City's online tool presents big data in real time

Tool presents big data in real time


Plano residents can now find out how fast 911 calls are answered and other performance statistics with a click of a button through Plano’s new performance portal.


The portal, which can be accessed by visiting www.dashboard.plano.gov, provides real-time information about the city and its quality of services.Plano is the first city in North Texas to provide such an in-depth and transparent database, city of Plano spokesperson Steve Stoler said.


“In recent surveys, Plano citizens expressed their desire to ‘dive deeper’ into Plano’s performance,” Stoler said. “P3 gives them an exciting, new form of ‘big data,’ which meets Plano’s vital goal of providing citizens open access to their city government.”


The Plano Performance Portal, or P3, went live Aug. 10 and offers residents an easy and understandable way to see how the city is working for them, he said. City management personnel are also benefiting from its ability to serve as a tracking tool and reference guide when measuring a department’s overall success.


In late 2014, the city of Plano contracted with Seattle-based cloud software company Socrata to develop the site using information provided by a cross-departmental team of city management personnel, Assistant City Manager Mark Israelson said.


The dashboard will be managed by a smaller cross-departmental team.


“We have departments present reports … that provide a citywide view of [our] operations and services,” Israelson said. “We wanted to design something that seems appealing to folks. We focused on making sure that it was a quality design but the content is also just as critical [so that] everybody has the information they need about those city services.”


One of the key elements residents and businesses are encouraged to use is a feedback tool intended to create another channel for dialogue with city leaders, he said.


“We hope this site will be fully embraced by our citizens. We really want them to use this site,” Israelson said. “This is designed to give them the information they need. For something of this magnitude, it was important that we get it right.”


Data includes information on police, fire, solid waste, building inspections, public safety communications and marketing and community engagement departments. Each category shows which areas within the department meet or exceed their goals, which ones are near their respective targets and which ones need improvement.


The next phase of the portal will add finance, health, public works, planning, animal services and human resources departments.


By the end of the year, all departments will have performance information displayed through the portal, Stoler said, and data will continue to be updated on a  monthly basis.

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