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Strategic Plans and Reports

1997 Seattle.Gov Annual Report

Mission

PAN’s goal should be to provide a 24 hour City Hall for the citizens of Seattle. It should be PAN’s mission to enable citizens to initiate, if not complete, every transaction required to secure City services, with the exception of emergency services. Furthermore, PAN should provide citizens with information about City activities, goals, and policy objectives, and with a means to contact City staff and elected officials directly with questions, concerns or comments.

In mid-1996, staff from PAN, OMP and City Council prepared the PANPlan, A Strategic Vision for the City of Seattle Public Access Network. That plan identified the strategic issues and projects for PAN over the next two years. This document is one of several follow-ups to that plan, providing summary information on the accomplishments and status of PAN in 1997. The attached draft work plan shows some of the projects that we hope to implement in 1998.

Overall Use of PAN

In mid-1996, when the number of monthly "hits" PAN received was about 500,000, we set a goal of getting one million "hits" per month by the end of 1998. We reached that goal in January of 1997. PAN use rose and remained at between 1.2 and 1.3 million hits per month for most of the year. (It rose again to 1.7 million hits in January 1998).

Total Number of PAN Hits - Image

In April we installed new software that enables us to measure the number of user sessions (each time a user comes to PAN, regardless of the number of pages he or she accesses, is measured as one user session). User sessions roughly parallel total use measured by "hits," averaging about 125,000 per month in the last half of the year.

Number of User Sessions on PAN - Image

What are people using on PAN?

Jobs and employment information continue to be the information that is accessed the most on PAN. Tourist information, as well as recreation and entertainment information for both residents and tourists, also remains a very significant use as well.

The City Directory of phone and e-mail addresses has become the most used single document, followed closely by the daily incident reports published by the Fire Department. These two applications should involve a very significant reduction in telephone calls to obtain the information.

Two of the most highly used pages were new in 1997: the Police Department and the Community Resources On-Line (CRO) database. Both of these were priority additions to PAN this year. PAN staff did a major amount of work on CRO; the Police Department is responsible for the creation and maintenance of their information on PAN.

The table on the following page shows a comparison between pages that were used the most in 1996 to those at the end of 1997, excluding PAN’s main home and section pages. In addition to uses mentioned above, the weather and I-5 traffic map continue to be very popular.

The table on page 3 shows total hits that various department sections of PAN received in the month of December only. In addition to the jobs, Fire and Police information mentioned above, Seattle Public Utilities, Department of Neighborhoods and Department of Construction and Land Use sections all received over 8,000 hits in December.

Total Hits for Department Sections of PAN
Month of December, 1998

ESD - Personnel Division

30,097

Fire Department

28,481

Public Utilities

11,691

Police Department

11,088

Department of Neighborhoods

9,684

Construction and Land Use

8,745

City Light

6,461

Transportation

6,382

Legislative

4,622

Parks and Recreation

4,512

Office of Management and Planning

3,854

Seattle Center

2,644

Municipal Court

2,613

ESD - Contracting Division

2,041

Mayor’s Office

1,579

Arts Commission

1,093

Neighborhood Planning Office

1,310

One other way to determine what principal uses people have for PAN is to look at what sites they "bookmark". These appear as entry points in our statistics. Heavily bookmarked pages include the Fire Department and Seattle Center, City Directory, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Arts and Entertainment page, and of course, jobs.

Who uses PAN?

About 17 percent of the PAN users in December were City employees. We can tell what Internet Service Provider or domain name people use to access PAN, but we can’t tell how many of them are Seattle residents and small businesses that use a large provider such as AOL. Not surprisingly, after the City network, AOL provides the most PAN users. (Over 10%) Locally, Boeing, the University of Washington and Microsoft represent about 8 percent of all PAN users.

International trade information posted by the Trade Development Alliance (TDA) continues to be very well used. We estimate that approximately 5% of PAN users are from outside the United States. In December, the countries with the most use were Canada, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Strategic Directions

The strategic directions for PAN remain the same as those that guided our work program and priorities for 1997:

  • More forms and opportunities for citizens to use PAN to send comments and applications back to City government
  • More databases to make large volumes of information easily accessible to citizens
  • The capacity to handle financial transactions (and a few pilot applications)
  • More neighborhood information
  • Continue to upgrade and add basic information from City Departments
  • Better links between PAN and Channel 28
  • Highlights of Major 1997 Accomplishments

Content

Departments continue to add and upgrade the content of their information on PAN. Earlier reports highlighted the addition of the Police Department section, which continues to be enhanced. During the second half of the year, Seattle Public Utilities made the most significant improvements and additions to their site. DHHS material remains outdated and incomplete; this will be one of the target departments for improvement in 1998.

Both the Department of Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Planning Office continue to add and improve information on PAN. Some of the neighborhood groups who have their web sites hosted on PAN are: North Beacon, Columbia City, Duwamish Coalition, Rainier Beach, SODO (South of the Dome), Ballard/Crown Hill, Green Lake 2020, Roosevelt, Team Wallingford, and Capitol Hill Neighborhood Planning Association. PAN staff continue to provide technical assistance to neighborhood organizations about the Internet and creation of HTML.

Databases

A city-wide events database was developed and posted PAN in third quarter, 1997. Both City departments and outside organizations can post events in the calendar. The database is integrated into an existing calendar created by the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) - events are entered once and available both in a consolidated calendar and in a neighborhood events calendar in the DON section of PAN. The Trade Development Alliance has a trade event calendar on PAN, and we are discussing consolidating this into the central calendar.

A major accomplishment for 1997 was making the Crisis Clinic’s Community Resources database accessible to the public on PAN. This database contains information used by the regions human service agencies to provide client referrals for all types of services. This database receives over 1000 monthly uses.

Financial Transactions

Citizens can pay their parking tickets on PAN - the first financial transaction we have implemented.

Forms

Departments began using forms to solicit citizen input and service requests. One of the most important was a street maintenance request form posted by the Transportation Department. Staff report "The Internet request form usage has been light, with about 20 - 50 requests per month total. Though limited in number, the people who are utilizing the form have expressed appreciation for this additional way to report problems. And the dispatchers seem to like it as well. It takes a little off the phone load and they are still able to respond and forward requests in a timely manner."

Back-End Systems

PAN staff have made substantial progress improving back-end applications. PAN is running on a new more powerful server, and identical hardware has been purchased for PAN’s database server and the InWeb server. This will significantly simplify server administration. PAN staff have tested various web development software packages, and have made recommendations for standard HTML editing and database development tools. PAN will be running a symposium for City web authors in early August to review these tools and other changes that are being proposed to simplify developing and posting information on PAN. Several departments have requested that their URL’s be shortened and simplified, and PAN staff have figured out how to reorganize files so that this is possible. New statistical software provides better information about PAN users and what information they use.

Public Access Sites

PAN continues to be committed to supporting sites where the public can access information on the Internet. Public Access Terminals have been added to four Neighborhood Service Centers, and the West Seattle BBS terminal was converted to provide Internet access. These sites receive Internet access through wireless modems.

PAN has also provided Internet access to sites at CAMP and Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC), two sites that received funding from King County to establish computer labs. Work is continuing on setting up computer labs in Community Center. PAN continued to support labs at Garfield and Rainier Community Centers. A major computer lab at the Delridge Community Center - the Delridge On-Ramp, opened this fall. This project was a collaboration among many public, private and community partners. A similar computer lab is scheduled to open in early 1998 at the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill. Planning has started for a project at the Bitter Lake Community Center in North Seattle. Community Centers and the two non-profit organizations are connected to the City’s Internet connection via ISDN line.

Bulletin Board System (BBS)

PAN began at the end of 1994 with a dial-in Bulletin Board System (BBS), which provided text information about City programs, as well as forums and e-mail to other PAN BBS users. By 1997, Internet use had grown tremendously, and BBS use had significantly declined. In order to be able to dedicate more resources to supporting public Internet access sites, PAN closed its BBS in July.

Awards

Finally, PAN continues to win awards and recognition. PAN won $10,000 as the second place finisher in the 1997 Best of the Web contest, sponsored by Government-On-Line. GOL is an information service which links state and local government and the information technology industry. Evaluation Criteria for this award were:

  • Innovation - Use of web based, on-line technology to deliver government service (30%);
  • Efficiency or time saved (25%);
  • Economy or money saved (25%);
  • Functionality (ease of use) and improved citizen access (20%).

Final Note

PAN represents a real team effort. PAN staff Busbong Sears and Roger Iida always find ways to say yes to requests and get things done. We will be joined in 1998 by James Rice, our new InWeb Coordinator, and David Keyes, Community Technology Planner who share the same collaborative and can-do attitudes. We, and the citizens who use PAN, owe a great deal to Jeff Crist, our former Technical Director, who left at the end of the year for the private sector. Finally, we need to recognize that PAN’s past and future success is not just the work of the PAN team, but is a true Citywide effort involving commitment, innovation and vision from staff in many City departments.

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