HARTFORD — In an effort to make public information easier to access, the city has launched an interactive website that allows people to view and download crime, finance, housing and public health data from a number of city departments.
The website, data.hartford.gov, has more than 80 data sets, including a list of applications to the planning department, building permits, housing code violations, fires, crimes, the grand list and more.
It allows users to download files, create maps and charts, and build custom tables.
Hartford is the first municipality in the state to offer an open data portal, city officials said.
"Hartford is developing at a faster pace than it has in years," said Mayor Pedro Segarra. "To keep up with that growth, we need to come up with ways to work faster, smoother and more efficiently."
"We want to be an open and transparent government," the mayor said at an event launching the website Thursday night.
"Too much time is spent sending emails back and forth trying to gather information," said Sabina Sitaru, the city's chief information officer. "As methods of communication change, we need to modify the way we deliver information … Hartford is embarking on the big data journey that includes apps, analytical systems and more. The goal is to be a model for cities and towns in the state."
An advisory panel composed of members of the Hartford business and civic community collaborated with city officials as they decided which data sets to make available first. The goal was to post 20 in the first six months.
"The City of Hartford has taken an impressive step forward by becoming the first municipality in Connecticut to publicly share data that encourages transparency and two-way dialogue," said Jack Dougherty, associate professor of education at Trinity College and a member of the advisory panel. "Everyone benefits when local governments make information easily accessible."
"The open data portal is one step towards putting data back in the hands of the public," said Scott Gaul, project director at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and a member of the panel.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun