Columbia, MO (September 3, 2009)—Boone County's Information Technology Department has received the 2009 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government, in the government-to-government category. The department was honored for its geographic information system (GIS) based road closures reporting application.
The Columbia/Boone County Public Safety Joint Communications Center updates and maintains the system which is an online, real-time list of road closures in the county. Citizens can go online to view real-time maps of closed roads throughout the county and the county Public Works Department retrieves historic data from the system for advance planing for flood events. The application is coded for optimal viewing on mobile devices and is cross-browser compatible. The application averages 200 hits per day, but can reach 3,000 hits per day during inclement weather. The road closure list can be accessed on the county website on the county Web site at www.showmeboone.com by selecting "Road Closures" from the Services and Data drop down menu.
"It is great to see Boone County's application nationally recognized for excellence and selected as a winner of the award along with applications developed by much larger entities such as the City of Boston and the State of Montana," said GIS Manager Jason Warzinik. "The road closures web page and related web maps provide a quick, accurate and up-to-date way for the citizens of Boone County to check for road work, flooding, or other issues that may affect their daily travels."
The application was created by Warzinik out of necessity during a Missouri River flood in 2007. The Public Safety Joint Communications Center contacted the county's GIS division asking for help in getting out road closure information to those who needed it. Over the years, Warzinik has made improvements to the application with the help of Boone County's web developer James Barnes.
"During the 2007 flood, we were very limited to sending faxes and pages to very few people in an attempt to get this important information out to those who needed it," said Zim Schwartze, Interim Director of Public Safety Joint Communications. "PSJC contacted Boone County's GIS Manager who was able develop the Road Closures GIS application within a few hours prior to a scheduled press conference. This application was able to disseminate road closure information to the Boone County community and alleviated numerous requests and calls into our Operations Center. "
Best of the Web ranks the top U.S. state and local Web portals, recognizing advances in digital solutions and communication with citizens, government communities and business. The Digital Government Achievement Awards showcase progressive and innovative Web sites and digital applications by government entities worldwide. The awards are judged by a panel of experts on a wide range of categories, including site accessibility, innovation, cost-savings, ease of use, and exceptional service to public.
“We congratulate the winners of this year’s awards," said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. "They are terrific examples of first-rate ideas and collaboration on digital solutions which ultimately benefit citizens.”