Michigan Unifies Disparate Data with R and SODA

January 14, 2019 6:03 am PST | Data as a Service

When it comes to data issues, a data shortage is rarely a challenge for governments.

However, uniting data around cross-departmental programs to gain insight into performance — that’s the kicker.

During a conversation at Socrata Connect, Justin Baker, Strategic Performance Management Analyst for the Office of Performance andTransformation in the State of Michigan, shared his tech-driven solution to this challenge.

Justin Baker is the Strategic Performance Management Analyst for the Office of Performance andTransformation in the State of Michigan,

SODA + R = Dashboard Insights  

By using the Socrata Open Data API (SODA) and R, a programming language, Baker and his team create ad hoc dashboards that pull data from various portals available through the state and the federal government into one central location.

The end result is a readily shareable HTML page that departments, program leaders, and executives can all use. These dashboards provide context and a benchmark around program performance, says Baker.

“This is a really concise way for us to be able to visualize all of these sorts of things, and it’s a nice way for us to share this with people who don’t have R programming abilities,” Baker says.

 

API Usage Brings Big Benefits

Taking advantage of SODA allows Baker and his team to create dashboards with real-time updates. It also provides a single, accurate source of truth for data. That, says Baker, is essential for sharing insights with leadership.

Plus, for the team of analysts, the dashboard-creation process is relatively simple.

“It gives us one more way to visualize all the disparate data that we’ve got spread all over the place,” says Baker.

 

Watch the Conversation

Get details for how Baker creates dashboards in this video from Socrata Connect. Plus, see how L.A. uses open analytics to manage the transition to legal marijuana and how Memphis harnesses dashboards to steer and focus the conversation at a monthly meeting between the city’s mayor and department leaders.

SocrataOpen Data API allows you to programmatically access a wealth of open data resources from governments, non-profits, and NGOs around the world. Interested in learning more? Get in touch.


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