Anchorage’s New Data Site

February 16, 2017 2:18 pm PST | Data News Roundup
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Anchorage’s new open data site is an easy way for residents to view public information — the city’s mayor believes it will promote informed policy debates. The U.S. Vote Foundation is creating a central source of information on polling locations to encourage turnout, and at a recent conference, public sector technology officials spoke about some of the challenges facing local governments.

Data portal gives Anchorage residents new access to information

“The Municipality of Anchorage launched a new website giving residents access to usable data about their community. It’s called the Open Data Portal and includes everything from crime statistics and homelessness numbers to restaurant and child care inspections, as well as property appraisals.” Read more from KTVA Alaska.

Using Tech, Data to Increase Voter Turnout

“Turnout in local elections runs low, ranging from 27 to 34 percent, according to recent research. As a result, “important public policy decisions are being made without the input of most of the affected residents,” researchers note. The U.S. Vote Foundation is looking to technology to improve the situation by making a range of polling information available to broad audiences of voters and groups that work to enable voting. ‘These are the elections that impact people the most, and they are opting out because they don’t have access to the information,’ said President and CEO Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat. ‘Data is the key that will unlock the door to what has been obscured to our citizens for a long time.’” Read more from Government Technology.

4 Hurdles Facing Local Government Techies (And What to do About Them)

“Local government technology officials gathered to discuss the myriad challenges and opportunities facing their respective organizations during the Laserfiche Empower conference Feb. 8….Long Beach CIO Bryan Sastokas told attendees that framing the conversation around economic development, or how it can support other key initiatives outside of IT, can be a useful tactic when gathering support and engaging with stakeholders. During efforts to build the city’s open data program and policy, Sastokas said the goal was to connect directly with the public and outline the information they hoped to draw on. ‘We went out to the community and said, “What is it that you want? How do you want that data? What are you looking for? What should that policy be?”‘” Read more from Government Technology.

GSA moves one step closer to replacing DUNS

“The General Services Administration took an important step toward reducing its reliance on a proprietary business entity identifier system in government contracting….The pitfalls associated with using a proprietary reference system first came to public attention in 2014, when a key contract covering data use on the website expired, and D&B pulled its data from the site. was considered at the time the gold standard for spending transparency, and the loss of rich transactional data activated many in the open government community to advocate for an open standard as a replacement.” Read more from the Business of Federal Technology.

The Internet Archive wants to host PACER records from U.S. courts and make them available for free

“The Internet Archive wants to add a new string to its bow by becoming the official host of electronic records from U.S. courts. Launched originally in 1988, PACER — an acronym for ‘Public Access to Court Electronic Records’ —  is a publicly accessible database of U.S. federal court documents and includes information from cases across district courts, courts of appeals, and bankruptcy courts. “ Read more from Venture Beat.

From $37 to $339,000: Why the Price of Public Records Requests Varies So Much

“Local and state laws regarding what constitutes the public’s domain are about as uniform as a patchwork quilt. And technology — or a lack thereof — further contributes to the increasing cost variance between jurisdictions.” Read more from Governing.

Could data be a challenge reward? Intelligence agency official says it’s worth exploring

“Using challenges or competitions to bring non-traditional companies into government’s orbit is now a somewhat familiar tool for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but its deputy director said Monday the agency is thinking about ways to keep things interesting. ‘I could imagine a future where instead of running a competition where the prize is money, that we run a competition where the prize is data,’ said Sue Gordon at a breakfast Monday in Washington….To be sure, agencies have to reconcile the idea of using data as a prize with the reality that the data’s existence is underwritten by taxpayer dollars.” Read more from Fed Scoop.

Troopers Use ‘Big Data’ to Predict Crash Sites

“As more and more states use “big data” for everything from catching fraudsters to reducing heath care costs, some highway patrols are tapping it to predict where serious or fatal traffic accidents are likely to take place so they can try to prevent them. ‘This has a tremendous potential to help save lives by pinpointing where the crashes occur and digging deep into the data and using that to make decisions,’ said Kara Macek, spokeswoman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents highway safety offices.” Read more from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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