The Alaska Smart Communities Forum is a program to educate and build cooperation among public and private organizations to better serve citizens with information they can use through partnerships, data exchanges, tools, shared projects and resources. There are four focus areas: Data (identify new data sources, how to use, and share) App Services (integrating, analyzing and visualizing data of interest) Education (what other cities and organizations are doing); and Partnerships (sharing resources/data/investment in projects). The Forum has volunteer Working Groups to lead work in these areas.
A Smart Community uses data, tools and partnerships to better serve its citizens with information they can use. Cities, boroughs and businesses collect vast amounts of data to operate and deliver services, often independently. They work to improve systems and processes to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, be more responsive, and enable citizens better access to services and to be more engaged with their community. Meanwhile, citizens demand easier ways to get information, get services, and better understand resources in their communities (e.g. parks, trails, facilities, and healthcare). Smart Communities create solutions that bring together data to help meet these needs.
Open Data is data that is available to the public. Perhaps permits and licenses issued, or coordinates for parks and trailheads, or locations of all healthcare facilities.
Anyone with a smart phone knows about apps. Apps help get information and perform tasks. The Matsu has identified several valuable needs that can be solved with an app.
Cooperation between governments, school districts, local utilities and other organizations foster creative ideas to mutually solve problems, reduce duplicate efforts, and use data already collected.