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Case Study: Martin County, Florida

Redesigning Civic Engagement with Full Visibility on Drupal


Martin County has some of Florida's most beautiful coastline and local attractions include the beaches, waterways and biodiverse ecosystem. Connecting citizens with the resources of Martin County's government takes a complex and well built web application, which Promet Source built using a Drupal site that integrates with Apache Solr, Apache Tika and Search API to deliver comprehensive search results of official public records. In addition to providing essential public records and documents, the Martin County Drupal site also lets residents get news about their communities and connect with social media on the site. 

The Challenge
  • Moving Martin County off of Oracle Portal web content management system and into Drupal CMS with a mobile-first design.
  • Public users can view calendar of events for the county, public record documents (meeting notes, memos, letters, notices, etc.) and job postings.
  • Allow for display of emails and letters in Drupal using PDF formats and Search API.
  • Integrate with Apache Solr for indexing site content; integrate with web applications for government bids and contracts.

The state of Florida has a policy of open government which allows Floridians free access to public records and documents. This is a great way to bring transparency to the inner workings of Florida's government agencies. Promet Source was then faced with the challenge of building a highly useable Drupal site that also made thousands of PDF files searchable within the site. For a bit of context, imagine that you have a digitzed copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace. The 1,225 page novel would come out to about 4.75 mb of text. There were 5.25 mb of text in just one document from Martin County's library.

Combine that volume of data with the particulars of Martin County's user stories: users need to see accurate search results for specific synonyms within the vast library. Another wrinkle to the equation was introduced by the hosting setup for Martin County, a cloud instance which didn't allow Javascript.

The Solution

Promet Source implemented a PDF document parser with Apache Tika. A single instance of Solr on the web head server delivers speedy results, while swapping Solr's default query configuration for indexed phrases and other stored content to deliver highly accurate results for searches containing phrases. The indexed content is then displayed to the end user on the Drupal site.  The end result is a comprehensive search functionality that quickly delivers accurate results from three sources:

  • Martin County services
  • Martin County documents
  • All of Martin County's site