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.
GovTech wrote about how Bexar County, Texas used data analytics to reduce its prison population. In 2009, Bexar County’s jail was over capacity; instead of building a new jail to accommodate more prisoners, they reexamined their own processes and integrated data analytics to better track prisoners and speed up court procedures. The easy-to-use dashboards allow court clerks and county officials to manage cases, and identify inmates who are ready for jail courts or state transfers, allowing them to instantly find information that would’ve taken hours previously. The new system has led to a 25% reduction in prisoners and has saved the county millions.
Also on our site, Margarett Scott explored how civic data can be leveraged to improve public health and emergency management. Several recent advances in technology have made it possible for cities to better manage their preparedness and response through improved public health and emergency medicine systems, critical examples of how data and analytics can be used to enhance city operations. By integrating these emerging technologies and data analytics into public health and emergency management, cities can better understand the challenges at hand, mobilize the appropriate authorities prior to emergencies, and significantly improve public information and emergency response time during crises.
Esri and Leica announced the Smart Communities Innovation Challenge, a new program that will award 10 governments grants to improve government services using GIS and GPS technologies. The projects should use GIS and GPS to improve data collection, better optimize work, and provide workers with real-time information that can be accessed in the field. Proposals will be accepted from August 15 through October 14, and grant recipients will be announced on October 31.
We published #DataSmart Resources: Public Safety. This is the fourth in our new #DataSmart Resources series, which curates helpful links and examples for those looking for an introduction to a particular civic data topic. Our public safety post contains resources on predictive policing, data-driven safety initiatives, fire prevention, smart traffic management, and open data resources relevant to public safety administration.
StateScoop profiled the California Department of Technology’s new Innovation Lab. The Innovation Lab will serve as a digital space for state employees and the public to collaboratively work on new open-source government applications and tools. The lab will be hosted on the state’s cloud platform and will encourage agile development, a method of software development where programs are built incrementally to save time and money. California first announced the lab as an initiative of their new Office of Digital Innovation and Technology Engagement, which was formed earlier this year.
We also published a directory of the members of the Civic Analytics Network. Established with the support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Civic Analytics Network is a new national peer network of urban Chief Data Officers (CDOs). The Civic Analytics Network will collaborate on shared projects that advance the use of data visualization and predictive analytics in solving important urban problems related to economic opportunity, poverty reduction, and addressing the root causes of social problems. Follow the Civic Analytics Network Twitter list for updates from these leading Chief Data Officers.