City Website Empowers Citizens and Businesses with Open Data and Apps
Long Beach, California, just launched a comprehensive data hub called DataLB, which makes the city’s data available to the public online. Using Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) platform, DataLB enables citizens, businesses, and academic institutions to use civic data to improve decision-making.
Since 2014, Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia has been committed to implementing Esri technology within the city to display data in maps and make information easily discoverable and shareable between departments over the web. DataLB extends these capabilities to the public with an easily accessible website that connects people with the civic initiatives that benefit them. For instance, in the case of Measure A, which invested $150 million in Long Beach infrastructure, parks, and public safety, the hub has made all the data on the initiative available via a public story map. This visual tool includes interactive maps showing where funds will be used for specific improvements. And BizMap, a new application, allows the public to look up and export business license information in Long Beach’s business improvement districts and areas.
“DataLB will make huge amounts of city data accessible to the public, staff, and anyone who is interested in learning about or improving our community,” said Garcia. “Long Beach is doing more than just making data public. We are actually making it easy for people to see data in maps and use the site and apps to track public works, open new businesses, and find other resources.”
As a public engagement tool, DataLB reveals city data that was previously only accessible to internal staff. The hub also contains apps specifically designed to enable citizen engagement. For instance, Long Beach is working on an initiative to gather data using Esri’s Survey123 for ArcGIS that may be used in a future information product in order for the hub to visualize the impact of homelessness in Long Beach. This will help public safety and welfare agencies better allocate resources.
“Anyone looking to use and benefit from the open data on a government portal needs one place where these resources are accessible and organized,” said Christopher Thomas, Esri director of government markets. “DataLB provides an easy-to-navigate resource where organizations and local software developers can access data at no cost, download it, and share insight with the community or build new applications that serve specific users. Approximately 90 datasets will be launched initially, including business, boundaries, health, infrastructure, planning, recreation and parks, safety, schools, and transportation data. Because this information is constantly updated, people will now be better informed about the decisions they make, whether determining the site of a new coffee shop or finding out how to effectively deploy volunteer personnel.”
The hub model serves as a launching point for cities looking to become smart communities. Citizens who have greater access to data and online tools for public collaboration are better equipped to prosper and work together on initiatives to improve their cities.
Learn more about smart communities and creating a hub. Visit esri.com/industries/government/smart-communities/be-a-hub.