Friday, September 21, 2007

DC OCTO Master Address Repository Wins Digital Government Achievement Award

Today the District of Columbia Government’s groundbreaking Master Address Repository (MAR) project will be acknowledged as a national Digital Government Achievement award winner at the Center for Digital Government’s 11th Anniversary Awards Gala in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Digital Government Achievement Award is a national program that recognizes outstanding agency and department websites and applications that enhance information interactions, transactions and/or services. The award categories include government-to-government, government-to-business, government-to-citizen, and government internal.

The District’s MAR project, created by the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), won in the government-to-government category. The MAR is a comprehensive database of addresses, web services, and web pages for use by DC agencies and the public.

Addresses are the most common and important location key in government, and as a densely developed urban area, the District has a “many-to-many” relationship between addresses and properties. OCTO developed the MAR to promote property and address interaction and use regardless of the complexity of relationship between the two.

The MAR’s basic capabilities include address validation (confirming that an address exists in the District with correct spelling and formatting), geocoding addresses (locating addresses to specific structures rather than prorated along a street), and finding intersections. Its applications are many and varied: Today, the MAR is used by the general public and by over 15 District agencies to improve the speed and accuracy of numerous government services, and the MAR database gets approximately 2200 hits per hour. For example:

* 911 emergency dispatchers can find locations they couldn’t locate before.

* Parents can now use the MAR with the DC Public School Boundary Information System to find out which schools their children will attend—instead of calling the school system’s office and waiting for staff to manually research the information.

* Homeland Security managers use the MAR to verify and map locations during emergency planning events.

* Budget analysts geocode taxpayer addresses and then compare tax returns with land use trends to help predict future tax revenues.

* Firefighters geocode all their calls against the MAR, then use the data to measure their own performance.

* Social workers in various programs are able to identify common clients using their MAR-assigned address identifier and then collaborate in delivering services.

“The MAR is a perfect example of how we can use innovative technology to enhance the whole spectrum of government services,” said District Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. “We’re proud to win this award and especially pleased that so many agencies are using the MAR to improve their services.”

The MAR cost the District about $400,000 to develop, and requires only one full-time and one part-time OCTO staff member to maintain. “The MAR is also a perfect example of how technology can leverage government dollars,” adds Kundra. “The return on our investment is almost unlimited.”