City of Boston – Citizen’s Connect
Boston is a city of mobile savvy citizens and fast growing mobile companies. Join us on November 8th to celebrate Boston’s mobile leadership with our own Mayor Thomas M. Menino as guest speaker. We’ll be launching Citizens Connect 2.0, the mobile app which connects the people of Boston with city government.
This event will feature brief presentations followed by a networking mixer. The City of Boston will also be on-hand to provide information for any developers and app publishers who want to plug into back-end APIs for citizen connectivity.
Location: Ned Devine’s, 1 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109
Date: Monday, November 08, 2010. Doors open at 6pm.
More about Citizens Connect:
Michael Novaria’s wife was cursing when she burst through the door. It was the first snowstorm of the year, and her car was stuck on Hampstead Road, just down the hill from their house in Jamaica Plain.
So Novaria did what any devoted husband would do: He grabbed his iPhone. Stalking outside in the snow, he snapped a picture of their street and uploaded it to City Hall. Before long, a snowplow came roaring by. Who needs a shovel in the age of the smartphone?
Now, all Sears has to do is snap a picture with her iPhone, and the location’s coordinates automatically embed in the photo. Her complaint goes hurtling through the bureaucracy of City Hall and heads straight out to public works crews around the city.
“My graffiti picture is going to the dude who’s going to fix the graffiti!” she says with delight. “Directly to the dude! And that feels good.”
After a complaint is made, a red dot marks the problem on a map that can be seen from an iPhone. If Sears keeps checking, she can see the dot turn green when her problem is fixed.
“I’ll be watching,” Sears says. “It’ll be more instant gratification. And I don’t have to get irate when I’m finally calling the nice people at the call center.”
Boston continued to define itself as a technology hub when it was announced by Mayor Menino on Tuesday that the city of Boston was awarded top honors twice from the Public Institute of Technology (PIT). Recognized were Boston’s iPhone app, Citizens Connect, and GIS (geospatial information system) Data Hub.
The PIT is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. focused on promoting and perfecting the use of technology in local government. Backed by federal, governmental, and industrial organizations, the PIT makes it their business to learn the newest technology solutions and share these with the local governments of the nation.
Last fall the city of Boston deployed a free iPhone app that allows citizens to use their phone’s built-in camera and GPS system to take a photo of urban blights such as potholes, graffiti and trash, and report them directly to City Hall.
There are several features of this simple little application that make it powerful. First, the interface is quick and easy. No need to figure out what department to call; no need to wait on hold only to be grilled by an operator. The iPhone knows where you are, and while you can add comments, as the cliché says, a picture is worth a thousand words.