Alexa, When Will My Leaves Be Picked Up? Counties Discuss Open Data & Performance Tracking

County and state government representatives join for a round table discussion of open data and performance tracking programs. 

At the MACo Summer Conference Open Government Work Group Round Table, representatives from Cecil, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Queen Anne’s counties and Baltimore City participated in a discussion of county open data and performance tracking programs.

Representatives of Maryland’s Open Data portal, the Maryland Office of Information Technology, and the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement also joined in the conversation, sharing resources that the State may offer counties seeking to dip a toe in the water of this area of growing interest.

Discussion topics included:

  • How county government leaders can use data to shape a narrative that the public can understand through identifying key outcomes and using those outcomes to define data tracking practices.
  • How county governments can be more responsive to the interests of residents, and businesses through their websites and applications.
  • How state resources in the open data portal may be downloaded for use in county performance tracking.

Victoria Lewis, dataMontgomery Project Manager, shared news of a project in Montgomery County to integrate open source information from the County so that it will be picked up by apps, such as Amazon’s Alexa.

We are focused on finding ways that Joe resident may interact with useful data — without being an analyst.” –Victoria Lewis, dataMontgomery Project Manager

The project is still in testing stages, but promises to be a powerful tool for reaching residents seeking information about key county services, such as leaf pick-ups, or emergency information, such as the nearest location of a shelter, whether there is vacancy there, and whether pets are welcome at that shelter. The application may also assist business owners seeking updates on permit and licensing requests.

Sonny Segal, Montgomery County CIO, also joined the Work Group Meeting. Segal is a member of the Maryland Council on Open Data.

As the conversation wrapped up, the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement invited all attendees to join the next meeting of the Maryland Council on Open Data, which will be held on September 21, 2018, 10 am – 12 pm, 100 Community Place Conference Room, 1st Floor, Crownsville, MD 21032. The meeting is open to the public and county participation is encouraged.