NC IT Roadmap - Data & Analytics

Each day, we use data and systems to understand, plan, decide and act. Turning data into actionable information is not always as simple as it should be. We must be able to effectively access, understand, analyze and manage both new and existing data; apply our expertise to obtain and convey insights; and use and re-use the data to make decisions.

We are already working towards a data-driven government, and will continue these efforts through:

Data Governance: We will develop standards around the collection and management of data across the state to provide agencies and decision-makers with well defined, consistent data. Common definitions allow data to be accessed and compiled for use regardless of what system or application holds the data. One of our first initiatives is leveraging the Data Asset Catalog Service (DACS) to catalog and master our data. The DACS provides the entry point for the state to understand and govern its information assets. Business analysts and subject matter experts can use DACS to create and manage enterprise vocabulary and information governance practices. This will allow us to build a common language between business and information technology, making it easier to leverage data across agencies and make more informed decisions to support North Carolinians.

Open Data and Government Transparency: Government transparency is about more than just access – it is also about the sharing and reusability of data. We will promote the use of publicly available open data to improve service delivery and drive the creation of innovative business.

For example, many federal and state agency stakeholders have a need for local geospatial information such as corporate boundaries and addresses. This information is highly dynamic, resulting in the stakeholders duplicating requests for the same information from local governments. We recognize that combining and standardizing data from local governments to create and maintain statewide data for public access will be more efficient, reduce cost, and reduce burden on local governments. To that end, the North Carolina Geographic Information Coordinating Council (NC GICC) is coordinating a collaborative effort to establish and maintain a centralized boundary repository. 

We will continue to work across agencies, focusing additional efforts on the creation and management of research ready data sets that will make it easier for researchers to access and utilize state data. We will start with education data sets and opioid data from the Controlled Substance Reporting System and expand to other areas over the next five years. 

Integrating, Managing, and Maintaining Longitudinal Data Systems: Accurately assessing state program and service effectiveness is critical to ensuring the health and safety of our residents. Such an assessment can be facilitated by the collection of longitudinal data. Longitudinal data is a collection of data on the same subjects or participants at different points in time, making it possible to measure performance and outcomes of programs over time. In the short-term we will focus on collecting longitudinal data regarding early childhood, education, and workforce performance metrics.  

Fully Integrating Geospatial Information and Analytics into State Services: Our government agencies provide a wide variety of services, from health care to criminal justice, economic development to environmental regulation, education to transportation. These services are provided across the state. We will work to fully integrate geospatial information and analytics into these services, making it easier to see where services are most needed and easier for those in need to access them.  

We will encourage the development, maintenance, distribution, and use of comprehensive statewide geographic data and geospatial technology. This includes adherence to core geospatial values such as: 

  • Geographic information is a state asset. Foundational geospatial data, in particular, should be seamless across the state, current, accurate, and freely and conveniently accessible. 

  • Spatial data, which increases in value the more it is used, should be created once, maintained as necessary, and used many times. 

  • All levels of government – federal, state, county, and municipality – as well as universities, and the private sector should be involved in planning, creating, distributing, funding, and maintaining North Carolina GIS data and tools. 

  • Redundancy and duplication in spatial data collection, spatial data maintenance, spatial data storage, and system resources across and within organizations should be minimized. Simultaneously, data maintenance planning and activities should allow programs to be more effective in satisfying their mandates. 

The approach, at its highest level, is to optimize state GIS resources while preventing negative impacts to the operations of our state agencies. This means being deliberate in what we do and how we move forward as we work across data domains. 

Preparing for the 2020 Census: The data collected in the decennial census are the foundation for our government representation and the equitable distribution of state and federal funds. More than $675 billion per year in federal funds are spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other vital programs. An accurate census count is essential to ensure that the residents of our state get the most benefit they can from these programs.  NC Census 2020 logo

Census data are not only key to providing federal and state-funded programs, but are also used by local governments for things like public safety and emergency preparedness, developers for determining where to build new homes or revitalize neighborhoods, and businesses to determine where to locate offices, factories, and storefronts. 

The next census will be taken in 2020, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we get a complete and accurate count of our residents. Since the last census, social media and other technology-fueled platforms have dramatically changed how we reach our residents. With that in mind, our state-level Complete Count Committee (CCC) is working to create a modern census website, where information about the census, its importance, and activities related to preparation and collection can be found. As we get closer to census time, the site will include a dynamic map of local CCCs, so that residents can easily see who to contact for information and activities in their community. In addition, the state CCC is looking into additional options for communication – listservs, text alerts, etc. that allow individuals to select what kind of census-related information they want to receive.