There are 50 state governments and thousands of cities and towns that are pushing ahead with IT modernization. There are numerous smart cities around the country that are leading the charge to improve their residents’ lives via technology.
Meanwhile, 5G wireless networks are starting to crop up, which will help enhance city services over time. States are experimenting with blockchain to gain efficiencies. And counties are using innovation labs as a way to modernize both their technology and processes. With all of that going on, it can be difficult for state and local IT leaders and professionals to stay abreast of how technology changes and trends affect their jobs and their constituents. Thankfully, they can turn to expert bloggers to offer insights. We’ve compiled a list of this year’s best state and local IT blogs.
The 2018 Must-Read State and Local IT Blogger List covers not only mainstay blogs that will appeal to state and local CIOs, but also smart city practitioners, public safety officials, public librarians and those who work in the court system.
And if you think we missed a state or local IT blog that you read regularly, feel free to leave a comment. Be sure to bookmark this page, share it with friends and follow our top bloggers on social media.
100 Resilient Cities Blog
100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. The blog offers practical advice on how cities can use technology to improve resiliency, and information on city resiliency policy and planning in general.
Alabama OIT Blog
Alabama is in the Deep South, and it’s also deep into technological innovation in many respects. Huntsville is a major tech hub and smaller cities like Opelika are making strides in their smart city evolution. Alabama’s Office of Information Technology keeps track of how the state is pushing forward with digital enhancements, such as a statewide Voice over Internet Protocol rollout, with a particular focus on cybersecurity and software upgrades.
American City and County Viewpoints
Founded in 1909, the magazine American City & County has been the voice of state and local government for more than a century, and “serves a powerful audience of city, county and state officials who are charged with developing and implementing government policy, programs and projects,” according to its website. The magazine’s blog offers a variety of viewpoints and tackles everything from what government training should emphasize in digital services procurement to how governments can reduce networking equipment costs while boosting performance.
California Department of Technology Blog
As the largest state in the nation by population and the home of Silicon Valley, California holds outsize importance in the world of state governments. The state Department of Technology’s blog provides a window into the changing tech landscape across the Golden State’s government, including cloud migration and the opening of its cybersecurity center.
Catherine Andrews is the director of content at GovLoop and Granicus, where she “aims to help inspire the public sector to get better at their jobs by creating great resources for them,” per her LinkedIn profile. Her posts on GovLoop focus on IT modernization, data analytics, data-driven local government solutions and other tech topics.
City of Boston Department of Innovation and Technology
Boston is one of StateTech’s smart cities to watch, mainly because it is focused on solving real problems for real people. In the spring, it launched a new project called Beta Blocks, aimed at getting residents more involved in smart city projects and soliciting feedback from the communities they are meant to help. The blog for the city’s Department of Innovation and Technology keeps residents of Beantown updated on how the city is using tech to improve their quality of life.
CivicPlus is a web development business that specializes in building city and county e-government communication systems and integrated software for local government and municipal web design. The blog focuses on a diverse array of topics, including how local government CIOs can use Content as a Service, how to employ automated accessibility tools in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and using open data.
Court Technology Bulletin
Given the emphasis on smart cities and even smart states, courts are an often overlooked element of the state and local government landscape. However, they are an essential ingredient to civic life and the rule of law, and they shape how citizens interact with government. A blog of the National Center for State Courts, Court Technology Bulletin provides a timely chronicle of how technology is reshaping the court system, including the use of videoconferencing tools for pretrial services and smartphones that can be used as document scanners for e-filing.
Data SF Speaks
DataSF’s mission is to empower the use of data, and it seeks to transform the way San Francisco works through the use of data. The organization believes the use of data and evidence can improve our operations and the services they provide. The blog offers practical advice and insights for data scientists in local jurisdictions.
Data-Smart City Solutions
An initiative by the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School and powered by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Data-Smart City Solutions focuses on civic technology and how city governments can use data to help improve services for residents. The blog also highlights use cases and best practices from across the country, such as the use of blockchain by Austin, Texas, to create a digital ID system.
David Lee King
Do you work in a public library, and are you interested in keeping your library relevant in the 21st century? If so, then you need to follow the blog of David Lee King, the digital branch manager at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, a leader on how to incorporate digital technologies — including the Internet of Things, video, mobile apps and more — into public library programs.
GovTech’s Digital Communities site highlights how local governments are driving modernization forward on everything from emerging technologies to public safety. The site is also the home of the annual Digital Counties Survey, which showcases county leaders in digital innovation.
ELGL, or Engaging Local Government Leaders, has a clear mission: providing timely, relevant content; fostering authentic, meaningful connections; expecting equity and inclusion; encouraging joy in public service; and welcoming new ideas and technology. Part community hub, part professional development website, ELGL offers connections and links to live events to help local government leaders bring their passion to life.
FirstNet, or the First Responder Network Authority, is thriving. The independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration provides emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed broadband network dedicated to public safety. AT&T is building the network, and as of October 2018, more than 3,600 public safety agencies across the country joined FirstNet and the network supported more than 250,000 connections. The organization’s blog focuses on new developments in the network and how first responders can use it.
Fresh Ideas in Public Safety
Motorola Solutions is a pioneer in public safety communications, and the company’s blog offers helpful insights on 911 communications and interoperability, as well as how cybersecurity affects emergency responders. The blog offers perspectives that give readers a sense of how technology affects the day-to-day operations of first responders.
Granicus empowers modern digital government with the latest in cloud technology that connects 185 million people with over 4,000 government organizations. The company helps agencies improve their online services, web presence and communications strategies. The blog provides insights into how agencies can improve their websites and digital communications and how to embrace the principles of modern digital government.
The goal of the International City/County Management Association’s blog is to provide readers with new resources and insights on what’s happening in local government. The blog includes posts from both ICMA staff and invited thought leaders in local government, who opine about everything from avoiding cyberattacks to digital transformation and adapting to climate change.
Lohrmann on Cybersecurity & Infrastructure
It is essentially impossible to talk about any issue related to state and local IT without bringing cybersecurity into the discussion, given the increased threat from ransomware and other malicious attacks. Dan Lohrmann, a cybersecurity thought leader, uses his blog on Government Technology to help state and local government leaders sift through the hype about IT security and focus on what they can practically do to keep their communities safe.
Microsoft Government Blog
Microsoft is an essential partner to almost every state and local government, whether through its cloud services or Windows software. The tech giant’s government blog offers insights into how agencies can enhance internal collaboration, build smart cities and benefit by moving services to the cloud.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers is the go-to resource for state IT officials looking to get caught up on the latest technology trends and where state government technology is headed. The organization’s blog provides regular updates on how the state CIO role is evolving as well as posts on topics such as connected vehicles and artificial intelligence.
National Association of Counties Blog
Sandwiched in between states and cities are counties, the often overlooked level of local government. The National Association of Counties provides strong leadership and a forum for discussion for county leaders, including IT and IT security executives, and the organization’s blog touches on topics highly relevant to them, including changes to transportation and infrastructure, public safety and cybersecurity.
Nebraska CIO Blog
State CIOs are often busy people, but Nebraska CIO Ed Toner is one of the most consistent voices who has made time to put his thoughts down online. For several years now, he has offered regular (usually monthly) updates on how he and his office are approaching everything from IT consolidation to cybersecurity and disaster recovery.
Officer.com is a leading digital publication that police officers around the country turn to for news and analysis on the latest trends in law enforcement, including public safety technology. The site offers advice and insights on the tech that police agencies need to invest in.
Smart Cities Dive
Part of the Industry Dive network, Smart Cities Dive covers smart city industry news and provides original analysis on the latest trends in the smart city arena. Its tech coverage focuses on wireless technology, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things and more.
South Dakota BIT Blog
The blog of South Dakota’s state IT department, the BIT Blog is as open and inviting as the plains of the Mount Rushmore State. The blog keeps residents updated on the latest from the department and also offers practical advice on personal cybersecurity.
Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy. Founded in 1998, the site combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country. Although not exclusively focusing on technology, it’s a must-read for those who want to be in the know on what’s happening in state governments across the country.
Susanna Ronalds-Hannon is a manager for special projects within Boston's government, and in that capacity directs the development of data dashboards and business-critical reports and support the analysis and improvement of performance as it relates to citywide permitting. She also directs resources across the digital, analytics and applications teams to digitize transactional processes — such as permitting and 311 — through business analysis, solutions design, training and implementation. As a contributor to GovLoop, Ronalds-Hannon writes about modernizing digital services, cybersecurity and the latest news from Boston.