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Saturday, Sep 22, 2018
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Wondering what St. Pete is up to? Check the city’s data yourself

ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe you want to track your tree-trimming request. Or see what kind of water mains were worked on last month. Or check how many police calls came from downtown on a recent Thursday before 4 p.m. (The answer is 25.)

Now city residents can find that info and more all in one place — St. Pete Stat, the city’s new interactive website that displays data from six departments and is looking to add six more by December.

"The idea was to have a way to look at departments and to be able to understand what was going on," project coordinator Debbie Volks said.

ST. PETE STAT: Click here to try out the city’s new interactive database.

Work started in February 2017 and the website launched on June 11. It complies data from the Codes, Construction and Permitting, Engineering, Stormwater, Water Resources and Pavement and Traffic Operations departments.

It’s split into four sections:

• Project Stat, which details current development projects.

• Performance Stat, which shows what tasks each department has and hasn’t completed.

• Stat Map, which plots police calls, 311 reports — requests for city services, like graffiti cleanup or pothole fillings — and code violations on an interactive map.

• Open Stat, which lists all the data used for each of the interactive features.

Stat Map first went live in January. The other three tools are new.

"This is truly the first time we’ve faced this amount of data outward so that our residents can learn more and hold us accountable," mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

City data has always been bountiful but rarely digestible, according to Volks. Her goal was to correct that imbalance by designing tools easily navigable by the public.

"Hopefully this site will take all that info and put it in a way people can see," she said.

The site would also fulfill one of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s re-election campaign promises, she said.

The tools update automatically, though at different rates. In Stat Map, police calls refresh every four hours and 311 reports every eight. Code violations update every morning.

How far back data goes also varies. Police call records begin in 2013. Citizen complaints and requests to the mayor’s action center ­date back to 2014. Code violations are only logged as far back as 2015.

Volks said the city wants to add police, fire, sanitation, billing and collection, fleet and parks department data to the website by the end of the year.

"It’s just going to continue to grow," she said.

The city’s total bill for the effort — which includes the costs of the site platform and of Volks’ salary — comes to about $200,000, she said.

"We’re hoping the return on investment will be huge."

She predicted the estimated savings in time and manual work will be "invaluable."

Contact Justin Trombly at [email protected] Follow @JustinTrombly.

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