Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

In the spring of 2009, the State of Louisiana needed a tracking system to provide reports on recovery-related infrastructure projects to the Governor’s office, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, and the public. rebuildnola-gisThe system would be the primary reporting vehicle used to track infrastructure projects and expenditure of funds related to hurricane recovery. These types of reports were being assembled manually; and much of the information was being duplicated, causing inaccurate reports with repeated projects and duplicate funding sources.

The challenge in this project was to combine and clean disparate datasets into a database that would capture all project details without duplicate records, and to create an application to provide access to this database. The application had to be web-based and user-friendly; provide reporting capabilities, both custom and pre-defined; provide an interface that would allow users to view data at multiple levels; and be flexible and adaptable to the future needs of the State. An important function was providing transparency on government spending.

rebuildnola-dashUsing ASP.NET, GCR designed a web-based application to meet all of these requirements. The new application combines recovery projects from various data sources into a central repository and allows filtering of this data by disaster, applicant, project type, funding, and location. The results are displayed in both tabular and graphic format.

The website, rebuild.la.gov, which went live in September 2009, lists public investment in infrastructure and provides a detailed view of those investments as well as means to track recovery dollars being spent in the state. It is a cooperative endeavor of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.

In October 2009 GCR developed a residential portal for the existing website that provides a comprehensive inventory of investments. Users have the ability to derive counts of applicants by neighborhood, city, or parish; calculate disbursement of funds; determine funding gaps; and track the rebuilding activity in relation to flood damage. Confidential individual household information is only available to authorized OCD-DRU users via a secured admin site.

rebuildnola-mapRebuilding activity of properties is determined by GCR’s Activity Index©, a compilation of several data elements including U.S. Postal Service delivery records, Louisiana Tax Commission records, etc. The Activity Index has been used by the Louisiana Office of Community Development since July of 2009, and currently uses monthly activity updates of Road Home applicants to determine gap funding needs and target neighborhoods in need of additional case management services. This confidential activity index data is displayed in UI and Map screens on the admin site of the residential portal.

Features of the application include printing residential portal and infrastructure maps into PDF reports, including parcel layers to the admin site; printing parcel reports from the GIS map; and security setup screens for admin.

The Rebuild Louisiana Portal, Rebuild.LA.Gov, serves as a model of how technology can be used to bring government transparency to the public.