New web tools help you better know Covington & its government

More maps, data sets detail road conditions, rentals and more

COVINGTON, Ky. – Aberdeen Avenue in Latonia is 628 feet long, its driving surface has an estimated remaining service life of six years, and its recommended maintenance plan currently involves patching.

Out in South Covington, meanwhile, Otter Court has three homes that are rented out.

And in the Eastside neighborhood, seven businesses and commercial properties have received incentives through the City’s Small Business Program in the last several fiscal years.

That sort of information – about road conditions, rental properties, and economic development incentives – are among immense new data sets that have been added to the “Web Maps/Apps” subsection of the CovData section of the City of Covington’s website, HERE.

But the “Apps” part of that name is a misnomer: You don’t have to download any special app on your phone or device, nor do you have submit an Open Records request. The data is already there for the perusing.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people both to get to know Covington and the role of the City in managing it and to engage in that process,” said Todd Sink, the City’s Manager of Analytics and Intelligence. “Too often, ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ are just buzzwords. These new data sets actually implement those concepts in a real-world, accessible kind of way.”

Dr. Sink created the new web tools at Department heads’ request as part of an ever-expanding, ongoing mission of making information readily available to the public.

The incentives tool HERE, for example, details how the City has worked to help businesses invest and grow throughout Covington.

The rental licenses map HERE shows where the City has issued rental licenses or is about to.

The roads tool HERE, among other things, explains which government agency (City, County, State) maintains a given road or street, gives a rough assessment of its condition, gives traffic counts (in some cases), and notes its remaining service life.

Directions on how to use the individual maps are included in their drop-down menus. Some are more complicated than others, so reading the instructions is generally worth the time if you’re unfamiliar with the map layers.

Other maps and data sets in the Web Maps/Apps section show things like:

  • The availability of public parking.
  •  Neighborhood boundaries.
  • Properties owned or maintained by the City.
  • Crime data.
  • City-maintained trash cans (and how to report an issue with them).
  • Snow removal priority routes.
  • The “Adopt-a-spot” program.
  • Public Tree Inventory.
  • Zoning information for individual properties.
  • The location of City-sponsored cigarette “urns.”

And still other parts of the broader CovData section provide a wealth of information about the City’s expenses, waste and recycling collection, building permits, code enforcement cases, fire run data, occupancy approvals for Section 8 housing, and more.

“This is really neat stuff,” Dr. Sink said. “I often find myself looking at a lot of this data just out of curiosity.”

Data-driven decisions

But “fascination” isn’t the only reason for the data.

City Manager Ken Smith said City officials use the information to drive both decisions and show the need for those decisions.

“This information isn’t just for show,” Smith said. “It helps dictate budget allocations and staffing arrangements, inspire and frame policy discussions, and assess performance. You’ve heard of data-driven decisions? Here it is in practice.”


# # #