The city of Gainesville’s initiative to create more transparency within the government took another step forward with the soft launch of statGNV.
StatGNV is a database site that allows the public to view metrics and results of statistics about topics ranging from infrastructure and transportation to community partnerships. It is a result of trying to be as transparent as possible, said Samantha Wolfe, senior analyst of administrative services for the city.
Lila Stewart, senior strategic planner for the city, said the availability of this information has allowed developers to create smartphone applications regarding city parking and other public works.
“We put (the data) out there and it is part of a larger business,” Stewart said.
By having such information available along with other government statistics, people can use the data in a beneficial way. It will allow members of the community to view data such as areas that need improvement and statistics on recent progress; it gives metrics on roadway maintenance, traffic safety enhancement and other infrastructure works.
This database is a result of the government’s 2.0 plan, which established an infrastructure to provide information to citizens under the umbrella of openGNV. The openGNV initiative includes the following components: dataGNV, engageGNV, statGNV and talkGNV.
“We are promoting the openness of our data and really encouraging citizens to be more engaged and more involved,” Wolfe said.
One example of this interaction is the virtual town hall, which allows citizens to talk about topics online through engageGNV.
Similar open data movements have been made in the state of Maryland; Kansas City, Missouri; and Edmonton, Canada. However, Gainesville did not necessarily model its site after those initiatives. The city created its own brand, said Bob Woods, communications and marketing manager for the city.
Work from the past few years and the development of statGNV has been vital in pushing the data into the public eye.
“Gainesville already had a very robust performance measurement program internally,” Wolfe said. “So since 2009, we have worked with the departments as well as the commission to have a performance measurement program as well as a strategic plan.”
Socrata Inc., the company that powers statGNV, helped make the previously developed program more dynamic.
The city plans on having the statGNV initiative fully launched for public use by March 2015, Wolfe said.