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2014 Digital Counties Survey Winners Announced

Hundreds participated in the 12th annual survey, and the top-ranked counties will be honored at a reception during the 2014 National Association of Counties annual conference starting July 11.

Results for the 2014 Digital Counties Survey are in. San Francisco County, Calif.; Clackamas County, Ore.; Charles County, Md.; and Roanoke County, Va., took first place in their respective population categories for demonstrating technological success in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, data and operations.

Hundreds participated in the 12th annual survey, and the top-ranked counties will be honored at a reception during the 2014 National Association of Counties (NACo) annual conference starting July 11.

Conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG), also owned by Government Technology's parent company, e.Republic Inc., in partnership with NACo, this year’s survey revealed the best work being done by county government technology agencies, and shed light on the technology trends of tomorrow.

The top 10 technology trends expected next year, based on this year’s survey results, are:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Hire & Retain Competent IT Personnel
  3. Shared Services
  4. Budget and Cost Control
  5. Mobility / Mobile Applications
  6. Disaster Recovery/Continuity of Operations
  7. Open Government/ Transparency/ Open Data
  8. Virtualization: Server, Desktop/Client, Storage, Applications; and Portal/E-government
  9. Broadband & Connectivity
  10. Governance, Data Center Consolidation and Cloud Computing

And the Winners Are ...

500,000 or more population category:

1st San Francisco County, CA
2nd Montgomery County, MD
3rd Fairfax County, VA
3rd San Diego County, CA
4th Oakland County, MI
4th Sacramento County, CA
5th Palm Beach County, FL
6th Baltimore County, MD
6th Hennepin County, MN
7th Alameda County, CA
7th Mecklenburg County, NC
8th Bexar County, TX
8th Wake County, NC
9th Los Angeles County, CA
9th Miami-Dade County, FL
10th King County, WA
10th Westchester County, NY

250,000-499,999 population category:

1st Clackamas County, OR
2nd Dutchess County, NY
2nd Loudoun County, VA
3rd Bell County, Texas
3rd Hamilton County, IN
4th Dakota County, MN
4th Sonoma County, CA
5th Douglas County, CO6th Richland County, SC
6th Washoe County, NV
7th Chesterfield County, VA
7th Ottawa County, MI
8th Tulare County, CA
9th Sarasota County, FL
10th Leon County, FL

150,000-249,999 population category:

1st Charles County, MD
2nd Cabarrus County, NC
3rd St. Tammany Parish, LA
4th Arlington County, VA
5th Boone County, MO
6th Berrien County, MI
6th Davidson County, NC
7th Dona Ana County, NM
8th Jackson County, MI
8th Mohave County, AZ
9th Barnstable County, MA
10th Cherokee County, GA
10th Onslow County, NC

Up to 150,000 population category:

1st Roanoke County, VA
2nd Albemarle County, VA
3rd Martin County, FL
4th Sussex County, NJ
5th Nevada County, CA
6th Gloucester County, VA
6th Tompkins County, NY
7th Franklin County, VA
8th Eaton County, MI
9th Allegan County, MI
10th Montgomery County, VA

In the 500,000 or more population category, San Francisco County took top honors, being recognized not only for having an extensive social media presence, but also for innovation in using social media analytics to track public sentiment. Analysis of public data published in reports shows how people are reacting to the city.

The city is a pioneer in open data, developing a wide-reaching open data portal, and leads the way in open data legislation, having created policy standards now used as a template by organizations around the nation.

The city’s mobile app center provides a hub for citizens who want to learn about news in the city, find information, contact city services, connect on social media, stream audio or video of meetings and events, or access city calendars.

The city’s strong IT project planning and monitoring policies cemented the technology organization for first place in their category. An internal project scorecard allows the agency to monitor technology initiatives and ensure delivery.

Acting CIO Miguel Gamino noted that many of the upcoming trends listed in the survey match the work being done in San Francisco.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on open data and that whole ecosystem that’s being created,” Gamino said. “Beyond that, there’s quite a bit of focus on cloud technologies. I think what you’re going to see is a drill down on the right sizing of all the different flavors of cloud applications – taking the benefits of cloud approaches and making them fit to the particular application or problem that you’re trying to solve.”

Gamino added that the city is also now working on making its infrastructure more resilient and secure. “It all leads back to the mother of all priorities, which is that as organizations globally, we’re depending more and more on technology to run our day-to-day businesses and lives,” he said.

In the 250,000-499,999 population category, Clackamas County, Ore., south of Portland, took the No. 1 spot for its open-source mapping services -- a cost allocation system that allows departments greater control over the utilization and cost of technology, and the deployment of CBX, a fiber ring that links together rural and urban parts of the county.

In the 150,000-249,999 population category, Charles County, Md., topped the list. Leading technology in the southern region of Maryland, the county is recognized for several projects, including its enterprise asset management system (EAM). The county synced its EAM with mapping data and made the system available via iPad, tracking everything through the creation of a data analytics program.

The county also used the Laserfiche mobile app with great success to serve case management data, and integrated mobile EMS and hospital mobile services through a Mobile Data Terminal program.
And in the category for populations up to 150,000, Roanoke County, Va., won top honors for projects around GIS, radio and governance. The county’s GIS portal showcases mapping services spanning from property tax applications to voting maps and 3d views of the land.

Roanoke County showed that when it comes to governance, its policies reveal a level of maturity impressive for an organization their size. “This is big city stuff,” the county said.

The Roanoke Valley Radio Communications System serves agencies across the county, and a data-driven approach to crime and safety program (DDACTS) reduced violent crime by nine percent, and reduced reported crashes by 13 percent.

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.