New Orleans and Detroit Grow Public Data

September 8, 2016 12:00 pm PST | Data News Roundup

Socrata’s CEO and Founder, Kevin Merritt, speaks to Government Technology about the pressing need for police departments to get data online in an easily sharable format, to repair the fractured relationship between police departments and communities. Access to open data is growing in Detroit, New Orleans launches two open data sites, and the White House and Department of Transportation hope the public will engage with a recently released traffic dataset to help prevent fatal crashes. Read more in this week’s Open Data Download:

New Orleans launches 2 open data websites, including 311 tracker

“Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday (Sept. 1) signed an executive order aimed at making city government more transparent by making data the city collects “free and open to the public,” his office said….Along with the executive order, the city launched two tools to help underscore the type of data that will be available as the new policy is carried out. Two searchable data systems [ and] were launched Thursday.” Read more from

Rethinking Open data: How access to public data is growing in Detroit

“It’s a bright new day for the collection, cataloging, and distribution of public data in Detroit….Last year, the city of Detroit launched its Open Data Portal, which collects a variety of public city data ranging from traffic signal locations to crime reports. Joel Howrani Heeres, director of open data and analysis at the city’s department of innovation and technology, says the portal’s goal is to eliminate the need for citizens to do extra work to get the data they need.” Read more from Model D.

Massachusetts Comptroller Releases Transparency Plan

“Massachusetts Comptroller Tom Shack has released a new transparency plan that he says will enhance the budget and spending information available to the public. The key part of the Comptroller’s initiative is a new online website called “CTHRU” which will be available to the public on September 14…. Socrata will be providing the technology and has worked with state officials to institute lean development with the CTHRU project. CTHRU represents the first time a government entity within the Commonwealth has developed in a lean environment. By going lean, the Comptroller’s office and Socrata were able to stand up the new portal in seven months.” Read more from CivSource.

White House, Transportation Dept. want help using open data to prevent traffic crashes

“The Transportation Department is looking for public input on how to better interpret and use data on fatal crashes after 2015 data revealed a startling spike of 7.2 percent more deaths in traffic accidents that year. Looking for new solutions that could prevent more deaths on the roads, the department released three months earlier than usual the 2015 open dataset about each fatal crash. With it, the department and the White House announced a call to action for people to use the data set as a jumping off point for a dialogue on how to prevent crashes, as well as understand what might be causing the spike.” Read more from State Scoop.

Justice: Can Data-Driven Approaches Remove Politics and Bias from Policing?

“Crime is a societal problem as old as sin itself, but America’s treatment of the issue has proven so careless that some leaders are now willing to try different approaches. Police departments are using data platforms like Socrata for Public Safety to hold officers accountable and keep the public informed of operations. And through programs like the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, states are using data to help case workers, judges and lawmakers make decisions that reduce crime instead of build more prisons. Modern technology is generating data that allows criminal justice to add shades of gray to what has long been viewed as a black and white issue.” Read more from GovTech.

Biggest Benefit of Going Paperless? Saving on Salaries

“Government agencies have been talking about going digital for decades, but most don’t actually know how much paper they’re using, an IDC report concludes. IDC analysts found that most federal agency employees interviewed didn’t know the quantity of the paper, nor the cost of maintaining paper-based processes. Their report encourages agencies to think about the long-term return on investment on going digital, even if the cost of software licenses initially bump up administrative costs.” Read more from Nextgov.

2016 Best of the Web Winners Demonstrate Technological Innovation, Service Delivery Improvements

“The leaders who oversaw development of this year’s best government websites shared in common a simple vision of user-centric content, a desire to iterate and collaborate more quickly than in years past, and to watch the market for the latest trends and standards. Making a successful website is as easy as asking yourself what the user might need, explained Rob Stradling, director of the Office of Information Technology in Baltimore County, Md.” Read more from Govtech.

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