The State of Alaska has launched two new resources! Alaskans are now able to use the new Open Data Portal and Geoportal. These internet sites will make the state’s vast collection of data and geographic information easier for the public to locate and use. These one-stop shops for access to government information will reduce time spent surfing through department websites or filling public records requests. It will also create a platform for innovation, collaboration, trust, and accountability.
“Data is only useful if people can find it,” says Russ Rappel Schmid, the State’s Chief Data Officer. The Open Data Portal, made possible through the Department of Administration, makes public data more discoverable, helping both private citizens and agency personnel gain access to publicly owned government data. The goal is to eliminate the need to search individual government websites in hopes of finding the desired information. Instead users can search the Open Data Portal site by keyword or organization. The Open Data Portal enables data-driven decision-making, transparency, and government accountability. This ultimately restores trust in the government, which is one of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s priorities.
Mapping data underpins most projects in Alaska and requires layering of data from many sources. The State’s Geospatial Information Officers intend to integrate Alaska’s geospatial resources and build custom tools and applications to support priority needs for Alaska. Current priority needs include mapping of Alaska’s coast and improved data to support public safety and emergency response.
With support from the Department of Natural Resources, the State’s Open Data Geoportal will provide Alaskans a resource full of maps and location-based data including information from all State agencies. The public can put the Geoportal to good use on an issue of current importance; the Geoportal includes a map application where voters can find their closest polling location and secure drop box locations within their voting District. Other Geoportal applications help readers track wildfires and monitor economic and health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been said that “Data is the new gold.” The Dunleavy Administration’s Open Data Portals provide the opportunity to harness the value of government data as well as share sometimes hard-to-find information with the public. In fact, the Open Data Portal is already making resources available to the public such as data from the U.S. Small Business Administration identifying Alaska companies that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. This public information, otherwise buried deep within the Small Business Administration website, shows information about Alaska companies and their eligibility requirements to receive this funding.
The State is working to build a culture of improved data management, availability, integration, and analytics within state government. Visit data.alaska.gov and gis.data.alaska.gov to access the Open Data Portal and Geoportal.