Building Real-Time Dashboards using Accela, Connect and Runscope

Dashboards are an incredible medium to distill raw data into useful and visual tools. They can be used to support myriad of activities, from decision making to the enablement of improved transparency of organizations.  Many of our customers are representing their Accela data in dashboards to support mission critical operations.

Working with our customers to publish open data on CivicData we are often exploring new ways to visualize data.  Recently I stumbled upon a new service called Connect, a scalable real-time analytics platform, and was instantly intrigued.

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Building a Word Cloud Using D3.js for Data Analysis with CivicData

I recently came across an incredible resource, Learn JS Data, a guide that teaches the basics of manipulating data using JavaScript in the browser put together by the team at Bocoup.  The guide is a quick read and covers topics ranging from reading in data to advanced techniques of analyzing data all using the core JavaScript API and the d3.js library. D3.js is an incredible JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data mostly known for giving you the full capabilities of modern browsers to produce powerful visualization components.

What I learned through this guide is d3.js also contains some incredible data analysis tools to simplify many common data operations. Armed with this new found knowledge I decided to tackle a data visualization I have been wanting to pursue for a while, the word cloud. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to visualize permits descriptions from a given set of time using a word cloud.

As defined by wikipedia a word cloud is:

… a visual representation for text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text. Tags are usually single words, and the importance of each tag is shown with font size or color.

In the context of building permit descriptions here is what our word cloud will look like once complete:

Word Cloud

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Data Standards, Restaurant Scores, SMS and 50 Lines of Code

We can all agree that we are at the early stages of governments publishing open data in accordance with data standard specifications.  The value of data standards are well documented and this is not a post that is intended highlight these.  The fact is that currently only a small number of governments are participating in data standard adoption to date – one explanation for this is that the potential benefits of doing so are not always clear.

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Getting Started with the Construct API: Making Your First Request

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 8.37.31 AMHundreds of government agencies across the United States and the world are using Accela Automation to streamline and manage their operations.  With the Construct API, Accela is changing the game by enabling developers a way to connect to these agencies providing Land ManagementLicensing & Case ManagementAsset Management, Legislative Management, and Public Health and Safety services to their citizens.  We are seeing incredible creativity and innovation from developers as they extend and create new solutions on the Accela Platform.

Getting started with the Construct API is easy!  In this post we will take you through the steps to make your first request using the Construct API and get you on your way to developing the next great civic app!  If you are new to APIs no problem, check out this post before you get started: Free Guide to Learning Web APIs.

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From Open Data to Useful Analytics in 5 Minutes with CivicData

In a recent post (Getting Started with the CivicData API) Mark showed us how CivicData, built on the open source  CKAN platform, provides powerful and easy to use SQL APIs to interact with data.

In this example I’ll use the CivicData SQL API to request and aggregate data from an open dataset, Atlanta Permit Activity March 2014, and display it in a simple pie chart using a single client side html file without any need for any server side processing.

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Behind the API: Introduction to the Accela Automation Data Model

Government agencies across the United States and around the world select Accela Automation as their system of choice for their Land Management, Licensing & Case Management and Asset Management operations.

One of the key reasons these governments choose Accela is versatility.  Accela is one of the few platforms with a public sector focus that has the flexibility to serve the enterprise.  The key factor behind the flexibility and power of the Accela system is its data model.

This is the first in a series of posts that will introduce you to the Accela data model as it applies to the Construct API.

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Under the Hood: the Accela Construct API

Accela is revolutionizing how civic technology drives changes to the way that governments and citizens interact.

Starting a revolution

Accela enables civic developers and other technology partners to build on top of and interact with the systems that our government customers use to conduct a variety of core functions – permitting, licensing, land management, etc. Civic developers can leverage the Construct API and a suite of related tools to build services and applications that will revolutionize how citizens interact with their government.

This post will provide a high level overview of how the Accela Civic Cloud Platform works, and will be followed by more detailed posts introducing developers to other key concepts for building the next great civic app.

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