Governments are working with more data than ever. There is a focus on managing data as a strategic asset to meet the needs of citizens, businesses, agencies, and the broader public sector. Governments of all levels need to enable the strategic management and sharing of authoritative data to improve government efficiency, increase situational awareness, enhance emergency response, and better serve citizens.

What Is Authoritative Data?

Before we get into authoritative data sharing, let’s get down to what authoritative data is.. exactly. Authoritative data comes from authoritative sources, is officially certified, and can be trusted.

Many government agencies and open data portals provide authoritative data that can be used by citizens and other government departments alike. For example:

Examples of Government-to-Government Data Initiatives

One common critical dataset being shared across governments is landbase data that is typically created and maintained at the local level. It consists of different layers of information including addresses, parcels, property attributes, administrative boundaries, street centerlines, and owner information.

Local governments need to develop complete and accurate landbase datasets to support tax assessment, engineering, planning, and more. These datasets can be consolidated for state/provincial and federal government departments to support higher-level initiatives, such as emergency response and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1). For example:

As governments in the United States and Canada are planning for and making the transition to NG 9-1-1 to improve public emergency communications services in an increasingly digital and mobile society, having complete, accurate, and current addresses is critical.

There are many other types of authoritative data being shared across government agencies:

Learn more about how state governments are making use of data by signing up for the webinar Achieve Your State Missions with Better Data.

Keys to Sharing Data Across Government Levels

When governments launch data aggregation and sharing initiatives with the goal to provide authoritative data at the county, state, province, or federal level, there are more datasets to consolidate, more stakeholders to work with, and therefore more challenges to overcome.

Here are a few keys to success:

Identify Shared Objectives

Each level of government collects data to support their missions, legislative mandates, and daily operational needs. Sometimes, there are overlapping goals and initiatives.

One example of this is in the State of Indiana. It was discovered that the Indiana Department of Homeland Security was in the early planning stages of aggregating critical datasets from various sources while the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC) was looking to complete a similar task. Rather than duplicating the effort, their shared objectives meant they could instead work collaboratively and operate more efficiently.

Create Seamless Processes

Aggregating local datasets into statewide databases is a huge undertaking. It takes tremendous effort and buy-in to consolidate data from local governments due to different infrastructures, data management practices, and datasets along with limited resources.

The key is to implement a data integration solution that works seamlessly with existing infrastructure and processes. With a data integration platform like FME, you can connect data from different systems and streamline all processes. That means local counties won’t need to make any changes to their current methodologies, formats, data models, or platforms.

Ensure Data Quality

It’s always a challenge to achieve data accuracy and consistency when it comes to data consolidation, especially when data needs to be homogenized across city, county or state lines. For example, counties may have address data stored in different schemas containing information, such as house numbers, street names and street types in different fields.

Data validation efforts can be applied to translate all data into a standard one with all the fields merged before the data can end up in a statewide database. Issues like this can be easily tackled by using FME to transform, validate, harmonize, and load processed data into the central repository automatically.

Develop Standardized Workflows

Authoritative data needs to be constantly updated to remain complete and current. Changing addresses might be a common thing, but not having an accurate address database might risk the safety of citizens in case of a 911 emergency response.

In order to maintain an up-to-date database for a state, province or country, standardized processes have to be implemented to boost operational efficiency and reduce manual workload. For the Washington State Department of Revenue, they did this by using FME. They developed an automated no-code workflow to process data sourced from 38 counties and keep data updated at regular intervals, saving them immense time. Streamlined data integration and updating processes help government organizations deliver data-sharing projects with increased efficiency and reduced cost.

Make Data Accessible

It’s common among all levels of government to share data with each other and the public through open data portals.

The Arkansas GIS Office website is a great example of efficient distribution and sharing of authoritative data. Hundreds of datasets are organized by categories, such as boundaries, elevation, environment, location, and transportation, and can be easily accessed and downloaded through the web app created with FME. AZGeo also developed a self-serve data download application to make thousands of datasets easily accessible. The easier it is to access the data, the more the data gets used, and the more value governments get out of their data.

With the acceleration of digital transformation among governments and growing demands from modern citizens, governments will have increasing amounts of data to leverage for making strategic business decisions and achieving higher missions. Having an enterprise data integration solution in place will help governments collaborate on data-sharing initiatives with increased efficiency, better results, and long-term benefits.

To get started with your cross-government data-sharing initiatives, try FME for free today. And, don’t forget to sign up for the Achieve Your State Missions with Better Data webinar to learn more about how you and your team can do more with data.

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Vivian Tang

Vivian is a Product Marketer who’s passionate about aligning values with customers and bringing to market products users need and desire. Outside the office, you can find her wandering in museums and art galleries, searching good food and coffee in the city, and exploring the great outdoors.

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