Mesa Hopes New Data Portal Will Tell Story Beyond The Numbers

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 5:05am

The city of Mesa makes more than 100 data sets, on everything from police activity to tax revenue, open to the public.

City Council approved a contract Monday for Socrata, a new online platform to host the city’s information. Mesa established its first open data portal in 2016 and the website includes 130 data sets.

“We were looking for a platform that would allow us to actually tell the story and not just talk about numbers,” said Mesa Budget Director Candace Cannistraro.

For example, if you go online now, you can click into Mesa’s financials and see seven tables of tax revenue. To the untrained eye, it could be confusing.

Cannistraro says the new program will allow the city to post explanations for data online and offer multiple presentations of information such as expenditures.

“It’s not just holding the data for us as a portal, it’s allowing us to do analysis,” Cannistraro said.

The Police Department in Austin, Texas, has used Socrata to track slowing response times to emergency calls due in part to increased vacancies on the force.

The goal is to have the new system online by April.

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