Office of the Chief Technology Officer

Open Government Report 2014
To institutionalize a culture of transparent and open government, accountability, and to expand
opportunities for resident participation and collaboration, this Report describes how the Office of
the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has and will continue to develop and enhance
transparency, public participation, and collaboration. In accordance with Mayor’s Order 2014170, this report addresses the following topics:

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) regularly shares press releases,
announcements, public services, and other information via several agency-managed web sites
● OCTO Main web site
● DC-Net sub site
● Connect DC sub site
● DC Data Catalog
● GIS updates via GovDelivery
OCTO also manages several active and engaging Twitter accounts:
● Twitter @octodc
● Twitter @dcgovweb
● Twitter @connectdotdc
● Instagram @connectdotdc
● YouTube @connectdotdc
● Twitter @DCNetGov
The agency also manages several online applications that provide valuable information to the
public including the DC GIS Mapping Tool, DC Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder, among many
others available here: These applications are regularly promoted
both online and through community outreach activities.
OCTO believes the vast amount of information available on and web
sites contributes to the small number of FOIA requests to the agency. Information on everything
from purchase card transactions, current and needed contractor support, purchase orders, etc. is
all readily available.

District’s Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) annually receives a small number of FOIA
requests for OCTO-specific information. For example, in FY 2013 the agency only received 14
requests with 4 of those were rerouted to other agencies with a 100 percent closure rate. The
OCTO requests were closed within an average of 2.4 days. The preliminary FY 2014 numbers
are following the same trend and will be fully reporting in early 2015.
As owner of the City-wide Messaging System for partner agencies, OCTO receives a large
number of requests for specific emails to and/or from certain individuals and/or containing
certain names or words. Pursuant to Mayor's Order 2008-88, “Access to Email Traffic of
District Government Employees”, OCTO is to provide the relevant emails back to partner
agencies to review and provide to requestor.
In FY 2014, OCTO fulfilled 528 requests for emails from partner agencies originating from
FOIA requests or litigation.
FOIAXpress Support
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) served as the technical lead and project
manager for the launch of Executive Office of Mayor’s (EOM) FOIAXpress system - a new
online system for submitting and processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to
District government agencies.
The new portal, powered by industry leader “FOIAXpress,” is the District’s first-ever citywide
FOIA processing system. At its launch, more than 50 District agencies will be included.
Additional agencies will be added to the system in the next fiscal year.
The new DC Government Public FOIA Portal will allow requesters to submit public records
requests for any of the participating agencies to a centralized website. The requests will be
assigned a unique tracking number, and users will be able to track the status of the request.
The system will also permit the District to generate reports to determine whether agencies are
meeting their FOIA obligations in a timely manner. Further, it will allow agencies to publish
documents to an online reading room for information that is required to be made public under
FOIA and the Mayor’s Open Government and Transparency Directive, including frequently
requested information under FOIA.
Open Meetings Act

OCTO does not convene meeting subject to the Open Meetings Act.
Increasing Public Access to Information
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) works with District agencies to deliver
transparency through our Citywide Data Warehouse and its Open Data Catalog. But this is not an
agency, nor an administration, that rests on past achievements. OCTO and the City
Administrator’s Office are investing heavily in a next generation Data Catalog to take the city
even farther than we are today in terms of transparency.
The DC Geographic Information Program (DC GIS), administered by the Office of the Chief
Technology Officer (OCTO), will utilize open source technology to increase public access to the
vast amount of information it creates and receives from our District agency partners.
In doing so, we hope residents can make more informed decisions about their government and
our community. The new site intends to make the District’s data more discoverable, explorable
and transparent to foster greater participation and collaboration with all stakeholders.
The new site is expected to launch in Fall 2014.
Originally launched in February 2010, Track.DC.Gov was lauded by open government advocates
and city fiscal watchdogs. The Sunlight Foundation even said “both substance wise and
technically, it out-athletes the White House's Open Government dashboard.” While it was an
innovation at the time, the site had seen little change or improvements and had grown stale.
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has completely revamped the tool’s user
interface and added new data sets and subsets to give a more transparent view of each agencies
performance. Data includes:
Data visualizations are now dynamic and allow more intuitive drill downs into individual data
sets. The data behind each of the widgets can now be downloaded directly from the site.
The tool’s accessibility has also been greatly improved with charts and graphics now also
displayed in chart forms with clear text labels for those with disabilities.
The tool is expected to go live in Fall 2014.
Chief Data Officer


In response to an executive order, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has
designated an Interim Chief Data Officer (CDO) to assist in the deployment of the near term
milestones outlined in the Transparency, Open Government and Open Data Directive and to help
coordinate additional open data programming. In Fall 2014, the Chief Technology Officer will
identify candidates and hire a permanent CDO to lead the Open Data Program.
Open Government Advisory Group
As outlined in Mayor’s Order 2014-170, “Transparency, Open Government and Open Data
Directive,” the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and its Chief Data Officer will
co-chair a new Open Government Advisory Group.
The group will advise the District on improving transparency and helping establish strong
policies for managing data in addition to setting short and long terms goals to make the District
as open as possible. The group is also charged with monitoring and evaluating the District’s
progress in meeting the requirements of Order 2014-170.
The group will be announced in Fall 2014 and OCTO expects meetings to begin immediately.
All meetings will be open to the public and meeting time and location, minutes, decisions, etc.
will also be posted to
Open Meeting Act
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is not overseen or advised by a board or
commission that is subject to the Open Meetings Act.
Public Access to Data
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is working closely with the Office of the
City Administrator (OCA) to identify additional datasets that OCA and OCTO expect to publish
online later this year. We currently have more than 570 data sets slated to be available online on
the new Open Data site, we will continue to work with OCA to identify datasets appropriate to
publish in 2015 and beyond.

Public Engagement and Participation
Online Access to Proposed Rules and Regulations
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is not a regulatory agency and does propose
rules and regulations.

Information Sharing
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) plays a unique role with District
Government as we both provide the technology and support to our partner agencies to conduct
outreach activities and implement our own outreach efforts.
For example, OCTO oversees DC.Gov, the District’s web portal (see page 5 for details.)
OCTO’s web team assists agencies in publishing information about District agency activity.
Supporting Partner Agencies
OCTO has done a massive amount of work over the past two years to get the city closer to
completion of a major, multi-year project to upgrade the city’s web sites and platform to improve
how the District communicates with the public. Our web team migrated some of the most
complex and difficult sites during this period, they also worked with agency staff to update the
The DC.Gov portal’s 100-plus agency and program sites generate annual traffic higher than
many municipalities and counties with comparable populations (e.g. Boston and Montgomery
County, Md.), with more than 14 million visitors making 29 million visits in 2013 (a 7 percent
increase in visitors over 2012).
DC.Gov website won first place for city portals in e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government’s
2014 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards. DC.Gov was a Top 10
finalist in 2013, and previously won Best of the Web in 2005.
Highlighted several recent upgrades to
● The introduction of the portal’s new responsive design, which automatically adjusts to fit
the screens of any tablet or mobile device, positioning DC.Gov for the explosive growth
and use of mobile devices. For example, only 1% of the visitors to DC.Gov used a mobile
device in 2009, while almost 30% of visitors are expected to use a mobile device in 2014;
● Migration of almost all agency sites to the open-source Drupal platform;
● Significant improvement in resident- and business-centric navigation to make
information and services easier to find;
● A clean, simple design to improve visitor experience; and
● New help pages for non-English-speaking residents.


The OCTO-run @dcgovweb has also been a major asset in distributing information and updates
from all agencies to a wider audience. It also provides essential customer service to public by
engaging residents with questions about the portal or routing questions to other agency
Twitter accounts or websites. The account quickly gained nearly 3,500 followers and is growing
at a steady space.
OCTO also lead the District’s first All-Hands Twitter Townhall - using #dcgovwebchat and
moderated by @octodc and @dcgovweb - to highlight District government services and
improvements. There were than 62 users, 235 tweets and over a million impressions on 140,000
timelines. A number of agencies participated including DPR, DCRA, DDOT, HSEMA and the
Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM).
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) worked closely with the Mayor’s Office to
design, develop and deploy in June 2012 to provide the public with an easy,
accessible way to provide feedback on agency performance. Originally piloted with just 5
District agencies, now provides monthly grades on 15 agencies. In January 2014,
OCTO made the site responsive, making access to the information, as well as the ability to
provide input for grades much easier for residents and visitors.
Our Communications Efforts
OCTO’s Digital Inclusion Initiative (DII), branded as OCTO Connect.DC, functions as an
effective outreach entity and sponsor of community events and partnerships with local partners,
targeting specific neighborhoods to find ways to impact technology adoption and deliver
computer training, broadband access, and technology outreach to underserved communities.
Outreach activities include:
● Partner with local service entities like Byte Back and the Latino Economic Development
Center (LEDC) to provide computer training to additional District residents, bringing
OCTO’s grant to date total to about 8,000;
● Deployed more than 170 computers for public use in District-owned recreation centers,
senior wellness centers, American Job Centers, and a returning citizen resource center;
● Held numerous Mobile Technology Lab events, including 10 Smart911 sign-up events in
support of an effort by our friends at OUC;
● Went on the road with our technology lab in November 2013 with the DCHBX team to
help them with health insurance enrollment;
● Hosted Community Broadband Summits to promote broadband adoption and engage
community groups in our broadband outreach; and

● Deployed a text messaging platform to improve and enhance our reach to specific groups
of DC residents.
While the grant funding is expired, we will continue to fund our digital divide outreach activities
with OCTO’s local budget to ensure that these important efforts continue.
DC GIS Steering Committee (GISSC)
The GISSC fosters communication and cooperation amongst the DC GIS stakeholder community
including District agencies, federal agencies, non-profit, and private sector GIS users in the
District of Columbia. It serves as the primary decision-making body to establish and implement
DC GIS policies and standards.
The Committee takes into account needs and resources while seeking multilateral input,
participation and support in defining and approving GIS projects, setting priorities and working
through timelines. The GISSC meets quarterly and the meetings are open to the public, meeting
agenda, minutes and presentations are posted online at: .
Stakeholder Identification
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) not only provides IT services to District
and federal agencies and community organizations, we are also active members of the local,
regional and national IT community. Our staff regularly attends and speaks at formal
conferences, public meet-ups, summits, community meetings and other events.
We want feedback on everything we do. We actively identify and engage key stakeholders who
can help us discover best practices, provide feedback on services and products, etc. We believe
that by being available, open and active stakeholders will also come to us - and they have.
Improving Public Engagement and Participation
In addition to the accomplishments and plans listed in other sections, OCTO is currently
reviewing and revising its communications strategy for both internal and external stakeholders.
OCTO is taking a data-driven approach to review web, social media and community relations to
identify gaps in communications and identify any potential stakeholders or partners that can help
us meet our objectives.
Highlights include:


● OCTO is currently researching and testing an online forum feature that would allow
threaded, date-stamped conversations to be captured. This would allow for longer-term
and more technical conversations to take place online.
● OCTO is also dedicating additional resources to:
● Improve social engagement online
● Increase direct-to-public “in real life” engagement for digital inclusion project
● Streamline web presence
● Engage developer community around new site
● Launch @opendatadc Twitter account to handle customer service support for new site

OCTO’s web team manages several cross agency websites that require collaboration among
agencies in providing information and services to the public. For example, is a
website that provides up-to-date information on snow events in the winter, including preparation
for a snow event and monitoring of snowplow locations during an event. This information is
provided by several agencies including DPW, DDOT and HSEMA.
OCTO’s web team also creates temporary websites during emergency situations, such as
Hurricane Sandy. These pages consolidate all information about District services and assistance
from various agencies during these situations, enabling the public to come to a single website,
rather than search for information on multiple websites.