In recent years, it has become increasingly important for New York City (NYC) government decision makers and their teams to rapidly make sense of, and act on, the data being generated across agencies and by its citizens. Hence the need for the mayor’s office’s new “dashboard”, powered by CARTO, a leading technology in location intelligence and data mapping. Created in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s office, the dashboard is tailored to tackle the increasingly complex data needs of modern government.

The dashboard enables the city to add, update and synchronize social, political, human development, environmental and economic indicators in an easy and efficient manner. It displays key city indicators from a wide range of data sources such as up-to-date crime statistics, service provision performance, health figures, infrastructure project updates, public works, 311 data, environmental indicators, housing and homelessness statistics, and more. The dashboard allows for the easy monitoring of changes to these indicators across both spatial and temporal dimensions.

The Need

 

 

The NYC Data Dashboard is capable of integrating a lot of information, so the effort needed support from groups capable of thinking big in order to develop, deploy and support it. A task Xentity was up for. Xentity provided for the following tasks and technical solutions to further develop the NYC Data Dashboard: A repository that visually represented quantitative metrics about the city at different levels of detail and facilitate learning, analysis and decision making to actors involved or interested in them.

Also, implementation of new functionality to make the app multi-tenant. New functionalities were added to the front end, back end and ingestion apps in order to have the capacity to serve different versions containing different sets of indicators. All modifications were done on the same codebase, meaning that any enhancements done were available to all the sites. The ultimate goal, at the time, was for the NYC Mayor’s Office to have a clearer understanding of the city day to day, through the eyes of city data.

A Need For Attentive Met With Accessible Data

Large cities are complex population centers, requiring careful management informed by real insight. NYC is no exception in that regard. Due to its size and population, a lot goes into proper city management. As such, policymakers require constant updates on current data trends (education, crime, etc.). So, it is important to have a system that allows policymakers like the mayor to remain constantly up to date and in the know about city data. The mayor must remain vigilant and informed by making use of cutting edge tools that help decision makers understand and act on situations as they transpire. But large cities are so complex and massive in scale that keeping track of everything is extremely difficult.

The NYC Data Dashboard solves this issue through taking a “live pulse” of the city. This makes it easy to grasp the thematic, temporal and spatial variations in the city’s datasets. In doing so, this allows for active understanding and rapid decision-making. First, the dashboard pulled from a wide variety of agencies. This data included indicator data for everything from the New York City Housing Authority, to the NYPD, to the Department of Housing and Preservation and many others.

Also…

In addition to the near real-time insight presented, the dashboard’s interface enables officials to take a deeper look into data trends. Subsequently, they would progress toward specific agency goals. Officials can also compare the current state of the city across various time intervals. This includes trends this year. Also, an understanding of how the current state of the city compared to last year. Furthermore, quick identification short-term changes by day, week or month. This mayoral dashboard allows for easily discoverable patterns and trends. Then they act appropriately on said patterns and trends.

Throughout the development of this dashboard, Xentity provided Amazon Web Services Hosting and Maintenance for CartoDB software solution. This included API, data storage, geocoding, application hosting and software releases and twitter map service integration. They upgraded the cloud-hosted CartoDB on the enterprise schedule for patch support. Xentity also supported the operations of custom multi-screen (desktop, tablet, phone, etc.) dashboard solutions for the Mayor’s office. This provided  up to date key city agency performance indicators. The solution hosting and deployment architecture was coordinated with the City IT Security standards and requirements for all components (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Dropbox, JSON, CartoDB, PostGIS, and Drupal). Xentity’s efforts, as mentioned above, helped develop, deploy, and maintain this dashboard for NYC.

Responding To Current Trends

The NYC dashboard has provided tremendous opportunity for growth in modern government. Through location intelligence, governments like NYC’s city government, can become more intuitive policy makers. They do this by using the data from location intelligence to keep up with data trends, along with agency data.

From anywhere, city hall officials now understand the city numerically, in charts, and in dynamic interactive maps. Versatility in data presentation allowed for the visual language of the dashboard. It quickly conveyed clear insight to decision makers and City Hall employees. Furthermore, city hall officials now have quicker response time. This comes from connections over the dashboard, and the dashboard’s easy access to data.

What This Provides

The insight provided by this data can potentially save NYC time and money in decision-making based on current trends. Citizens of New York benefited from these improvements. This is because the city identifies and acts on important situations in specific parts of the city as they happen. Basically, the dashboard has created a government more responsive to the needs of the people. Xentity is proud to have helped formulate the building blocks for the next generation of modern governance. We also look forward to seeing how cities shape their urban futures in the future.