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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Somerville Taking Steps Towards More Transparency

Somerville has launched a data portal that reveals operational details from 311, Traffic and Parking, Inspectional Services, budget, and 2011 Wellness survey. This joins the already-implemented meeting portal that details Board of Aldermen and School Committee meetings, minutes and videos.
Check out the site here and let me know what you think!
Press Release...
SOMERVILLE - Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone today unveiled New England's first Socrata-powered Open Data Portal, adding Somerville to a select group of trail-blazing Open Data innovators committed to delivering municipal data to any interested resident. Located at, the new web-based portal includes robust self-service access to the city's 311 call center data, improved information delivery infrastructure through data-rich tables and charting features and enhanced reporting capabilities. The success of the initiative will be highlighted during an hour-long webinar presented by Somerville representatives on September 20th, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST. You can register for the webinar here or at
The new Open Data Portal leverages the latest data experience technologies from Socrata to build upon Mayor Curtatone's commitment to transparency in city government.
"As we continue our efforts to provide the best possible customer service, including transparent government management practices, we've been fortunate to find a innovative partner like Socrata." said Mayor Curtatone. "This partnership will give residents and community members much deeper access to City data and work order tracking systems -and will deliver that access on a more consistent basis. It's a great new way for residents to understand the way their government works, and to hold us accountable to our goal of making Somerville a great place to live, work, play and raise a family."
The initial launch of includes but, is not limited to:
  • Operational data from the city's 311 call center, which includes data sets from:
  • Department of Public Works
  • Traffic & Parking
  • Inspectional Services
  •  Results of the 2011 Wellbeing Survey, visualized and analyzed by ward
  • The City Operating Budgets for Fiscal Years 2010 - 2013
  • Results of the latest ACE (Accurate Courteous Easy) Service Scorecard, visualized by department
The City of Somerville and Socrata will participate in an hour-long webinar on September 20th, 2012 at 11am EDT that will detail how a city of 78,000 residents has been able to deliver a comparable Open Data experience to that of New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.
"The City of Somerville is one of the nation's first cities to leverage population-based pricing from Socrata," said Kevin Merritt, CEO, Socrata. "We're excited to be working with Somerville to customize our product in ways that will make it more useful and attractive to small and mid-sized communities"
About Socrata
Socrata is the leading developer and provider of Open Data cloud services, a category of Web 2.0 solutions that enable public sector organizations to dramatically improve citizen access to information and online services, while reducing costs.
The Socrata Data Experience CloudTM optimizes the management and speeds up the dissemination of data-driven interactive content to citizen, professional and internal government audiences, through multiple interfaces: Web, social, mobile, API, apps, voice, SMS. Information assets include tabular data, geospatial data, unstructured content and real-time data from government transactional systems of record.
Socrata customers include cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City; states such as Oregon, Illinois and Oklahoma, and federal agencies such as Medicare, SAMHSA and GSA ( Socrata is a private company, based in Seattle, Washington, with venture financing from Frazier Technology Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures. To learn more about Socrata, visit


Anonymous said...

Somerville transparency????

While there may be a semblance of enhanced transparency satisfying citizens interest in more transparency....however,there never will be 100% transparency in our city because of unofficial "meetings" conducted and attended by a SELECTED number, two or more, city officials. Could be from the Mayor on down to other city elected/appointed persons; and/or any/all other persons not elected, nor appointed, as the case may be.

Settings being backrooms, out of town restaurants, off the clock city offices etc., whatever venue preferred by the parties involved.

So long as no minutes are kept for the public record; and no media people invited.

Someone tell me the above doesn't happen....and I will show you a person who still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

Anonymous said...

Ever wonder how so many Somerville elected pols, and their appointees, relatives and friends get on the city payroll?

Lots currently going on in regard to the state level Probation Department hiring relatives and friends of the department head.