events starting on the correct weeks.

    • Note the date format must be YYYY-MM-DD.

Calendar Data Examples

Fig 8 Calendar file with service type per record. Each Zone Name and Service type pair appears only once per file

Fig 9 Calendar file with service type per column

Address Data Update Options

We want to ensure people using the calendar can access the most up-to-date address and calendar data. Every data update must use the same schema as the initial data upload. If the schema changes, there will be errors in your data update and delays in adding your data to our system. We recommend Options 1-3 as automated imports will ensure that your address data is always up to date.

Option 1 – APIs, Data Portals, and ArcGIS Servers

On a specified interval, ReCollect can pull all your address data from an open data portal/rest endpoint. You’ll need to provide ReCollect with credentials to access these sites.

Option 2 – SFTP (ReCollect Server)

Nightly or weekly, push GIS or tabular file(s) containing all your address data to ReCollect’s SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) site. You’ll need to send ReCollect your public SSH key to access ReCollect’s SFTP (We will provide you with documentation on how to set this up).

Option 3 – FTP/SFTP (Your Server)

Nightly or weekly, ReCollect can pull GIS or tabular file(s) containing all your address data from your SFTP or FTP site. You’ll need to provide ReCollect with credentials to access these sites.

Option 4 – Drag and Drop a file to ReCollect

Anytime, use ReCollect’s “drag-and-drop” feature to upload your complete address dataset.

Option 5 – Email to ReCollect

Once or twice a year, send ReCollect GIS or tabular file/s containing all your complete address dataset.

Option 6 – Other

Do none of the above options work for you? Please let us know so that we can find an ideal method for importing your address data and keeping it up to date. Please work with your CSM and together we can make a plan to get your data into our system.