Silicon Valley Promotes More Government Data Use

May 25, 2018 9:16 am PST | Data as a Service

As a host for some of the hottest technology companies in the world — including Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, and Oracle — the County of Santa Clara, California, hosts significant resources and wealth. And now, Santa Clara is improving access to data on its population and initiatives for residents, media, and staff.


How Hot Is Santa Clara County’s Economy?

In terms of economic health, Santa Clara County has some chart-topping statistics. It is California’s sixth most populous county, with a population of nearly two million and the county seat, San Jose, is the 10th most populous city in the United States.

Home to Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County has the third highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zurich, Switzerland, and Oslo, Norway), according to the Brookings Institution. This concentration of wealth makes it the most affluent county on the West Coast of the U.S. and one of the most affluent places in America.


Santa Clara Portal


Goals for Santa Clara County’s Portal

The new site, County of Santa Clara Open Data Portal, offers data to visitors about the economy, education, the environment, public safety, transportation, health and human services, housing, and government. The site also has some featured topics stories built in Socrata Perspectives, like its Food Safety Program, with stats on types of establishments inspected and most common reasons for permit suspensions. They’re also sharing a table of their success with a pretrail release program for people awaiting court appearances. 


Pretrial Success Rate


All data hosted on the portal is API accessible and available to visualize and download, as well. The team has worked hard on setting up the automated movement of data to the portal internally, to increase efficiencies and save staff time. They also invested in establishing metadata standards so visitors can easily search the site to find data that interests them most.

Some goals for the team at the County of Santa Clara include:

  • Provide internal staff the ability to update and publish open data in a single repository, allowing for internal efficiencies and improving access to information across departments.
    Measurement: Track number of departments publishing data over time
  • Develop and maintain standard operating procedures for creating and publishing datasets in a timely and consistent manner. 
    Measurement: Track the overall amount of time staff spends delivering information requested by internal and external customers
  • Increase transparency throughout the community by describing how the County is advancing county-wide goals, community indicators, department performance measures, and fiscal responsibility. 
    Measurement: Track the continued growth in the number of datasets and stories maintained on the open data portal.

Restaurant Permit Suspension Chart in Santa Clara County


Future Goals for the County

In the future, the County of Santa Clara open data team hopes to include a Chief Data Officer who can help grow and maintain the site and related programs. And, more and more data will be added to this centralized location by staff, improving efficiencies in all areas.

Are you interested in publishing your organization’s data in centralized, easily accessible place? Contact Socrata. We’d love to hear about your ideas and imagine what’s possible for you.

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