What do you do once you've built an iPhone app to report potholes?
You release a feature that makes it as easy to vote to fix a pothole as it is to nominate Clay for American Idol.
Sure texting isn't as sexy as an app and it won't win the hearts of Silicon Valley, but damn its easy and anyone with a cell phone can do it.
You can now text your vote to fix a pothole or other SeeClickFix issue by texting issue x to 41411.
How do you let your neighbors know what the issue number is if they're not by their computer? There's a feature for that as well: When you go to your issue, you will now see a button in the issue navigation that says Print Flier. This button auto generates an east-to-print pdf with a photo of your issue and instructions on how to vote for that issue by web or by text.
I hope people start using this feature as it will encourage people to get out in the real world and connect with their neighbors to get issues resolved in their communities.
To put the feature to the test I recently went out in New Haven and flyered lamp posts with the flier below.
If you think that these guys should get the lights turned on for these residents you can text issue 10143 to 41411. You don't have to live here to know that 40 Street Lights out in one 6 block neighborhood is bad and you'll get to test out the feature.
You can view the issue here after your vote: http://seeclickfix.com/issues/10143
P.S. Please used recycled paper for your fliers and make sure to take them down when the issue is fixed.
Monday, November 30, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 2 comments
Sunday, November 29, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Today on Smart City Radio: SeeClickFix. We hear the show will be broadcast on Chicago Public Radio as well as stations in LA, Miami and Spokane to name a few.
Thanks to Carol Coletta for continuing to connect us to a diverse range of people that are improving their urban communities all over the country.
Hear the broadcast here: http://www.smartcityradio.com/show/2674/fixing-cities
Friday, November 27, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
A bunch of really cool orgs and people have been kind enough to ask us to present or speak on the air with them in the coming weeks.
Here's whats on the agenda:
I'm on air with Carol Coletta on Smart City Radio. This was pre-recorded and I believe is now available to listen to: http://www.prx.org/pieces/42491-fixing-cities Carol asks the tough questions. Hopefully I did my part :-)
I'm excited to hear the other part of the show with Flint Mayor Walling. While Flint is a City to watch. Mr Walling is definitely a young Mayor to watch.
On Wednesday December 3 at 12:00 EST I am speaking to a group of Citizens in Chattanooga via SKYPE ala STAND. I believe this will be broadcast live as well. Details to follow. STAND just completed the most inclusive visioning survey in the world. I'll be chatting about civic and community engagement. I january they release the results of their nearly 30,000 person survey. Exciting stuff!
Here's a link: http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_163585.asp
On December 6th at 9pm EST I'm on air live with Adriel Hampton of Gov2.0 Radio. Please go easy on me Adriel, I'm new to this live radio thing.
On March 9 I'm headed to Miami for the Wemedia Conference as a guest of the Conference of which we took home first place last year. We still see connections from wemedia 09 all over the country including Carol Coletta in Grand Rapids and George Brock in New York and who would have guessed, New Haven. Of course looking forward to seeing Jacob from bextra.org as well. Those guys have really taken off and it will be fun to catch up in the sun!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 11 comments
(updated 10:00 PM 03.01.09) Apparently there are still communication systems to fix in New Haven...
(Quick background Info: Monterey Place is a public private partnership overseen by the Housing Authority of New Haven. Its a beautiful neighborhood that you would never know is subsidized housing. It replaced the big block projects of the 60's that once stood there and contained the highest crime rates in New Haven. No one wants to see this pilot project slip to the neighborhood it once was. I would argue that allowing the residents to have an easy way to speak-up for keeping the neighborhood in top shape would be a first priority.)
I am currently sitting on hold with Monterey Place housing project. I have been on hold for 4:25 seconds. I am on hold because I am trying to figure out how to report over 10 street lights that have been out for years on the street.
How I got to be on hold with Monterey Place:
1: I reported the lights out on SeeClickFix
2: Sebouh from the City's Street Lighting Division told me that the Street Lights on a number of public streets in the Webster neighborhood of New Haven are actually under the responsibility of the Housing Authority:
"The City does not own the decorative lights located on Webster street. They have been out for quite a while and the management company responsible for the maintenance have been notified numerous times."
3: I call the Housing Authority to report the Street Lights being out and they tell me its the property manager's responsibility. I ask for contact info for the property manager but they do not have it. (Its their contractor)
4: I google Monterey Place and find the contact info and call....
Back in real time: Receptionist comes back to phone and I'm asked who I am and told that I would have to wait for someone to call me back to report the issue. I ask if this is the normal procedure for reporting issues on public property. She Says yes.
I then ask for an email address. She says that that is not public and they are a private company.
1) As I've patiently and apathetically watched the street lights on Webster go out one by one over the last two years without any resolution I've decided that in the interim while waiting for the call back from Monterey Place I will use the email address for the Housing Authority and the general email address for Monterey Place to create a watch area so that citizens can notify the property management company of future issues.
2) If the lights are not on by next week I am going to use a new feature on SeeClickFix where I can print the issue. I will then take that issue and go door to door in Monterey Place letting the neighbors about a new way to alert the management company.
3) I'll also tell them to text their "vote to fix this issue." That feature was just released last night. All they have to do is text "issue x" to 41411
I'll be sure to update this post in real time so you can keep an eye on how my little experiment works.
11.25.2009 1:30 ...Just returned from creating a watch area for Monterey Place and Housing Authority:
You can see the lights out here: http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues?watcher_token=c8bc4e609a1ac2d250f9f5d4a9cdd3bacddcd261&search=light&status[Open]=true&status[Closed]=true&status[Acknowledged]=true&at=&sort=issues.updated_at&num_results=100&commit=Search
Emails have been sent to both Housing Authority and Monterey Place. No call back yet.
11.25.2009 2:30 PM - No call back yet or comments on issue.
11.25.2009 4:22 PM - No call back or comment. However a neighbor reached out say that she would help to mark all of the poles with lights that are out with yellow tape. We agreed to meet on Friday at noon.
11.25.2009 4:24 PM - (blogging this made me realize my stupidity) Just called the neighbor to point out that the lights won't be on Friday at noon. Going to meet her now with a roll of blue painter's tape from the office.
11.25.2009 5:30 PM - Just went to TYCO, brought up newly created issue http://seeclickfix.com/issues/10143 on their computer, pressed the new Print Flyer Button and printed 50 copies for 5 bucks.
11.25.2009 5:45 PM - Met Lisa Hopkins and Her daughter Heaven at Webster Street and Daniels Street in Monterey Place.
11.25.2009 6:45 PM - We just finished up taping our flyers to the poles. We only had about 10 left when all was said and done. I video'd the fliering and some my conversation with Lisa. That's on the way next. Here's a photo of the flier that was created by the neat little tool that Jeff built today. (obviously the designer hasn't spent much work with it yet:-)
11.25.2009 6:45 PM: I just went over an reported the majority of the light out with the iPhone app so I could get photos as well. In some cases where every light was out on the block I reported 4 as one issue: http://seeclickfix.com/issues/10196
Still silent from Monterey Place. They have received alerts on all issues that I posted in the last few hours as well.
By the way, just remembered a quote from a woman in a wheel chair on Wednesday when I was with Lisa: "If we get the street lights on, maybe I can stop carrying my hammer."
11.30.2009 10:42 PM: Back to the old method(telephone). I just got off the phone with Mary, the receptionist at Monterey Place. I asked why I had not been called back yet in regards to the lights. She did not have an answer. I asked about reporting the lights again and she said that I would have to wait for the building manager to come back next week. I explained that these are lights that light the street as well as the sidewalk and the situation might be more urgent than that. She asked me to give the streets where the lights were out. I explained that there were lights out on every street and that, as there are no pole numbers, she might want to look at the site.
She does not have email, so I could not send her the SeeClickFix map of issues. I told her that we had fliered the poles. She says she will create a work order for the poles but would not give me a work order number. She then politely asked me to call back tomorrow.
I'm starting to understand why the streetlights have been out for so long.
12.01.2009 12:16 PM: Just called Monterey Place again. After 4:00 minutes of sitting on hold I was told that a service request could not be filed and I would have to wait till the property manager returned in the middle of next week. I asked if she, the property manager, would call me back. She said she did not know. I again expressed that this was a serious safety issue and asked if there was anything else we could do. She says no.
12.10.2009 10:05 AM: The Street Lights are still out. Not many people have voted in the neighborhood to get them turned on. I'm trying to figure out how to get more people to participate. Sitting on hold with Mary at Monterey Place trying to get more information about when and if the lights were reported out yet. She is clearly tired of talking to me at this point.
12.10.2009 2:36 PM: Just spoke with Dana Proctor, property manager for Monterey Place. They will be having someone repair the lights today and tomorrow. I spoke to the Housing Authority earlier as well. I have now added Dana's email to the Monterey Place Watch area so that she can be alerted immediately next time a light goes out.
03.01.2010 10 PM: The lights are on! http://seeclickfix.com/issues?search=light&status[Open]=true&status[Closed]=true&status[Acknowledged]=true&at=&sort=issues.updated_at&num_results=100&commit=Search
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Again I'm excited by an unexpected outcome from an unconventional use of SeeClickFix today.
Two nights ago I reported a street light out on a bridge in New Haven with the SCF iPhone app.
A neighbor then voted that they wanted the light fixed too.
Next Sebouh, from the City's Engineering Department, commented that he would go out and check the light out.
Then something we might otherwise discourage happened: someone else reported 3 more street lights out on a street nearby on my issue.
I typically encourage that each issue be reported as a separate issue so they are easy to track, but in this case it made sense to ping Sebouh to make sure he did not miss the issues nearby while he was going to fix it. Sebouh was able to go once to check four lights as opposed to one.
The simple unexpected outcomes of transparency and open communication are found everywhere on SeeClickFix. I'm going to try and start exposing them on the blog more as I find them.
If you have a Fix, please share it with us and we'd love to post it here.
Here's the issue: http://seeclickfix.com/issues/10061
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Mark Abraham is headed to Philly today to speak at the Society Hill Community meeting about using SeeClickFix to get things fixed in Philly. Rob Stuart will be there to assist Mark with his presentation as well.
This is no small community group. Rosanne Loesch sends a letter out to 5000 neighbors and the meetings are held in a 200 person auditorium. As SeeClickFix is taking off in Philly Roseanne was kind enough to invite anybody from the city who wanted to come.
Philadelphia 311 has been great at adapting to our open Government Platform and we hope that really good things will come out of SeeClickFix in Philly.
If you want to go to the meeting its at 7:00 PM at Pennsylvania Hospital, 8th and Spruce Street, Auditorium.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
On top of our last post we should mention that Google and PDF have been kind enough to send Jeff Blasius, CTO and Co-Founder, to Barcelona for the first Personal Democracy Forum in Europe.
Jeff is excited to meet people interested in Open Government and Civic Participation in Europe. If you want to help translate SeeClickFix or want to be one of the first media partners to work with SeeClickFix in Europe please find Jeff at PDF.
He looks like this guy:
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Citizens will soon be able to report non-emergency issues in 83 languages anywhere in the world using SeeClickFix on their PC or mobile phone.
We should give a special thanks to Portnoy in Mongolia, Vladamir in Russia, David in France, Ahmed in Kuwait and Mariano in Argentina for pressuring us to push translation at the front of our priority list and google chatting us at weird hours of the evening with "are we there yets?"
As a translator you'll be able to use google translate to suggest translations. You'll also be able to preview your translation in context before saving. SeeClickFix already tracks civic participation using the civic points scoring system. Shortly we plan on granting international SeeClickFix users the right to translate based on earned civic points.
Key SeeClickFix Translation features:
- Break down language barriers by allowing citizens to view other user's content in which ever language they feel most comfortable.
- Support multilingual citizens with a translated interface of their own particular languages.
- Enable media organizations everywhere, in any language, to engage their audience with the power of SeeClickFix.
We are excited about the prospects but there is still more to do and we can use your help. We are looking for:
- Translators - Are you someone that speaks English as a second language? Would you like to help us launch SeeClickFix in another language? If you are interested please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Media Partners - Do you have a site where you would like to embed a SeeClickFix widget? Do you serve two different language groups and would like to enable engagement between them? Would you like to see the openness and transparency SeeClickFix fosters in your region? Contact us at email@example.com
- Advocates - Do you know the email address of a public official or a government department? You can create a watch area for them right now (http://seeclickfix.com/government).
- Developers - Are you interested in building an open source application on top of our API? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Blasius, SeeClickFix CTO, will be at PDF Spain this weekend as a Google Fellow and you should reach out to him if you are interested in helping to translate, are a government official or a media property looking to get involved.
Power to the Community
(*The Screenshot above is from the work of the first translator to use SeeClickFix translation engine. Thanks Portnoy!)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 3 comments
Two days ago a citizen in Meriden, CT reported Foul tasting tap water.
The City Manager promptly responded,
"According to the Director of Public Utilities, there was a late algae bloom this weekend. Dana Lane water lines will be flushed today. The Broad Brook reservoir will be shut down this morning and treatment started. The water was tested last week and is safe to drink despite the odor."
Shortly there after 6 more complaints of foul tasting water were reported. On top of those complaints were comments that noted the same thing at different locations.
The City Manager had not gotten a chance to get back to those individuals so I decided to jump in. I live in New Haven but was still able to help out by disseminating information. I copied the message from the City Manager and added them as comments on the other issues which in turn sent a notification to all concerned about the problem.
I was able to use SeeClickFix to save the City Manager time and hopefully put some minds at ease in the process.
This is one of those exciting moments that can only happen on an open platform. A total outsider can help disseminate a government message to a group of concerned citizens that they have no prior affiliation with. That's cool and no we were not smart enough to think that this was going to be one of the benefits of the site.
You can can track the tap water issues in Meriden and if you see a post where a citizen has not been updated feel free to let them know what the City Manager had posted above. Click here to see water issues in Meriden
Saturday, November 14, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Media and Government have both been disrupted by a more open society. At the heart of and fueling the disruption are citizens that are using the web to get more out of these two vital traditionally institutional resources.
Curious what people think about the changing face of Citizenship and what it means for the future of democracy as two of our oldest institutions continue to have their doors pulled open for wider participation.
Where Participatory Gov Meets Participatory Media, what does participation look like in the age of the platform?
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Here's why we think you should vote for us:
-SCF has gotten a lot of your potholes and other neighborhood problems fixed
-SCF has connected 1000's of communities around the world with the common goal of improving their community
-SCF released the first iPhone app to connect citizens to 1000's of local governments around the world entirely free of charge
-SCF fixes potholes but it also saves an animal or two in the process: see next post
-SCF is creating interesting local stories for a locally shifting media environment
-SCF grew around the world this year as a boot-strapped co.
Thanks For you Support
Friday, November 13, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
After emails sent from SeeClickFix to Mayor Picard, West Haven City Council, West Haven Health Department and the West Haven Police for nine months police finally raided 4 Bassett Court and found many abused animals "and the worst conditions they have ever seen" SeeClickFix issue here: http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/1902
Thursday, November 12, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
The newest SeeClickFix app was released in the app store today.
This version fixes the crashing issues that some were having and adds a new feature.
You can now take a photo and add it with a comment to an existing issue nearby.
I love this feature because it allows those of us with iPhones to strengthen the impact of issues documented by those clickers who don't have them.
I also like to use this feature to take a photo of a fix before I close the issue as a thanks to the fixer.
SeeClickFix is now sending alerts to thousands of governments. Look how easy it is to sign up yours.
Jeff and I made a very amateur video on my G10 demonstrating the new app.
Check it out below.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Ted Mann has worked with us to get FixerUpper started up on InJersey.Com.
injersey.com is the first hyperlocal to launch the SeeClickFix text widget in conjunction with our map widget.
We really love the design of the Gannett owned site and have included in our presentation today at CUNY today for the New Business Models for news conference.
If you have not see it yet this is a great video that Ted made to explain watch areas on SeeClickFix (the once mysterious ways that SCF sends alerts)
Monday, November 9, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
When users visit the seeclickfix.com/New-Haven homepage, they will be greeted with a United Way banner asking New Haven residents to get involved in opportunities to Give, Advocate or Volunteer in Greater New Haven.
Over the next few months, United Way will be helping SeeClickFix by informing people in the towns surrounding New Haven about the opportunity to report and collaborate on neighborhood concerns online with SeeClickFix.com. Our affiliation with United Way unites us with a local non-profit organization whose goal is to improve lives and create long-lasting changes that prevent community problems.
SeeClickFix’s local issue reporting system and United Way’s message of Give, Advocate and Volunteer are both an invitation to get involved and be part of the change. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.
If you are interested in teaming up with SeeClickFix in your neighborhood email email@example.com
Thursday, November 5, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
In small towns north of Terni Italy citizens have started to use SeeClickFix to report issues like Irrigatori rotti(Broken Sprinkler)and Rottura mattonelle in marmo (rupture marble tile)
Its exciting to see the tool being used in different languages. Not only does it add cultural diversity to SeeClickFix but also diversity in the building materials that need to be repaired. Marble...lucky Italians.
Check out the activity in Italy HERE
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 1 comment
Inspired by idlefreephilly.org Katherine Lapadat-Jansen of the City of Prince George BC Canada set up a watch area and a widget for the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable at http://www.pgairquality.com/idle_free_mapping.html
Katherine had originally emailed us and said, "One of the objectives of our idle free program is to locate “idling hotspots” and then install Idle Free signage in those areas. I think this application would be an amazing way to get the community involved in locating hotspots."
We are really excited that the City of Prince George is using the free SeeClickFix widget and watch area and hope that they start to encourage reporting of other non-emergency issues as well.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Great news from New Jersey--The New York Times launched our text-widget on the homepage of their hyper-local sites, The Local. We want to thank the developers at The Times who worked with us to perfect the widget, making it easy to vote and report on non-emergency issues from The Local homepage.
blog, Tina Kelley from the NYTimes says , "And on this Election Day you can vote early and often if your complaint is the same as one that has already been reported. Just click on Fix This! from the existing list and your vote will be counted."
This is a great example of how the SeeClickFix text widget can be easily embedded into your site. SeeClickFix adds a dynamic layer of content onto your site that can help increase user engagement by providing a simple tool for community members to discuss issues of local interest.
You too can download the SeeClickFix text widget at http://www.seeclickfix.com/widget
Monday, November 2, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
SeeClickFix is commonly thought of as a tool to hold Government accountable. We have always thought of SeeClickFix as a tool to hold anyone responsible for the public space accountable. That includes Gov, Citizen organizations and businesses.
Since http://www.IdlefreePhilly.org launched their campaign to stop idling in Philadelphia we have seen a number of private enterprises held to the fire over their vehicles leaving engines running while parked.
If SeeClickFix isn't enough to raise the profile of the citizen concern over vehicle idling maybe Google can help:
I noticed in our Analytics today that a number of hits were coming in for a particular trucking company through a search for their business name on Google. Sure enough when you search for their company name and the word Philadelphia http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/9030.html is on the front page.
The issue appears to still be open and communication with the co. has been difficult according to citizens. Maybe Search Engine DisOptimization is an added benefit of posting on SeeClickFix...I guess we'll find out...
To Be Continued
- ► 2013 (119)
- ► 2012 (121)
- ► 2011 (205)
- ► 2010 (264)
- America's got Potholes
- Smart City Radio SeeClickFix and Dayne Walling int...
- Events, Presentations and Radio Conversations in t...
- A reminder why we started SeeClickFix
- 4 Street Lights with one Click
- ...and Mark is headed to Philly
- Jeff is headed to PDF Spain as a google fellow tod...
- SeeClickFix Launches 83 Languages into beta
- Why Open Government Matters: Case and Point
- Citizenship 2.0
- Give us your vote at the Crunchies
- Animals Saved from home reported for 9 months on S...
- SeeClickFix iPhone app updated!
- Fixer Upper Debuted on 9 more injersey sites.
- SeeClickFix Teams Up with United Way of Greater Ne...
- City of Prince George BC Canada launches idle free...
- Vote to Get a pothole fixed on Election Day: New Y...
- Google Search Rank + SeeClickFix = Accountability?...
- ▼ November (19)
- ► 2008 (62)