Strategic Plans and Reports
1998 Seattle.Gov Annual Report
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 laid out the strategic issues and projects for PAN over a 2-3 year timeframe, and included numerous recommendations that guided content, application and policy development on PAN.
PAN’s mission is to provide a 24 hour City Hall for the citizens of Seattle.
- To enable citizens to initiate every transaction required to secure City services.
- To be a central resource for Seattle community information.
- To promote democracy on the local level by facilitating citizen debate on public issues and participation in government decision-making.
- To promote the City’s core values, priorities and policies.
- To promote Seattle world-wide as a good place to do business and to visit.
- To assure that every Seattle citizen has access to the Internet, an e-mail account, and basic computer literacy.
The City of Seattle Public Access Network (PAN) began with a dial-in Bulletin Board (BBS)System that went on-line in December, 1994. The City's Web site was added in February, 1995. All of the work was done in-house by City staff. The initial staff of four FTE spent over a year creating PAN. The most difficult part of establishing PAN was getting content from City departments and formatting it for the systems. At the time, the technology was new and not very many people were familiar with how to present information electronically. Very few cities were on-line, so there were not many models to follow. Some efforts were made to create one regional local government system, and there were some discussions about partnerships with the private sector. Before the dramatic growth of the Internet, PAN put a lot of effort into the BBS, which was closed in mid-1997.
What information and services are available through PAN
The 1996 plan suggested that it was time for PAN to move beyond posting static content to posting dynamic (changing, up-to-date) content and to more interactive applications. We have implemented most of the specific recommendations in that plan, still struggle to get business leadership to implement others. And we have added functionality that no one knew at that time could be done.
PAN has become a huge system of information and business applications. In awarding PAN its "Best Local Government Site on the Web" designation, the Seattle Times called it "mind-blowingly comprehensive. PAN includes over 32,000 documents provided by all but one City department, many boards and commissions, and a wide variety of outside organizations."
Most PAN content is no longer static. On a typical day, over 1000 files are added or modified – we are astounded at these numbers too, but have checked them on several random days in June and July of 1999. Many of these files are dynamic information such as campaign finance reports, while others are single large documents packed with information, such as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Most departments that produce rules, proposals, decisions or reports regularly publish them on PAN. A summary of some of the major content on PAN is included in Appendix A.
PAN has also been involved in the support and facilitation of several sites that are not hosted on our server, but contribute to our mission and provide valuable information to Seattle citizens. These include non-profit sponsored efforts such as History Link, and intergovernmental sites such as Taking Winter by Storm.
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. By June, 1998, PAN was receiving over 3.4 million hits per month, which has risen to almost 5 million per month in mid-1999.
One benefit of tracking statistics over several years is that we can now see a pattern of use increasing in summer, declining in the fall, and then picking up again in the first few months of each year. The summertime increase is clearly created by visitors looking for tourist information. Increases in the first quarter of each year may be related to growth in home computer ownership – from holiday gifts.
"Hits" overstate the use of a web site by including graphic files in the count. Two better measures are 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, and page views.
We began to measure user sessions in April 1997. Following a similar pattern to hits, they peaked in the summer at 200,000 per month, then dropping in the fall, then again exceeded the 200,000 monthly figure in March of 1999.
Page views may be the best measure of the site’s use, as it measures pages looked at without including graphic files. We were able to begin measuring page views in March 1998. Page views show more steady increases but slower increases in 1998 to just over 800,000 in December. There is a dramatic increase by March 1999 to over 1.2 million.
In a recent City Survey, Seattle citizens with Internet access were asked if they had ever visited the City of Seattle Web site.
More than one fourth (26%) of those with Internet access have visited the City of Seattle's public Access Network (PAN). When responses were expanded to include those respondents without Internet access, nearly one out of five (18%) respondents had accessed the City of Seattle Public Access Network over the Internet. This is significantly higher than in 1997, when only 10 percent had accessed PAN.
What are people using on PAN?
Job information, the City Directory of phone and e-mail addresses, and the WSDOT traffic map continue to be the most heavily used functions on PAN. Some of the most popular pages from 1997 remain highly used in 1999, including a number of pages with information for tourists and other visitors, and the Police, Fire and Transportation Departments. The Crisis Clinic’s Community Resources on Line continues to be heavily used.
The chart below measures usage of key PAN pages (other than the PAN home page) over the past year, tracking the 'user sessions' which indicate roughly how many people visited each of these pages. Use of our Visitor Page increased dramatically in spring and dropped off, again significantly, during the autumn months as rain re-took the city. The Citizen Page followed a strong upward trend for the year, nearly doubling in usage. For the first time, in November, there was greater usage of the Citizen Page than than any of our resource pages. This reflects greater public awareness amongst citizens about PAN.
The City Directory page remained the most viewed page, which suggests that people frequently use PAN to search for City resources, employees & services, and also need to search the site for the information they seek. The high usage level of these functions suggests that the benefits will be very great for our early 1999 release of a highly improved Directory database which will be more up-to-date and include city services. The Business, Weather, and Traffic pages were viewed at consistent levels and showed little change, pointing to an opportunity to boost usage of these pages with new applications or design revision.
The Department with the most significant increase in use in 1998 was Construction and Land Use (DCLU). DCLU’s on-line permit tracking system has become one of the most popular applications on PAN. Both City Light and Public Utilities show significant growth in use as well. The new Department of Housing, Municipal Court, Parks and Recreation, SeaTran and Neighborhoods pages also receive high numbers of views.
The table in Appendix C shows a comparison of the top 20 content pages in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
In the citywide survey mentioned above, people were asked why they had used the City’s web site. Two out of five people (40%) said they were looking for a name, address or contact, and 39 percent said they were looking for an event or calendar. Nearly one out of five (19%) used the web site to send a message to an elected official. Another question in the survey showed that 22 percent of recent contacts with the Mayor, City Council or other departments was conducted via e-mail.
Highlights of Major 1998 Accomplishments
1998 was a year of continuous incremental improvement and addition of content to PAN. By the end of the year, only the Law Department and some boards and commissions did not have a presence on PAN. Several departments, most notably Seattle City Light, completed major upgrades to their sites.
Two major enhancements were made to PAN’s capabilities. Streaming video capability is used to make available on the web most of the videos produced by the City’s government access channel TVSea. These include videos of most Council meetings and regular programs such as Seattle Citizen, as well as videos that provide information about City projects and issues. RealProp is a mapping application that uses the City’s geographic information system (GIS) to display maps that include base information about all properties in the City, and detailed information about all City owned property.
Another overall enhancement was the creation of a central press release database, into which all departments are supposed to post their releases. Most departments, but not all, comply. The database can be sorted by date, department or public information officer.
Numerous important major documents were added to the site, including the full annual budget and CIP, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), and many neighborhood plans.
The City participated in several intergovernmental and public/private partnerships to create unique and exciting websites. The most significant was our support of HistoryLink, a very significant local historical website managed by a History, Ink, a local non-profit organization. The City was the founding partner in this project, which has subsequently raised funding from numerous other sources. PAN staff helped shape the overall project, including promoting the idea of a "people’s history" which allows individuals to contribute to the site. Taking Winter by Storm was a joint project by the SEATRAN, King County and State DOT to alert citizens to winter traffic conditions.
In 1998 we added our first document in Spanish – a translation of Seattle Quick Facts, one of the most popular source of general information about Seattle.
As noted above, PAN now contains a great deal of interactive content (content that is updated on a regular basis), numerous feedback and input forms, and over 30 interactive applications. These are listed in Appendices A and B.
One frustration of 1998 (and 1999) is that we continue to have only one financial transaction available through PAN. Citizens can pay their parking tickets and other court fines using credit cards. However, the application is not yet automated; credit card processing and entry into the Courts system is still done manually.
Promoting basic technology literacy and access to both PAN and other sites on the Internet is an important part of our mission. Working with the Library, Parks and Neighborhood Departments, we adopted the goal that:
All Seattle citizens should have basic computer literacy, access to the Internet, and an e-mail account.
To promote this goal, as well as to support other neighborhood and City objectives, we manage a citizen technology literacy/access program. The program has a variety of elements, including support of access sites in public facilities; a technology matching fund providing grants to community based organizations to promote technology literacy/access; and various small targeted projects.
PAN directly supports access terminals in six neighborhood service centers (Ballard, Capital Hill, Central Area, Queen Anne, University and West Seattle), and computer labs in Rainier, Garfield, Delridge and Miller community centers. A map of approximately 100 access sites is available.
The first Citizens Literacy and Access Fund supported summit (Community Computer Fair) was held September 11-12, 1998 at Seattle Vocational Institute, with over 500 participants.
PAN continues to win awards and recognition. PAN was the 1998 second place finisher in the Best of the Web contest, sponsored by Government-On-Line for the second year in a row. 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%).
Examples – This is not nearly a comprehensive List
Full City Budget
Capital Improvement Program
Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports
Popular Annual Financial Report
Adopted Neighborhood Plans
Cedar River Habitat Conservation Plan
Campaign Finance Information
Daily Morning Emergency and Fire Reports
City Council meeting agendas
Pending and Approved legislation
Calendar of Community Events
City Department Newsletters
Hearings Examiner Decisions
DCLU General Mail Release, Director’s Rules and Client Assistance Memo’s
Specific Input and Feedback Forms
Report Potholes and other Street Problems
Report Street light outages
Pay Parking Tickets
Web Applications on PAN
(All projects called Databases below are relational, client-server databases. Non-relational, single table databases are called Simple databases). Previously, email forms were listed as applications. These are now too numerous to list.
Project or Database Name
Type (ASP=Active Server Pages)
|Business License||Database of all City Business License holders. Search by SIC code or Keywords.||CGI/Unix (being converted to ASP/SQL Server)||PAN||ESD|
|Cable||Database of Cable information. Simple Database. Data entry via Access forms.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||Cable|
|Cable Comments||Database of Comments on Cable Topics. Data entry via web form. Simple Database.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||Cable|
|Channel 28 Program Schedule||Database of TVSea's programs. Simple Database.||IDC/MS Access||PAN||Channel 28|
|Community Resources Online||Database of All types of community services in King County. Extensive search functions and details on each service and agency.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||Crisis Clinic (Community Organization)|
|Events Calendar||City-wide calendar of events. Search by day, week, month & type of event. Administered via web pages.||IDC/MS Access||PAN|
|DCLU Vessels (Boiler)||Boiler Database.|
|Neighborhood Matching Fund||Searchable Database of NMF projects, with project details.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||DON|
|HSD Aging & Disabilities Services||Secure download site, Comprehensive assessment site.|
|EC Survey||Don't Know.|
|Fine Payments||Database of Fine Payments|
|Fremont Time||Neighborhood time-bartering bank. Fully administered via the web. Basic security.||ASP/MS Access||PAN/Community Developer||Fremont Time (Community Organization)|
|Homepg1||TD database (appears inactive)|
|Job Classifications||Database of City job openings. Data Entry via Access Forms.||Generates Static HTML Pages|
|MOST Youth Activities||Database of after-school programs. Search by Neighborhood, School & activity types. Data Entry via Access Forms off-site.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||Child Care Resources (Community Organization)|
|Media Content||Database of videos available on media web site, which is database driven. Administered via web pages.||ASP/MS Access||PAN|
|Media Streaming Application||Plays the video recordings on the Server||Real Networks G2 Server||PAN|
|PAN Survey||Database of user feedback on PAN. Data Entry via web forms.||PAN|
|Parks||Searchable Database of Parks with park features and map links.||ASP/MS Access & GIS||PAN||Parks|
|Press Releases||Database of all city news releases. Search by date range or PIO. Administered via web forms.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||ESD|
|PTS Permit Tracking||Database of Building Permits. Highly complex, with web data entry and search functions.||ASP/Oracle||DCLU||DCLU|
|STEP Employment Training Programs||Database of Employment Programs with extensive search features.||IDC/MS Access||PAN||Worker Center (Community Organization)|
|Technology Map||Simple Database of computer labs & resources for citizens. Data entry and administration via the web.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||PAN|
|Technology Funders||Simple Database of funders. Data entry via Access Forms.||ASP/MS Access||PAN||PAN|
|Real Property||GIS Application showing maps and information about all City & Residential properties in graphical maps||GIS/ Internet Map Server||Seattle Public Utilities GIS Staff/PAN|
|City Directory||Contact information for all City Employees. Search by name or department or city service. Data entry via NetDynamics.||ASP/ Oracle||ESD/PAN
Julie Renick, Carla Holley, Gina Hooks, Sharon Lowe (DBA), Will Heilman (DBA)
|Search PAN||The Search engine for PAN finds web pages on all sites on PAN based on simple or advanced searches. Based on the web server's index server.||ASP/Index Server||PAN||PAN|
Top 20 documents/functions (excluding PAN’s main pages)