311 Service Requests

Experimenting with Google Heatmaps for 311 Data

As promoters of both open data and performance indicators, the Performance Improvement Division loves being able to highlight interesting uses of 311 data. As the City of Houston’s non-emergency help line, 311 is a great way to measure what’s important to citizens and the community. We’re able to see citizens’ concerns and sentiments by reviewing 311 service request tickets. Recently, 311 System Analyst Jim Cole wanted to better visualize the impact of the Memorial Day flooding using service requests as part of a research and development project:

311 Flooding Cases in the Past 12 Months; a full screen version is available at http://houstontx.gov/heatmaps/fhm12m.html?v=1

Since then, Jim has built out a collection of heatmaps that are accessible to the public at http://www.houstontx.gov/heatmaps/. The maps are updated every 15 minutes with fresh data extracts from the 311 system. The flat files Google's API uses to make the maps are available for anyone to use in their own projects on the heatmaps page as well. If you’re looking for a richer set of 311 data to play with, don’t forget to check out the 311 open data dataset and if you want to see more cool 311 metrics, check out the 311 Performance Dashboards.

Frank C. Bracco is a Senior Staff Analyst for the City of Houston Finance Department and is a member of the Performance Improvement Division. Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Report Type: 
Blog Post

Performance Insight: FY15-Q3

I recently unveiled a balanced $5.1 billion proposed total city budget for the coming fiscal year. This wasn’t easy to do with revenue limitations, growing pension and debt obligations, and an ever-increasing demand for City services. We were able to submit this balanced budget in large part due to a tremendous effort to become a leaner and more efficient government. The City has honed its focus on performance improvement and data-driven management.

Performance Insight FY15-Q1

Performance Insight in Action...

When I became Mayor, I saw an opportunity to further encourage and develop the talents of our dedicated employees by providing Lean Six Sigma training, a systematic problem solving technique intended to reduce waste, improve processes and enhance quality of operations. While we weren’t the first City to adopt Lean Six Sigma methods, we’ve built one of the largest and most intensive public quality regimens in the world!

Performance Insight: FY14-Q4

Performance Insight in Action...

As we conclude the first year of producing these Performance Insight reports, I’d like to provide an update on the ongoing work to improve our performance. Over the past year we focused on developing meaningful internal and external-facing performance measures, and creating a culture of accountability through data-driven management. We improved data quality and processes to support validation. We developed a follow-up process to encourage action when performance does not meet expectations.

Analytical 311 Service Request Map Now Available

The 311 Performance Dashboards now include an analytical 311 Service Request Map. This map visualization will be updated in conjunction with the 311 Performance Dashboards on a monthly basis and is not meant to replace the map available on the Houston 311 website or the GIS services available for 311 service requests.

You can read more about our adventures in geocoding and how you can use the 311 daily extract files for your own mapping purposes at http://performance.houstontx.gov/content/adventures-geospatial-data-x-and-y-doesn%E2%80%99t-mean-what-you-think-it-means.

Frank C. Bracco is a Senior Staff Analyst for the City of Houston Finance Department and is a member of the Performance Improvement Division. Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Report Type: 
Blog Post

Performance Insight: FY14-Q3

Performance Insight in Action...

The goal of Performance Insight is to go beyond simply reporting performance and begin to use the report as a tool to manage and improve performance on an on-going basis. As an executive scorecard, my staff and I use this report to lead constructive, data-driven discussions with department directors on the performance of the City’s core functions.

Performance Insight: FY14-Q1

When I arrived in the Mayor's Office, I focused the work of the City on five strategic priorities: Jobs & Sustainable Development, Public Safety, Infrastructure, Quality of Life and Fiscal Responsibility. These priorities permeate every aspect of my Administration and are now institutionalized in budgets, policies and day‐to‐day operations.

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