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Jun 14, 2012

SOMERVILLE BECOMES FIRST COMMUNITY IN NEW ENGLAND TO HOST DATA ON CLOUD-BASED SOCRATA PORTAL

City Data to be Posted on Innovative “OpenData” Cloud-Based Service to Provide Easier Access for Residents, Including 311, DPW Stats and More

SOMERVILLE - Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone today announced that the City of Somerville has partnered with Socrata, Inc to use the Seattle-based company's hosted OpenData service to provide direct public access to large amounts of municipal data covering a variety of departments.   With the cloud-based service, the City of Somerville will be able to share data collected through its 311 constituent service system directly with the general public in an interactive format.  When the new data portal site goes live sometime in July, the web address will be data.somervillema.gov.  Although Socrata supplies similar services to a number of communities across the nation, including Seattle, Chicago, New York, New Orleans and Baltimore, Somerville is the first city in New England to adopt the OpenData application.

The OpenData initiative is the latest in a series of City steps to provide information online.  In 2006, Somerville became the first city in the nation to offer a combined 311-CitiStat-mass notification constituent communications and work order tracking system.  The City's ResiStat program, which provides neighborhood-based data summaries for public meetings and discussions, was introduced in 2007.  The City's somervillema.gov website has earned Common Cause's E-Government Award for five consecutive years.

"Somerville has continually been at the forefront of innovative government management and transparency, and we're excited to roll out this latest data tracking tool to bring real time information to residents," said Mayor Curtatone.  "As part of our ACE Initiative - Accurate, Courteous, and Easy customer service - our goal is to provide residents with the best possible experience with all of our City departments, and through this OpenData portal offered by Socrata, we'll be able to offer additional services and follow up to our constituents, further ensuring that all needs are met and all concerns adequately answered."

"Since its inception in 2006, the focus of 311 has always been to provide excellent customer service to our residents, and to make access to City Hall as easy as possible," said Director of Constituent Services, Steve Craig.  "We are excited about this new partnership with Socrata, which will further our mission to make this kind of information available to the public in real-time and provide another way for us to engage residents. We look forward to seeing what new and innovative ideas our constituents come up with once they are able to dive in and review the data for themselves."

The initial dataset will be posted n July, with additional information posting to the site in subsequent months.  Data available on the portal will include (but not be limited to): 

 

  • 311 work orders and related data;

  • Geospatial and mapping data;

  • Public safety data: Moving vehicle violations, crime stats by neighborhood, parking violations;

  • Health and ISD information;

  • Budget and government expenditures

 

Through the portal, community members will be able to track and map work orders and other important information by neighborhoods, streets, or citywide, in an interactive and user-friendly format.  OpenData will utilize data tracked through Intelligov, the City's current work order management vendor through 311, as well as data analyzed by SomerStat, 311, and other City departments.  Most data will be available in real time - the public will see it at the same time as city managers.

"In the last year, we have updated our City's websites, including the main City webpage, Traffic & Parking, and others, as well as begun to post "ACE Scorecards," identifying exactly how our City departments measure up to work order management expectations.  With Socrata, we will offer a more in-depth look into City data, allowing residents to hold us even more accountable for work orders and follow-up," Mayor Curtatone said.

 

 About Socrata

Socrata is the leading developer and provider of Open Data cloud services, a category of Web 2.0 solutions that enable public sector organizations to dramatically improve citizen access to information and online services, while reducing costs.

The Socrata Open Data PlatformTM optimizes the management and speeds up the dissemination of data-driven interactive content to citizen, professional and internal government audiences, through multiple interfaces: Web, social, mobile, API, apps, voice, SMS. Information assets include tabular data, geospatial data, unstructured content and real-time data from government transactional systems of record.

 

Socrata customers include cities such as Seattle, Edmonton, Chicago and New York City; states such as Oregon, Illinois and Oklahoma; and federal agencies such as Medicare, SAMHSA and GSA (Data.gov). Socrata is a private company, based in Seattle, Washington, with venture financing from Frazier Technology Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures. To learn more about Socrata, visit www.socrata.com.