City and County officials will be assembling a team of data experts to make local government more efficient and customer-friendly for residents, track spending and projects and create a regional data center. The Richard King Mellon Foundation has awarded $1.8 million to fund the first 18 months of two major initiatives that bring together county and city governments, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University starting on October 15. The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, an expansive database maintained by Pitt's Center for Social and Urban Research, will provide residents with an open data portal that can host information from local governments, nonprofits, civic organizations and academic institutions. Experts at Pitt and CMU will offer advice on the center’s record management, design, data visualization and security. Overall, the initiative will streamline data collection and management to better inform local government.