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Rockford IT Department outsources data cleaning & mapping to tackle blight

Rockford, IL, USA
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Goverment Champion

Community and Economic Development Department

Cost

Initial:
30 Thousand USD
Maintenance:
30 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Challenges Addressed

Housing & Affordable Housing
Permitting
Digital Government
Process Improvement

Motivation

Smart city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Project
Technology
Tool

Keywords

dataGISmapping

At a Glance

Rockford sought to enhance data collection as a cornerstone of its community development strategy, but information was spread across a half dozen systems and GIS staff were inundated with mapping requests. BuildingBlocks helped the City’s IT Department keep pace with demand for data visualization and analysis.

Problem Addressed

To help shape Rockford’s strategy against blight, the Community and Economic Development Department secured a technical assistance grant from the Center of Community Progress (CCP). The resulting report, “Laying the Foundation: Developing an Improved Approach to Problem Properties in Rockford,” identified enhanced data collection and analysis as a core recommendation. While the City has a sophisticated & capable Information Technology Department, it struggled with insufficient resources to build a robust data analysis and visualization tool to address the needs outlined in the CCP report. The CEDD team spent hours each week looking across six enterprise systems to get holistic information on a single problem property. And if there was a need for more complex reporting or analysis—such as prioritizing the list of problem properties by combining data on open code violations, police & fire incidents, tax delinquency, foreclosures, and more—the City had to query multiple databases and standardize datasets across disparate systems, an onerous process that could take up to a week.

Rockford used/is using BuildingBlock's data management platform to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

After an in-depth review of a half-dozen software products, including Rockford’s existing enterprise GIS tools, the City selected Tolemi’s BuildingBlocks to support the data-driven strategy because it was easy to setup and use. They started by consulting the code enforcement and community development users about which data sources to integrate from the various SQL servers and GIS applications across the City and Winnebago County. Once BuildingBlocks was up and running, the CEDD staff had the information they need at their fingertips to make fast, effective decisions.

Outcomes

  1. Instead of building a tool or cobbling together existing resources, Rockford opted for the off-the-shelf BuildingBlocks application, which is saving weeks of staff time per year.
  2. GIS Manager can now deliver dynamic data, rather than static information that was out of date the day after it was made.

Who Should Consider?

Cities of any size that are looking for customized information without increasing the burden on staff time.