Quick delivery on early projects helps generate buy-in from other departments and stakeholders. “Do it quick, test, and iterate” to show small but tangible results initially, and build the support that will allow you to take on bigger initiatives.
Start with open data
Chances are your city already publishes some data online, so start with what’s already available. Then, the successes of your analytics program can create more momentum for open data within your city.
Use tools that are readily available
You don’t need to invest in lots of expensive and complicated technology to pilot an analytics initiative. For data visualization, O’Brien recommends Tableau Public, a free online tool. For mapping, you can do a lot with the free version of BatchGeo and Google Maps.
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Visualize data through maps
From a marketing and community engagement perspective, maps are an ideal way to get your analytics initiative off the ground and build interest in an a way that’s accessible to a non-technical audience.
Take a page out of NYC’s playbook
One of the first initiatives in New York had to do with matching locations between different datasets, since each agency has a different way to collect and identify data — the buildings department uses the building ID number, the police department uses cartesian coordinates, etc. The locations are relatively easy to match, since they don’t move around and it’s still a single location. Once they had matched locations, the team was able to run analysis that targeted illegally converted apartments — leading to a five-fold return on the time building inspectors spent identifying and inspecting these illegal dwellings. This location-matching approach is replicable in other cities. From there, the possibilities for what you’ll find in that data are greatly amplified.-Christina Rogawski, Local Gov 3.0 Team Member