2 min read
Posted on 04.10.15
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 04.10.15
  • Filed under
  • data
  • IT solutions
  • GIS

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once said "there is no better way to improve the lives of billions of people around the world than to improve the way cities work." City government is called upon to deliver vital services despite limited resources. Therefore, it is critical for the expenditure of City resources to be driven primarily by data-supported decisions instead of perfunctorily dividing everything twenty-eight ways.

Taking that into consideration, Mayor Slay directed the City's IT Department (ITSA) to allocate funding in the upcoming budget to find IT solutions that will better connect operating departments to one another. This will mean working with global information system (GIS) software to streamline workflows, moving paper-based divisions into the twenty-first century.

Operating departments will use central database to track their daily work. Right now, the various departments track and maintain their individual data using disparate systems that typically do not communicate with one another. This new GIS tool would allow each department to utilize the same system and seamlessly share and access data geocoded by address.

For example, the police department could check for valid excise or liquor license permits, health code violations, building code violations, valid building permits, Citizen Service complaints, etc. by address. Now, to find all of that data, the police department would need to make an indefinite number of phone calls. The new system would allow that information to be at any departments' finger tips.

Additionally, the City could use this data to find trends. Do neighborhoods experiencing increased crime also suffer from delinquent personal property taxes or building code violations? It would take weeks to evaluate that data now. The new database would provide that information instantaneously.

There is always another pothole to fill, parade to marshal, or City park to mow. There are buildings to inspect, health codes to uphold, and licenses to renew. Getting all of this done, and done well, is time consuming. And, all of this data accumulates quickly.

More simply put: The work of City government never stops. And, it's been "never stopping" for the last 251 years. Simplifying the process of collecting, assessing, and using the masses of information that are collected daily will make St. Louis a smarter, more responsive, and more data-driven city.