PDX Council Connect is a web-based front-end administrative interface used in constructing and updating City Council agenda items. The tool also provides an easy and open RESTful API interface to the resulting data for residents and business to access.
The Need for Open City Council Data
The City Council agenda serves as the nexus to City related business data. As such, there is a lot of interest by the community to be able to access and search past agenda items, as well as become aware of upcoming agenda items. Ensuring the bidirectional openness of the data allows others to more readily participate, provide input regarding potential impacts, and share in the outcome overall.
The current City Council agenda items are largely captured by the City Clerk via Microsoft Word, reviewed and edited, then saved as PDFs for processing and archiving. This process of transforming agenda items from their initial capture to archival form is performed in a very non-transparent manner when it comes to public involvement and participation.
By contrast, Council Connect allows Microsoft Word-like editing of documents via the Clerk's browser. Agenda items are saved, and subsequent dispositioning of agenda items are saved to a database as they are worked on. This database supports an RESTful JSON query API to facilitate local developers and other to build apps against.
Once this data is available, anticipated apps include apps supporting keyword or phrase matching to provide users with an alert of upcoming agenda items.