Macon: Moving Toward a Data-Driven Destiny
This is the third in a three-part series. You can find the first part, focused on Watkinsville, here, and the second part, about Snellville, here.
Macon-Bibb County had big plans of achieving truly “smart city” status. So in 2018, the city government launched an open data portal (www.maconinsights.com
), designed to make data available and shareable to those who need it to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Considering the data portal, the city established Macon Insights Data Academy, which trains employees on how to use the data to serve constituents. Armed with this knowledge, employees have created and implemented citizen-friendly apps for everything from trash pickup issues to voting sites.
“This helps to create efficiencies, which makes it easier to allocate limited resources,” said Brett Lavender, Chief Information Officer for Macon-Bibb County Government.
The data portal has also made it possible for Macon-Bibb to address the needs of the underserved.
“One in three Macon-Bibb households have no broadband Internet access,” Lavender explained, “So we came up with the Smart Neighborhoods MBC.”
This project, which recently earned a grant from Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Community Challenge, will install smart kiosks that provide on-demand services and Internet connection to those who don’t have home access. In addition to being able to access city services, they’ll also be able to retrieve details about community events, health information and the like.
“A lot of the things we do is not a huge breakthrough but is efficiency,” Lavender said. “This is allowing us to do more with what we have and allowing citizens to have a quicker response to their requests.”
This is one part of a longer article called “Georgia’s Cities Use Technology to Better Engage Citizens” that appears in the March/April 2020 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.