County Awarded for Innovative Use of Open Data

Sept. 13, 2017

News Highlights

  • County receives 2017 Governor's Technology Award for efficient, innovative use of big data and analytics.
  • County's Democratizing Open Data program makes open data more useful to the public through infographics.
  • This program was also honored in July at the National Association of Counties 2017 Achievement Awards.


Fairfax County has been honored again for innovation with the 2017 Governor's Technology Award for innovative use of big data and analytics in recognition of the county's Democrating Open Data program, which aims to make open data more accessible to the public. Receiving the award on behalf of Fairfax County were Chief Technology Officer and Department of Information Technology Director Wanda Gibson and Anne Cahill, manager of economic, demographic and statistical research.

Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Nelson Moe presented the award on behalf of Governor Terry McAuliffe at a special ceremony at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) in Richmond on Sept. 6.

“Every year, our Virginia agencies and localities receive national recognition for their innovative use of IT,” said Jackson. The Governor’s Technology Awards program recognizes public sector information technology (IT) projects that have improved government service delivery and efficiency. Winners are determined by a panel of government IT experts.

The primary goal of the county's Democratizing Open Data program is to make open data usable through powerful, yet intuitive, interfaces. County businesses, community based organizations and residents often seek information to inform them about demographic and economic changes occurring in Fairfax County.

The Democratizing Open Data program helps to bridge these gaps by working in tandem with conventional open data portals to provide selected data in a more user-friendly format. Many users do not have the expertise to extract and interpret the information they need from large open data files.

Interactive data visualizations enhance the ability of county staff, residents, community organizations and businesses to:

  • Understand patterns, trends and challenges.
  • Plan for service needs, programs and facilities.
  • Evaluate services and programs.
  • Obtain customized data for the purposes of business development, policy making and grant writing.

Cahill shares that "the Democratizing Open Data program has helped create efficiencies by putting more current and comprehensive information into the hands of our managers and program planners. The applications have been built to make updating the data extremely resource efficient while enabling users to retrieve publicly available information by themselves." 

In addition to an interactive demographic mapper, available interactive data visualizations include:

Interactive Infographic: Older Residents


Infographic: Our Immigrant Neighbors
Interactive Infographic: Languages Spoken at Home


Infographic: For Rent




2017 Covits logo

award presentation

Click images for larger format.


 GIS Open Data Portal

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