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Digital Update: Cybersecurity, Events Permit Project, & GIS

Posted on February 8, 2021


Cybersecurity Awareness

The next cybersecurity training module will be available Monday, February 8th. Employees will receive an email from with a brief description of the training and a link to your training session. The training takes about 45 minutes and should be completed by the end of the month.

Why is this important?

Security is everyone’s responsibility. These trainings equip employees with the knowledge they need to combat cyberattacks, helping get everyone in our organization on the same page, reducing risks and incidents, and helping the entire workforce protect their organization and themselves.

Suspicious emails should be either deleted or forwarded to so they can investigate the source and determine it’s threat level. No additional or further action is required.

Research, Design, Prototype, Pilot, Test  Events Permit Project Update 

Over the past 4 months Digital has been working with the Events Permit Steering Committee to research a new approach to large event applications. The project is indicative of the creative approaches that staff have been implementing throughout the COVID pandemic to solve service delivery challenges through a user-centered design approach (coordinated entirely via video meetings!)Last week the Steering Committee gave a green light to a pilot project with software vendor Camino that will be developed and tested in the coming months as a potential one stop shop for applicants interested in hosting events in the City of San Rafael. Camino’s tool offers a workflow engine that can route requests to staff in different departments based on applicant requests and City requirements. This pilot project will also assist in parallel projects the City is implementing regarding cross-departmental permits and a Building and Planning Guide for applicants.   

How we are using a human-centered design approach for this project 

  1. Define the problem   How can applicants easily apply for permits and have the process coordinated without a designated staff member managing events? 
  2. Research – How are we doing this now? What solutions are other cities using?  We interviewed stakeholders and users to understand how the process works and what doesn’t work. 
  3. Design – We synthesized what we learned from the research stage to get a better understanding of the process. We started mapping the service and improving the design based on user feedback. 
  4. Prototype– We developed web-based forms to test an alternative to paper-based applications with the goal of improving the existing process with available tools. 
  5. Iterate – We identified the limits of the prototype and considered alternative solutions that can overcome these limitations. 
  6. Pilot  Now we are implementing lessons learned from the protype to pilot a new solution. Working with Camino to develop a more robust online solution to meet the needs of the process. 
  7. Test  – Once our pilot is ready for testing we will work with the Steering Committee to test and improve the service until it is ready for user testing. Based on the feedback from users we can continue to improve this approach or try something new if required. 

Out with the old, in with the new! – San Rafael GIS Upgrade 

We’re in the process of upgrading our GIS software! GIS is a mapping software that organizes, analyzes, and displays data in relation to a specific location and it’s used by only a handful of our departments, such as Public Works. Maintenance crews and engineers reference this map to determine the slope of a hill or get the pavement condition index of a specific street to determine if the street is up for replacement.  

The look and feel will be closer to Google maps and the new system will allow us to have much more functionality going forward. For example, GIS can only be accessed from the City server, once we’re on the new platform, we’ll be able to access GIS from anywhere—from home, the field, or the office.  The upgrade is expected to be complete by the beginning of April! We’ll keep you posted along the way. 

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