Playing with Data: Q&A with Ashley Massey of the Oregon State Marine Board
By Alida Moore
Ashley Massey, public information officer for the Oregon State Marine Board, loves open data. She describes creating visualizations from data as “playing,” and when she talks about the State’s open data portal, her excitement is palpable. “It’s fun to take a dataset and to play and see what kind of visual representation I can create,” Massey says. “I’m excited just looking at different icons, looking at ways to communicate our message. With this platform, I can get creative with how we display our data.”
We last spoke with Massey about how Socrata helped her solve a three-year problem in just two hours. “I can’t sing the praises of our open data platform enough,” Massey said then. “It’s completely changed the way we look at doing business.”
We wanted to check in with Massey to see how things have been going and what’s on tap for 2014.
Socrata: How have things been going since we last spoke?
Massey: Humming along! The maps are populating really quickly. I created a video explaining how to get the most out of datasets.
Socrata: Oh, that sounds great! Why did you decide to make a video?
Massey: Mostly, we want to get feedback from our users. Our analytics show that the portal is used often, but we aren’t getting much feedback. We hope that adding this video to the site will encourage users to offer their input so we can collaborate with them even more.
Socrata: In your last interview, you said you hoped to see other natural resource agencies sharing data and resources. Have you seen any movement in this process?
Massey: We’ve gotten some interest. I hosted an open house that was attended by other state agencies, as well as a representative from Socrata. I’ve also created datasets for other agencies and shown them how we can share this technology.
Socrata: What other agencies are interested in what you are doing?
Massey: Our governor, John Kitzhaber, wants agencies to play together and share info. We have the perfect model of how this can work and save time and money. I’ve seen interest from Department of State Lands, Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Public Transit.
Socrata: What are your goals for 2014?
Massey: I’m still always looking for efficiencies for partners and our boaters. We plan to increase our marketing and seek more feedback. And, of course, I want to continue to play! Mostly, I want the data to work for the customers. The platform makes it easy. All you need is the data and I’ll create the map for you.
Socrata: And that’s how you play?
Massey: Exactly. I started playing with mashups. I took all of our different datasets and put them into one. Now I want to move towards a mobile app, a way for boaters to be able to see information. How do we go mobile? That’s a big question for 2014.
I also hope to work with Socrata to create a form for waterway managers so they can update their information in real-time. Ultimately, I’ve always loved this capability. It’s doing what we wanted to. And now it’s time to move forward.