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Monday, September 21, 2020
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Government Fort Worth launches website to give public access to government data

Fort Worth launches website to give public access to government data

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Crime data, zoning information and other data regarding Fort Worth property is now available on a new website launched by the City of Fort Worth.

OneAddress, launched Tuesday, allows users to search a Fort Worth address and pull up information regarding the address, as well as information about the surrounding area, up to 500 feet away from the address. Along with zoning and crime data, the website also provides information such as trash pickup days, maps and the name of the city councilmember representing the area.

Government data had been available via the city’s open data website, data.fortworthtexas.gov, but the website can be difficult to use, said Kevin Gunn, chief technology officer at the City of Fort Worth.

“There’s a lot of information there that may require a very specialized skill set to use or analyze or present that data in a meaningful way,” he said.

Gunn said he hopes OneAddress will provide the solution.

“It’s very user friendly and able to get a good overview of the data that’s available out there in our open data portal,” Gunn said. “It’s pulling the same information that’s available in our open data portal and presenting it in a way that’s a little more accessible to average person.”

Mayor Betsy Price said the challenge of maintaining a database is keeping the database as up-to-date as possible.

“Open data is no good to us if it’s a year old, or two years old, or even six months old, or two weeks,” she said. “In many cases, they expect it to be almost a live feed, so it’s got to be current.”

Gunn said the city will work on creating a method to get the most recent data on the website as quickly as possible.

He also said he hopes the city can someday host hackathons, where “geeks” can get together and use open data to solve a specific problem in the city.

“I am a geek,” he said. “I don’t view that as negative terminology.”

Creating a faster network

At Tuesday’s Pre-Council meeting, Gunn also suggested that the city invest in a new communications infrastructure, using a combination of microwave wireless technology and fiber optic services to make data communication faster and more reliable.

The new network infrastructure is projected to cost about $17.6 million over a 10-year period, as opposed to $31.9 million over a 10-year period using the old infrastructure.

Gunn said the information services department will continue testing the microwave wireless system to make sure it works correctly and present its findings to City Council at a later date.

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