Each week we will bring you a summary of what happened this week on our site, on Twitter, and in the wider world of civic data. Suggest stories on Twitter with #ThisWeekInData.
Pittsburgh ran its first Inclusive Innovation Week. The initiative aims to help ensure that all residents of Pittsburgh are included in the city’s new tech initiatives by reaching out to previously underserved sections of the population. Over 60 events were planned for the week, covering a wide range of topics and intended audiences, in an attempt to engage as many groups as possible.
Steve Goldsmith described Washington, D.C.’s Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) and their innovative data-driven approach to tree management. UFA wanted to estimate the number of trees in their jurisdiction, and turned to lidar data to do so. They soon discovered, though, that lidar data could enhance their work across the board, from enforcing tree permits to highlighting growing successes. In the future, UFA hopes to build a model integrating lidar data to find the best areas to strategically plant trees to mitigate stormwater runoff.
Next City wrote about Miami’s new interactive 3D map of the city’s future skyline. The map, which includes recently completed, current, planned, and proposed construction projects, is designed to help residents understand how the city’s downtown area will change with the rapid development occurring. Users can also see zoning codes and details about the developments, providing them with an easy and clear way to become informed about Miami’s construction.
GovTech described the city of Chicago’s data-sharing partnership with Allstate. Allstate’s analytics team has been analyzing much of Chicago’s data to improve city services, beginning with exploring how food inspections could be improved. Using a number of relevant datasets, the Allstate analysts were able to create a more efficient route for inspectors, focusing on areas with high chances of having critical health code violations. The partnership allowed Chicago to better leverage its data with the power of Allstate’s analytics team, and plans to turn to other areas to continue improving public safety throughout the city.
CityLab profiled DataUSA, a new open-source government data visualization website created by the MIT Media Lab and Deloitte. The site features open data sets from cities, counties, states, and federal agencies, displayed in a way that’s easy and accessible even for non tech-savvy users. DataUSA tries to present data in a way that’s most useful for end users, instead of how it was collected. Maps and other “stories” of interesting data insights are included, demonstrating how much value can be extracted from data.
The Data Quality Campaign wrote about the importance of providing jobs programs with not just funding but recent and thorough data. In order to understand the best programs, services, and strategies to connect youth with lasting jobs, jobs programs need data on how well these programs are currently working. Much of this data is being collected by state education and workforce agencies, and a bigger emphasis on partnerships could allow jobs programs to be much more effective in their work.
GovTech interviewed Debbie Cotton, the CIO of Phoenix. She discussed the importance of shared services on a limited budget, getting tech buy-in from departments across the city, outside partnerships, and Phoenix’s IT future.
Next Century Cities announced the first Next Generation Engagement Awards, rewarding communities with broadband access initiatives to increase civic engagement and participation. Winning communities will receive up to $30,000 to launch or improve a projected aimed at improving engagement; suggested project topics range from participatory budgeting to transportation improvement. All municipal governments are eligible, and applications are due June 15, 2016.
NextGov hosted a Twitter chat with the federal tech community on the Internet of Things. The chat covers the meaning of IoT, pioneers and leaders, potential usages, and major privacy and security concerns.
Hollie Russon Gilman interviewed Mike Flowers, a What Works Cities senior fellow and former NYC Chief Analytics Officer, about integrating data into governance. Flowers had three key takeaways: people, not technology, will reform government, empathy is needed to understand the current civic tech landscape, and humility about the limits of tech can lead to better solutions.
The Sunlight Foundation featured a post by Kevin Miller, senior executive analyst for data analytics in San José, on the development of open data and analytics in the city. Until 2015, citywide analytics and open data were fairly limited due to a series of budget constraints and a lack of an organizational data plan. In 2015, the Data Analytics Team was formed and the city began to think more about data policies. Miller describes the changes that he has already seen in the city as a result of a new data strategy, and considers the potential moving forward.