By Vinod Chandran, CTO & Product Architect

There is a vast amount of data available across public agencies and only a fraction is utilized because most of the data exists within silos. Eliminating data silos and having a holistic picture of data are the first critical steps towards inter-agency data sharing. We are beginning to see data sharing protocols and paradigms emerge, but critical challenges remain.

Navjoy’s holistic data sharing platform equips agencies with end-to-end foundational tools that enable organizations to capture, maintain, automate, and share data and insights across agency boundaries.

Data on and around a computer screenThe Big Idea

Data sharing across agencies will be critical to solve for smart city and transportation challenges. Data silos inhibit public agencies from quickly and clearly collaborating. When local, regional, state and federal agencies need to share data, a manual effort is typically undertaken to stitch the necessary data together. To make matters worse, data collection methods vary across agencies, even for the same asset. Reconciling common data points and using ad-hoc methods simply means more human error, time, and money.

If government agencies can share data amongst themselves, it would simplify everything from planning and budgets to managing infrastructure and improving resource utilization.

As an example, several federal highways criss-cross through local and regional agency boundaries. All agencies along these highways participate in incident management. First responders from various agencies must collaborate to effectively handle incidents. Traffic assets, resources and personnel data housed within agency silos would make it almost impossible to support and facilitate incident management. Ideally, data sharing solutions will enable first responders and support staff to seamlessly access traffic assets, resources and personnel data across agency boundaries. This will help them collaborate on incident management and glean insights from previous incidents.

Reviewing a graphs and data on a laptopConsiderations

Clicks-not-Code

Many agencies have jumped on the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) band-wagons. Agencies can now focus on serving their communities rather than procuring, patching and maintaining server farms. In addition to exploring PaaS and SaaS, it is vital to pursue low-code approaches to software. Low-code means agencies can model most of their process by clicking instead of writing code, or "clicks-not-code". This allows users to house information from multiple agencies, thereby enabling inter-agency data sharing without writing code. Our platform, NueGOV, is a digital, multi-agency data sharing platform that securely houses local and federal agency data. Our low-code platform capitalizes on efficiencies and utilizes standardized data templates to keep costs low for our partners.

Data security

Data sharing should not dilute security; the solution should implement policies that limit sharing and access to edit data. For example, cities collecting traffic signal information should be able to add and update their signals accordingly, but neighboring cities with access should only be able to view the signals near agency boundaries and glean insights from timing plans. This would produce the most mutually beneficial outcome and prevent data breeches.

Autonomy

Each agency has unique processes based on location, geography, population, etc. A one-size-fits-all approach would have disastrous implications. Platforms should provide agencies the autonomy to manage their own process and still smoothly share data with other agencies that have unique processes.

Our Execution

The NueGOV digital platform is designed to serve the holistic needs of agencies at the local, regional, state and federal levels. The low code environment provides agencies with the business agility needed to quickly implement processes to help manage public resources and improve public safety. Agencies could search and quickly formulate processes with municipalities and neighboring agencies. Then, insights can be drawn from a fully integrated and configurable dashboard.

Currently, NueGOV is used to manage traffic assets and other public asset inventories. Services like incident management, work zone management and traffic studies utilize the inventory to provide critical public safety applications across agency boundaries. To join this connected future, please take a look at a demo of NueGOV.

If you have any questions on this article, contact Vinod Chandran at vChandran@navjoyinc.com.