Utah's portal offers a user experience tailored to each citizen's local surroundings, thanks to the state's deployment of Geo Internet protocol (IP) technology. The feature recently helped Utah.gov win the top state honor at the Center for Digital Government's Best of the Web awards ceremony in Hollywood, Calif.
Using Geo IP, the portal reads a user's IP address and utilizes GIS to match it with links relevant to the physical surroundings of that address.
"We wanted to localize the services and information so they would mean more to the citizens," said Dave Fletcher, chief technology officer of Utah. "The Geo IP enabled us to determine what public meetings and services would apply to citizens using the site." Some of those customized links include data for local, parks, libraries and schools.
Persuading local governments to contribute regular public meeting data wasn't difficult because state legislators had passed a law requiring all public meetings to reside in a centralized system, Fletcher explained. His team simply coded the data for GIS and fed it to the portal.
Much of the data is updated automatically in the system.
"We have a central agency that coordinates GIS. There is ongoing collaboration between all of the cities and counties, as well as the federal government," Fletcher said.
Federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service reside in Utah.
"We have an agreement with all of those entities ensuring that any GIS is shared across the state, and that is part of what updates our centralized GIS repository, which feeds the localization service," Fletcher said.