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Searching for forecasts

Project Preview Search Strategies

With the launch of Spending Forecast Center II in early December, our spending-plan search module now contains Project Previews as well as agency spending plans and budgets. Project Previews are excerpts from spending plans that allow you to identify and qualify future project opportunities at a glance, without having to devote all the time and effort it takes to review and dissect agencies’ complicated spending-plan documents.

When you do a Spending Forecast Center II search, you’ll now see two sets of tabbed search results: one for Project Previews and one for Plans & Budgets, with the former set of results displayed first.

You’ll want to approach searching for Project Previews differently than your searches for bids and RFPs in Project Center. Here’s why:

Starting a new search

In order to search for Project Previews, plans and budgets, log in to your account at platform.onvia.com, click the "Spending Forecast Center" tab, select your search parameters (keywords, location and plan/project year) and click the "Search" button.

For a more refined search, click the "Advanced Search" link below the "Search" button; you'll be taken to a search page where you'll be able to apply a number of additional parameters to your search, such as agency function, plan type, project budget, and more.

You can go back to the Spending Forecast Center search page at any point by clicking the Spending Forecast Center tab or the Onvia logo at the top-left corner of the page.  You can also start a new search by entering keywords in the text field at the top of the page (make sure "Spending Forecasts" is selected in the drop-down menu next to the text field) and clicking the magnifying-glass button.

Search parameters

The Advanced Search page in Spending Forecast Center provides you with a number of additional refinement options you can use to narrow your search for Project Previews and spending-plan documents:

Keywords
If you enter keywords, the search will look for these keywords inside the Project Previews text and the spending-plan documents. The Spending Forecast Center search page has one field for keywords, and all of them will be found in the Project Previews and spending-plan documents in your search results. The Advanced Search page has three entry fields for keywords, and all three can be used at the same time. Tip: When choosing your keywords, remember that these are planning and budgeting documents. They contain budgetary items, expense descriptions, written-out plans, and funding types.

Note that keyword searches for Project Previews will not always yield the number and type of results you're looking for, due to the limited amount of searchable text on Project Previews and their infrequent references to specific products and services. Please see the Project Preview Search Strategies page for best practices on how to get the best results from your Spending Forecast Center searches.

Location
The geographic location of the agency that published its capital plans and budgets. Search by states, cities, counties, and MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas).

Level of Government
You can search for spending plans issued by agencies at the city/town, county, and state level as well as by special districts and school districts.

Agency Function
Ten areas of function or jurisdiction are available as search refinements, including "Education," "General Purpose," "Public Safety," and "Transportation."

Dates
You can search for Project Previews and spending-forecast documents based on the year in which the plan/project begins or includes. You can also search by the following publication-date ranges: Last 7 days, last 30 days, last 90 days, last 1 year, all dates, or a custom date range you specify. You can apply those same date-range parameters to the latest date on which Project Previews were updated.

When you only want to see only the newest additions to the database, you can select a date range to cover the time since your last search. The results will include only those Project Previews, plans and budgets added to the database since your last search.

Plan Details
You have four different plan types that you can use as search parameters:

Budget – The amount of money or resources earmarked by an agency for a particular institution, activity or time frame; an itemized summary of intended expenditures along with available/expected funds usually extending for one fiscal year.

Capital Improvement Plan – Sometimes referred to as a CIP, this is a short-range plan, usually spanning four to six years, that identifies capital projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan.

Comprehensive Plan – A plan of proposed capital fund expenditures and the means of financing them from the current fiscal period and over a longer-term planning horizon.

Transportation Improvement Plan – A capital plan focused specifically on transportation infrastructure and/or equipment. See the definition for capital improvement plan.

You can also choose to filter your results by plan status, with the following choices: Adopted, Amended, and Proposed.

Project Preview Details
You can filter your search results according whether the total project budget is greater than or less than a certain amount or in a certain monetary range.

Industry Verticals
The same industry verticals used as search filters in Project Center are available to you in Spending Forecast Center.

Narrowing down search results

To narrow your search results, you can click on the search-refinement links located in the left column. This will limit your search results to the selected categories.

In addition to keywords, agency location and publication date, the following filters are available to help you refine your search:

Industry Verticals
The same set of verticals that you use in Project Center searches are available as refinement options.

Location
The states associated with the Project Previews and spending plans in the search results will be displayed.

Agency Function
Ten areas of function or jurisdiction are available as search refinements.

Level of Government
Six different parameters are available for use in searches.

Total Project Budget:
With Project Previews search results, you can filter results based on a variety of budget amounts and ranges, from less than $100,000 to greater than $25 million.

Plan Type
You can choose to filter your spending-plan results by whether the documents are budgets, capital improvement plans, comprehensive plans, or transportation improvement plans.

Plan Year
Spending forecast documents usually cover a span of several years. If you specify a plan year, the search will retrieve all documents associated with spending forecasts that contain, begin with, or end with the selected year.

Plan Status
Plans usually go through three stages, which you can select as parameters.

Dates:
You can specify whether you want to narrow your results to plans that were published or Project Previews that were last updated within the last 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, or year, or you can select all dates.

Expanding search results

To expand your search, you can remove the search criteria in the left column of the search-results page by clicking the "X" buttons next to the criteria. You can also click the "Refine" link at the top of the left column to access the Advanced Search page, where you can further modify your parameters.

Tracking future projects of targeted agencies

To set up lists of agencies whose future projects you want to track, first do a Project Previews search for the types of projects in your markets that typically call for your product or service. At the top of the search-results page, click the “View the agencies that issued these previews” button. You’ll be taken to Agency Center where you’ll get a list of the agencies that issued your targeted projects.

Next, create an Agency List of those targeted agencies. Select “New Agency List” in the Agency Lists drop-down menu at the upper-right corner of the search-results page. You’ll be asked to name your list and then save it. Once you’ve done that, click the checkboxes beside the names of the agencies you want to add to the list. Then, in the Actions drop-down menu above the search results, select “Add to (new agency list name).”

To automatically monitor those agencies’ Project Previews and spending plans, click the “Spending Forecasts” link in the set of “View from these agencies” links at the top of the page.

You’ll be taken to Spending Forecast Center where you’ll get a list of the Project Previews and spending plans associated with those agencies. Click the “Save search” button at the top of the page and name the search. Then select “Manage Saved Searches” in the Saved Searches drop-down menu above the search results and click the checkboxes beside “Project Previews” and “Plans & Budgets” under “Send to Guide” for your new search. New or updated Project Previews and spending plans from your Saved Searches will appear in your monthly Guides going forward.

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