Articles

    Maximize what you can Analyze

    NAGW Navigator: Volume 1 • Issue 4 • Summer 2018

    by Olivia Davis

    What you want

    Google Analytics offers great information about how visitors use your website. These insights include page visits, times of page hits, devices visitors use and many others.

    However, let’s say you want more. Which documents do visitors download? How often do they complete forms? How long do they watch videos? You need Google Tag Manager.

    How to make it happen

    Google Tag Manager integrates with Google Analytics to display data from events like document downloads, form completions and video plays in one location. You need to follow a few additional steps to get started with Google Tag Manager.

    Enter the Google Analytics tracking ID

    What you need

    • Google Analytics implemented on your site (have the tracking ID on hand)
    • Access to the section of every page on your site*
    • Access to the section of every page on your site*

    * You can usually find both sections in your site template(s).

    What to do

    Install Google Tag Manager

    1. Go to Google Tag Manager.
    2. Follow instructions to create an account.
      Create account in Google Tag Manager
       
    3. Using the vertical ellipses in the top right corner, select Create Container and follow instructions.
      Create new user defined variable
    4. Enter the given code snippets in the appropriate sections of your site.
      Variable configuration

    Connect to Google Analytics

    1. Once inside your Google Tag Manager container, select Variables on the left.
      Variable types in Google Tag Manager
       
    2. Scroll to the bottom to create a new user-defined variable.
      Create new user defined variable
       
    3. Name the variable GA Property.
      Variable types in Google Tag Manager
       
    4. Click on the Variable Configuration box to edit.
      Variable configuration
       
    5. Under Choose variable type > Utilities, select Google Analytics Settings.

    6. Enter your Google Analytics tracking ID.
      Enter the Google Analytics tracking ID
       
    7. Click Save.

    Explore!

    Use resources like the Google Tag Manager handout to learn more about how you can leverage Google Tag Manager.

     

    Open Data -- Now More Important Than Ever

    NAGW Navigator: Volume 1 • Issue 3 • Spring 2018

    Most of you are probably aware that the current federal government administration is not focusing on open data as much as the previous administration. With the federal government stepping away as the leaders in this area it is now more important then ever for the state and local governments to continue to advance their open data initiatives! To drive home why this is important let’s review some of the many reasons why open data is important:

    • Government participation by our constituents
    • Self-empowerment for our constituents
    • Government transparency and increased trust in government
    • Metrics and impact measurement on policies, regulations, etc.
    • Innovation through the apps and services developed with the data released
    • Improved efficiency and effectiveness of government

     

    Don’t give up on your open data initiative and make use of the collective knowledge of your NAGW peers if you have questions. Many of our agencies are at varying levels of open data adoption and someone is either where you are now or just beyond where you are and can give you advice on next steps.

    Open data is information. By providing information you are proving to your constituents that you are committed to transparency and improving the services you offer to your community.

    Additional Resources 

    NAGW Webinar Archive

     

    Policy Resources 

     

    Open Data: The Hard Lessons

    NAGW Navigator: Volume 1 • Issue 2 • Fall 2017

    By Ron Pringle

    The City of Boulder has been running an Open Data program for about four years now. In that time, we’ve had ups and downs, pursued things that ended up being dead ends and in some cases found paths to success. Based on our experience I’d like to highlight a few things that have and haven’t worked for us.

    Write a policy – We started without a policy and thought that if we built up enough momentum and shared successful case studies, the advantages of publishing open data would be magically obvious to everyone. They weren't. We eventually ran into roadblocks of the “you can’t make us” and the “we’re too busy” variety. Make open data a part of your culture by adopting a policy. Policies have political support. You need that.

    Build it and they will come – It’s 2017, you can’t just publish data and call it a day. While you might get lucky and have a vibrant community who instantly uses your data in wonderful, meaningful ways, chances are you won’t. Either way, you need to provide inspiration. We’ve done that by adding Areas of Inquiry which provide some possible starting points for working with the datasets in our catalog.

    Don’t overlook automation – The more you can automate the intake and publication of datasets the more sustainable your program will be. Don’t underestimate how hard Extract/Transform/Load (ETL) work can be and make sure you have the capacity to do the work. In our case, we piloted various ETL strategies but have still run into bottlenecks due to staff turnover or lack of availability due to other projects.

    Create an open data handbook – Our handbook is geared towards our departmental data stewards who are responsible for inventorying and submitting data for publication. The handbook walks them through that entire process. Like all documentation, don’t assume they’ll read it or refer to it. Reinforce the handbook with group sessions and individual hands-on training if needed. It can be labor-intensive but having trained, knowledgeable staff closer to the departments doing this work is invaluable.

    We continue to learn and refine our processes and approach to open data at the City of Boulder. If you want further insights or just need someone to discuss open data with, contact me!

     

    Open Data Starts With Community!

    NAGW Navigator: Volume 1 • Issue 1 • Summer 2017

    By Suzy Christophersen

    I wanted to get a conversation about open data going in my organization, without yet another committee. After some research, I came across the term “community of interest” and it resonated with me. What's a community of interest? It's a group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in the topic by interacting on an ongoing basis.

    Excited about bringing together a community, I reached out to the GIS experts in my organization and asked if they would be interested in getting together to geek out on data. They were! No government group is complete without an acronym so DataCOIN, our open data community of interest was born.

    Together we dreamed about what DataCOIN should be.  The group quickly narrowed in on a few goals, the most agreed upon being to get an open data policy in place. First we defined what open data means to our organization and assessed the current state. Next we drafted two policies and gained consensus (“I can live with it and support it”) in a group of 20+ people, before we came up with our final simplified open data policy which became policy in July 2016.

    The moral of this story? You don’t need to be a expert to start a community in your organization.   It’s up to you to connect the dots -- don’t wait around for someone else to take the lead in building a data-centric culture! A community of interest is a great way to connect with people across silos (like an internal Meetup group) whatever the topic. Don’t know where to start?  Let’s chat via the NAGW listserv or on the government-only DataCOIN Slack channel by going to datacoin.xyz