Fraud News

The Power of Data Visualization in Cities

Source: Government Technology US

A closer look at how Pittsburgh’s “Burgh’s Eye View” is making a difference in various facets of city government.

City of Pittsburgh

This story was originally published by Data-Smart City Solutions.

Pittsburgh’s Burgh’s Eye View is represented by this adorable little bird looking through a magnifying glass, and is our central one stop shop from the public perspective for our open data.

Almost all of our point-based open data from our regional open data website has been converted into a web map. The slide that we’re looking at now shows you what it looks like in its current form. As I’ll describe going further, this has been a very iterative process for us, but this is sort of a snapshot in time.

What you can see here is we started with a lot of the 311 requests, but we’re actually pulling a variety of public safety data, capital projects, and asset data as well as, of course, the 311 and relevant building information data. On this side is a list of all the different sorts of points that we’re pulling directly from open data onto the Burgh’s Eye View application.

For us this has been a very sort of customer- and client-based project where, as I’ll describe in a minute, we started building something like this for the police, but have actually built it out for a variety of other communities. And so the user experience has been very important to us and we have focused on mobile first for the way that we designed the interactive map. While it works on the desktop for doing heavy analysis, it’s also really easy to use on a phone or tablet for more operational work. And we have a large number of our departments who are now using different aspects of it in their work, mostly in the field on those mobile applications.

Toward that end, in this picture I have my team, a portion of the folks who built this application, along with Mayor Peduto in the middle here. What you see along the sides are some of the many versions of the bird, which have evolved over the last 18 months to two years. The original bird is just the bird with the magnifying glass. But over the last 18 months, as we have designed these for specific departments and offices, we have built each a version of the bird with a different hat or wig, in the case of the barrister’s wig on the city council bird.

When we pitched this webinar, we talked a good bit about platform and I think that Tom, Lillian, and I today each represent projects that have a lot of similarities, but also a lot of operational and application development differences. A big one of those is that we’re each on different platforms.

Our application is built entirely in R Studio. And this is a list of the packages that our team has used to develop this.

I include this to just let folks know that if you have any sort of experience with R or R Studio, it has been a fabulous tool for us. For us it also really represents what I consider to be a big, big change in the way government technology functions. In that, instead of having us build really specific bespoke applications for each of our departments, we’ve been able to be iterative and user-focused and build up the applications based on our central project that best meet their needs.

So, here’s another picture of my team looking cool.

You can see that we have a lot of public policy degrees here. To fill this, we didn’t necessarily need a lot of deep engineering skills in application development. It’s been…

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