Socrata Powers Award-winning Open Data Programs

September 2, 2011 12:27 am PST | Data as a Service, Effective Governing

City of Seattle and State of Oregon Win the 2011 Digital Government Achievement Awards

The Digital Government Achievement Awards (DGAA) recognize outstanding agency and department websites and applications. This year, the State of Oregon won in the Government-to-citizen State and Federal government category, for, the state’s Socrata-powered Open Data site. Seattle won in the Government-to-citizen City government category, for, one of the nation’s first Open Data sites running on the Socrata platform. (9-20-2011 Update: See press release announcing the awards)

Their win is not a coincidence. Both Oregon and Seattle are leading the nation in the application of Open Data. Both have incredible teams (A shout out to Wally, Gene, Sean and Mindy in Oregon and Neil, Ben, Bruce and Jeff in Seattle), led by passionate champions in Bill Schrier, Seattle’s CTO, and Dugan Petty, Oregon’s State CIO.

They believe that Open Data is a transformational program that helps governments address four important challenges in a meaningful way:

1) Transparency and accountability

Check out Oregon’s checkbook level expenditure data, or Seattle’s detailed 2011-2012 budget as two of many other concrete examples of an open book that any citizen can scrutinize.

2) Citizen participation and engagement

Both enable and welcome social discourse on their sites. Oregon’s community dataset nomination has been called the “new 21st century FOIA system,” while Seattle enables commenting and live feedback not only on its datasite but also on its main city portal!

3) Stimulating economic activity through innovation

Seattle was the first city in the country to publish realtime fire and police data. They also publish current construction permit data, building permits and land use permits. Oregon publishes monthly new business registrations in the state (data that used to be available for purchase only) and maintains a current trademark public database using Socrata.

4) Driving efficiencies in information and service delivery

Oregon and Seattle are finding innovative ways to reduce the costs of delivering services to citizens using the Socrata Open Data Platform. What used to require custom development is now a configuration any non-technical information worker can perform. City and state employees are empowered to publish information and create a friendly interactive experiences for their constituents, without ever writing a single line of code, as with Oregon’s Marine Board data. By embracing the Socrata cloud, these customers are also eliminating hardware, infrastructure and freeing up scarce IT resources.

No, winning these awards was definitely  not a coincidence. Oregon and Seattle are two great examples of what governments can do, if they have the political will, the vision and the tools to transform their data, empower their employees and start changing their citizens’ experience in a fundamental way. With new customers like Chicago, State of Oklahoma, New Orleans, San Francisco and New York City who share the same vision, these may not be the last awards Socrata customers will win.

Note: Oregon also won in the Government-to-business category for Oregon ePermitting, while Seattle won the the Best of Web Award, as the top city government web portal in the country. This is Seattle’s third such win in 11 years.

Update (9-20-2011): This is a photo of the Seattle team accepting the award. From left to right: Bill Schrier, Carlotta Kelly, Neil Berry, Ben Andrews, Jeff Beckstrom.

Seattle accepts the DGAA award

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