Riverside County’s Millions of Data Points Support Finance and Environmental Goals

Riverside County, California’s Chief Data Officer Tom Mullen loves the momentum of data collection, analysis, and sharing happening both with citizens and with staff at the county.

"We've got over 20 million rows of financial transactional data down to the individual transaction so you can see where we spent the dollar. You can see the trends of expenditures by category or by department or by type,” says Mullen.

Mullen really appreciates how Socrata products intake and display finance data. “I think for financial data transparency [Socrata] is an outstanding tool. The ability to drill down as a constituent, to be able to walk through data at your pace to the level of detail you are interested in finding is fantastic. Also, the ability to search by a vendor is great."

And, his vision for financial data is bigger than that, “Our next step is to match that data with the operational data so you can begin to tie together the outcomes with the expenditures, and likely the revenues. ‘Where does the money come from?’"

Riverside County is the third largest county in the nation. "As a large county, we have a very diverse set of services, from social services to criminal, law, justice with a district attorney and a public defender, to running a large hospital and multiple clinics to a large transportation network.”

The large size of the county also influences the types and amount of open land the county manages. “The county has very biodiverse land, with over 140 endangered species and related habitats, say Mullen. And, he sees the growing population and the endangered species needing to be kept in balance.

“How we grow the community really ties back to the data. Several years ago we had launched a multi-species habitat plan wrapped around a transportation plan wrapped around a general plan amendment and that was all about how do we grow the community in an open fashion... all of that is based on geospatial open data."

Mullen is also excited that there are businesses interested in the data and using it to grow.

“One of our largest constituencies for data consumption across our platform, whether it is spatial or non-spatial, is the real estate industry. Whenever we have a hiccup in our data streams, they are generally the first to let us know that something is down or something is broken. They run their business on the county’s data. From that, it’s been a good partnership to hear what they need to drive their business,” says Mullen.

Hear more about Mullen and Riverside’s data story by watching the video.