Los Angeles County’s One-Stop Shop for Open Data Expands
Los Angeles County’s open data portal launch in springtime was only the first salvo in the County’s plan to make all of its public data available in a one-stop shop online. For the initial launch, the portal shared datasets of employee salaries, restaurant inspection information, the assessed value of the County’s millions of properties, and much more. But with the recent addition of Open Budget and Open Expenditure apps, the portal and the County have hit a new milestone.
The two financial transparency apps allow Los Angeles County to easily publish budget and spending data.
The County’s Watchword: User-Friendly
Los Angeles County is the largest county in the United States, with a budget of more than 20 billion annually. It processes nearly 12 million financial transactions each year. This adds up to a financial landscape that’s challenging to track and understand, particularly for a non-expert audience.
That’s where the two newly added apps, part of Socrata’s suite of financial transparency apps, become so helpful. Unlike unwieldy PDFs, the website’s attractive charts, graphs, and images are easy to navigate and understand, allowing anyone — not just programmers or finance and data experts — to readily absorb and use the information. Drop-down menus point users to browse options, and a click of a button changes how financial details are displayed.
This ease of use, and ability for the financial information to be absorbed by anyone, is fundamental to the County’s goals of removing complexity, and making information both available and accessible.
“We’re taking a broad perspective here in our efforts to centralize and consolidate our data on a single platform,” says Ali Farahni, Chief Data Officer for the County of Los Angeles, “and the financial apps fit extremely well into this strategic plan. We’re determined to make all our data visually appealing, easy-to-access and easy-to-understand for our citizens, and Socrata is definitely partnering with us to achieve this very important goal.”