The County of Berks recently rolled out several new online tools that will allow residents to more easily find and access County data to further encourage community engagement and education through transparency and accountability. The Berks County Data Hub is an open data portal that presents various types of County-related data in a fresh, current and easy to navigate platform. While most of the information currently available is geospatial data and related to land records, the data hub will continue to expand to include other important and sought-after County of Berks data sets and records.
The data hub allows users to quickly download the information they are looking for instead of submitting a request to receive the records. There is no cost to download the data and it allows visitors to get the most current and updated files in real time. The data hub platform also allows for the data to be filtered and downloaded in various file formats.
“The County Commissioners are committed to the concept of open data and making that information available at no cost to anyone who wants to live and do work in Berks County,” said Brad Shirey, GIS Manager for the County of Berks. “These new tools help us to streamline and improve our interactions with the public by making more data readily available and decreasing the number of people they need to interact with to get to the information they are seeking,”
The data hub is the new home for land record data and the tools used to search for assessment information and parcel data. These land records are some of the most popular data sets within the County, with an average of roughly 5,000 visitors accessing the land parcel information each week. The portal also includes the ability to search for information by topic, such as agriculture, elections, environment or transportation, or by type, such as data set, documents or apps and maps. The data hub also seamlessly connects visitors to the websites for other partners and neighboring counties for data that is beyond what the County of Berks offers and maintains.
In addition to these tools, the data hub includes a step-by-step land records guide to help residents understand the common processes involved and address frequently asked questions. Land records are one of the areas within County government that involves several County departments and elected officials. This guide helps clarify what role each department plays within the process. The guide was created using story maps, a tool the County intends to continue to utilize to create more educational items moving forward.
The Berks County Data Hub was created and is maintained by GIS staff within the County of Berks Information Systems Department.