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Strategy 3.2 – Facilitate Open and Transparent Government 

State agencies have accomplished many successful IT initiatives during this past biennium. Selected agency projects are highlighted below. 

Agency Spotlights: Best Practices for Information Access

Agency

Initiative

General Land Office

Texasbeachwatch.com Viewer/Hosting – Developed a new web application with integrated GIS features that provides up-to-date information on the quality of water along Texas' beaches. The application was built with the latest web and GIS technologies including Flex, ArcGIS, ColdFusion, and SQL Server. The application also has a new streamlined interface to facilitate reporting to the EPA and supports PDAs for real-time updates via the Internet. The system saved the GLO $65,000 in annual hosting costs as it is now hosted on agency servers. 

Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts

The CPA has implemented Open Data Center, which provides direct access to machine-readable, platform-independent raw financial datasets, as well as data visualization and other tools created by the CPA’s office. The Open Data Center is a recent addition to the CPA’s Texas Transparency initiative, which includes

  • Where the Money Goes, providing access to state agency expenditures by category, purchasing code, and other data fields, 
  • Where the Money Comes From, providing access to state revenue data by fiscal year for a number of major state agencies, and
  • Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle, recognizing local governments across Texas that are striving to meet a high standard for online financial transparency.

Railroad Commission 

The Commission has implemented a website that provides the public with the most up-to-date reporting information to ensure that the public is aware of how American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are awarded to the RRC. The site also incorporates emerging technologies including the Texas Propane Fleet Pilot Program Public Outreach and Education Blog, which provides the latest information about everything grant-related: vehicles, stations, and special events. 

Texas Commission on the Arts 

TCA redesigned its website with a focus on transparency. The website offers information from commission meetings and state and federal reports previously available only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Eight years ago, TCA began posting a searchable list of current grant recipients online in an effort to make the agency more transparent and open. TCA has identified the modernization of that search tool as a planned project and will employ a common infrastructure in the redevelopment.  

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

TCEQ provides a number of data search and reporting tools available on its website, with both text-based and map-based interfaces. The TCEQ Data Clearinghouse provides an index and links to available data, including a Central Registry, which includes permit numbers by site, facility name, physical location, and description of business. Specific information on each site is available through the “Search by Central Registry” query tool on the TCEQ home page.  

Texas Department of Agriculture 

TDA is working on the design and release of a new website that will facilitate a better method to provide the right information to the right constituency. The agency currently publishes public data sets on its Public Information Reports website. The agency plans to publish information about TDA programs, opportunities to participate in those programs, data to assist in agricultural decision making, and data to keep consumers informed.  

Texas Education Agency 

TEA continues to publish a comprehensive collection of data.

The Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) makes available thousands of reports on the agency’s website. The major categories of data collected include school district organization, personnel, and financial data as well as student demographic, program participation, attendance, and performance data.

Additional TEA public data sources include

  • Texas PK–16 Public Education Information Resource Data Warehouse – significant portions of the PEIMS data, along with other significant Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) data, are made available on the agency website through the TPEIR data warehouse.
  • TREx System – this system provides a web-based application for secure exchange of electronic student records between Texas public independent school districts and for submission of electronic transcripts to Texas public colleges and universities.  

Texas Ethics Commission 

TEC publishes campaign finance and lobby activities data in various formats. TEC is redesigning its online search engines to provide greater efficiency and ease of use and is working with the public to improve its website to make the filing and retrieval of TEC information as easy and convenient as possible.  

Texas Historical Commission

THC provides Atlas, a database containing over 300,000 records on historic properties in the State of Texas, including data on Official Texas Historical Markers and National Register of Historic Places. In addition to search capabilities offered through historic designation, keyword, county, address, or site name, THC publishes these datasets by county in .csv format and provides map data in ESRI shapefile format for use in GIS software.  

Texas Water Development Board 

TWDB is working on several projects that will expand the availability of its geospatial datasets:

  • The Coastal Geodatabase project is currently in the execution phase. This application will allow users to locate and access data from multiple data sources that are owned and controlled by multiple entities to include internal TWDB Bays and Estuaries data. It enables sharing of surface water data between multiple state, university, and federal entities through a standardized web service.
  • The Water Information Integration and Dissemination (WIID) Rewrite is a rewrite of the GIS WIID components and is currently in the planning phase. The WIID Rewrite will allow the dissemination of a greater variety of data all in one location. External customers will be able to create custom reports and data downloads online. All public data stored in groundwater databases are available online. All water well information contained in the Groundwater Database (GWDB) and Submitted Driller’s Report Database (SDRDB), including discrete water level and water quality data, along with entity information from the Groundwater Conservation District Database (GCDDB), will be available using the Reporting Interface Program (RIP) application and the WIID application.  

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    © Department of Information Resources 2012