New District of Columbia Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak is bringing initiatives to his new role – and lots of initiatives for D.C.
Included in his database of plans is the recently launched TrackDC program. TrackDC functions as a real-time operational dashboard for every agency in the city.
D.C. is not publishing more information than usual, the presentation is being refined. Citizens are now able to access statistics and other notable facts for all agencies, all in one place. Call it Sivak’s own take on the Open Government Initiative.
“While I obviously support those initiatives, and I’m a big fan of openness and transparency and getting all the information out there, I think the community of people that can leverage that data is somewhat limited to a certain extent,” said Sivak. “So I want to provide the visualizations, I want to provide the analysis that actually lets people ask some of those questions and say ‘Hey, wait a minute, what’s going on here?’ A data set of lots of numbers and tables and columns don’t necessarily help the average citizen make those in depth analyses.”
TrackDC isn’t the only operation now off the ground making things easier for Washington residents. The site snowmap.dc.gov, provides residents with an animation indicating where snowplows have been and where they are going next.
“Residents can actually track when their neighborhood is going to be, or was, plowed. We’re also working right now on some internal efforts to take all the service requests that come in to the call center about snow and about fallen trees and map those. Agencies that are responsible for clearing the snow and the trees can then have a visual representation of where the big problem areas are in the city right now and are able to prioritize their attack.”
Sivak is tackling another issue, too – wasteful spending. By executing a digital signature system, he feels the city could be saving cash.
“One of the things that blows my mind a little bit is that there’s a lot of paper that gets passed around right now and it doesn’t need to be. There are some straightforward systems that we can put in place that allow digital signatures to be used robustly for documents that require them. We’re hoping to put something like that in place in the relatively near future.”
“That should actually save quite a bit of time and money on behalf of the citizens of the city,” he said. “There’s a whole host of stuff, I could keep going.”