These are the performance measures adopted by the International Organization for Standardization for cities to follow in collecting data. The 46 performance standards are not mandatory but will set a uniform basis by which citizens and granting agencies can evaluate the performance of city government. From my standpoint however, this is not enough. I would like to see discussion of broader standards for the regions in which cities function.
Measuring and comparing the performance of cities has always been difficult. Now a new standard comprising 46 data points established by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization has been devised and will set the framework for measuring the performance of cities worldwide in such critical areas as the availability of clean water, public transportation and debt ratios and average life expectancy.
If cities worldwide share many patterns of behavior regardless of location or economic model then what about other local or regional government entities like counties, departments or provinces? Establishing standards for one governing entity is important but it is equally important to realize that cities are embedded in a region and that region may have a greater impact on the lives of urban dwellers than the cities themselves.
Making cities smarter with the use of sensors to monitor everything from traffic to storm water events and bringing all this data together in one place for analysis. As cities become larger and more complex, efficiency in the management of resources is vital. Are sensors and big data the answer? How well and accurately do they measure? What are the downsides in terms of citizen loss of privacy and control over their lives? These are questions that all local governments are going to have to ask in the next few years as the internet of things takes over.
Chicago pioneers the use of analytics for municipal big data sets. d its The new predictive analytics initiative,is called the SmartData Project, and is designed to provide the city with data-driven predictions and insights for its complex of departments and services. The platform is connected to WindyGrid, a hub housing information from every department in real time and gathering about 7 million rows of data per day. Interestingly enough, The SmartData Project is open source and therefore available to other government entities as a template for their own analytics projects.
Data Analytics comes to Minneapolis in the shape of a collaboration between the city and IBM. The collaboration which is called the Minneapolis Intelligent Operations Platform, will provide a platform capable of integrating data from different departments for near-real time analysis.
In developing this project, Minneapolis joins cities like Chicago in recognizing the critical importance of analytics to make sense of and effectively utilize the data that city government is constantly accumulating.
The Faculty Summer Institute held each May at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois is an invitation only event that focuses on technology in higher education. My session, “Using Web Analytics to Measure Visitor Engagement With Website Content”, was designed to demonstrate the way in which analytics could be used to evaluate the engagement level of site visitors to websites designed to win over supporters or adherents (political or religious). The session was well received with several members of the U of I Political Science Department in attendance. This session was part of a larger project using analytics to analyze political campaigns but the use of analytical packages like Google Analytics or the browser extension Alexa can also prove helpful to businesses or governments wishing to compare the engagement of visitors to their websites with the levels of engagement achieved by the websites of competitors.
There is progress in making life more convenient for the residents of Cullman County, Ala. Next month the Revenue Commissioner’s Office plans to roll out a new free mobile app that will allow residents to renew their vehicle tags from their smartphones. In order to renew the vehicle tags for any and all their vehicles, residents can enter their driver license number to search all vehicles registered to them and after verifying their drivers license number and insurance the data is sent to the county tag office for verification. The tag office then verifies the information, calculates the renewal fee and the new tags are sent out by mail to arrive in a few days.
In developing this app, the county joins a growing national movement among counties to make it easier for residents to pay taxes and fees electronically instead of having to use the mails or trek into county offices.
Broadband as a utility? A regional approach to broadband? These are policies favored by the program manager for Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology at a broadband summit in Fredericksburg organized by the University of Mary Washington. Pointing out that spreading broadband to less populated areas in the region would enable residents to earn their livelihoods from starting small online business thereby growing the regional economy and reducing the pressure on the regional transportation network, program manager Sadie Terry told representatives of local businesses that broadband should be treated like a utility and should be spread into every corner of the region.
Municipal governments interested in accumulating data from infrastructure (like parking meters or video monitors) may encounter difficulties in utilizing or granting access to the data because of using different vendors. This start-up hopes to simplify things by offering an open source software package that permits the customer to control a network of sensors and use the data in whatever way seems most beneficial. Is your city/county getting ready for the Internet of Things?
Chicago’s predictive analytics initiative, the SmartData Project, that is designed to serve the city with data-driven predictions and insights to make its departments and services work more efficiently and effectively. The platform is connected to ahub housing information from every department in real time and gathering about 7 million rows of data per day. The SmartData Project — through its publicly available open-source build — is meant to be a template for cities to craft predictive analytics systems of their own. Could your city/county benefit from using the SmartData template to make services more effective and user friendly?