In case you have not picked up on it yet, we think the Common Wealth Connect Application that we have built for the State of Massachusetts is a pretty big deal for the open government community and the State of Mass. Take open civic communication dedicated to improving neighborhoods and distribute the costs and responsibility across 35 jurisdictions in one swoop and you get something that's guaranteed to make a pretty big impact.
The most exciting part for the folks in our office, as it is with every new city launch, is getting to know the new users, citizens and muni folk alike, and getting to see what they do with their new toolset to improve their neighborhoods.
We'll be giving updates from many of the new towns launched in Mass over the next couple of months but for now we'll leave it to the local news sources such as this one: http://www.sciwoburn.org/category/tags/seeclickfix to start telling the story open online government in their own backyards. Woburn, Mass, is a town that that has been having Off-line Town Meetings since 1642. With such good practice off-line it will be exciting to take a look in from on-line.
Woburn Mass joins the SeeClickFix Community with the Assistance of the Common Wealth and the City of Boston
Sunday, December 30, 2012 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
In case you have not picked up on it yet, we think the Common Wealth Connect Application that we have built for the State of Massachusetts is a pretty big deal for the open government community and the State of Mass. Take open civic communication dedicated to improving neighborhoods and distribute the costs and responsibility across 35 jurisdictions in one swoop and you get something that's guaranteed to make a pretty big impact.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Its great to see another great local news source popping up in New Haven. The Daily Nutmeg has done a great job of attracting a team of very talented writers and housing them on a very attractive web platform for their stories.
We also really like it when we're featured by journalists who really take the time to get to know us and tell our story. Courtney McCarroll did a great job of profiling the company here: http://dailynutmeg.com/2012/12/20/seeclickfix-the-fix-is-in/
It's a good snowy day read. Check it out and add Daily Nutmeg to your Daily Read List.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Our friend Rich Robbins just tipped us off to what looks like a really cool book for kids called Unbored. Unbored features SeeClickFix as one of the activities for kids to get "unbored".
We love the idea of getting kids more involved in their neighborhoods at as early an age as possible. In the past we have facilitated neighborhood improvement activities with an Achievement First Classroom in Brooklyn that my sister Brianna taught as well as a Common Ground Highschool classroom in New Haven, CT.
We also believe that SeeClickFix is Serious Fun. Whether its the reward of fixing up a park bench or crushing your friends civic points score (just try and beat me) we have been quietly striving to create an experience validated by a definitive field guide on serious fun. When we see kids use SeeClickFix at a young age we also see them encourage their parents to get involved as well and that's a win for the neighborhood.
Thanks for the plug unbored! To find SeeClickFix and other apps such as http://www.turbvote.com in the book look for the Apps To Make Changes section.
On a snowy New England Day it seems like there's no better time to pick up the book.
You can find it on amazon here.
Friday, December 21, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - 1 comment
The more information that cities have about the priorities of their citizens, the more effectively they can customize municipal services to provide for their citizens' needs.
SeeClickFix enables our government partners to do this by providing them with data and analytics through our Dashboard. In addition to empowering city officials to respond efficiently to citizen requests, this helps municipalities to know what types of issues their citizens are reporting, which neighborhoods are creating the most issues, etc.
Richmond, VA deserves special recognition for innovative analysis of this data. To better understand the perspective of Richmond taxpayers, some creative city employees have developed customized reports like this one by using information from SeeClickFix. The reports help decision makers to deploy the city's resources more efficiently, addressing the practical concerns that affect the day to day lives of the people of Richmond.
We're happy that we can support Richmond in its ongoing work to improve the quality of the services it delivers, and we look forward to seeing more innovative uses of SeeClickFix data.
Monday, December 17, 2012 - By Emma - 4 comments
“Engaged citizens make neighborhoods healthy, municipalities vibrant, and states strong,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Commonwealth Connect holds the promise of helping our residents deepen their engagement in their communities and build new connections with their local governments.”
“As a Commonwealth, it is in our shared interest to provide communities with tools and resources to implement or improve regional services,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “Commonwealth Connect is an innovative opportunity to collaborate, regionalize and help maintain local services that will be delivered more effectively and efficiently.”
Funded by the Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program, the Commonwealth Connect app was inspired by the success of Citizens Connect, a mobile app launched in 2009 by Mayor Menino’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. Today, 20 percent of all quality of life requests the City of Boston receives from its residents comes from Citizens Connect, resulting in more than 35,000 improvements in Boston neighborhoods. To use Commonwealth Connect, residents with smart phones will simply download the app and launch it. They will snap a photo of the problem, note its location and submit it; the corresponding participating municipality will receive the request. The residents then get a tracking number for their case and can see when their issue is resolved.
“I am a strong believer that government is here to help people,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Through the success of Citizens Connect app, we have seen technology empower our residents, improve our neighborhoods, and help us deliver services that are not only more efficient but also more engaging.”
The City of Boston is able to share Commonwealth Connect with other communities through funding from the Community Innovation Challenge grant program. Launched in the FY12 budget and administered by the Executive Office for Administration & Finance, this program invests in innovations that have the potential to lower costs and improve critical services through regionalization, new uses of technology, and improved management practices. In the first round of this program, 100 applications were received from 285 cities & towns, and 27 grants for a total of $4 million were awarded. 138 communities are participating in the 27 projects.
"The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to providing key resources and tools to support our cities and towns in managing through this fiscal crisis and beyond," said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “Through regionalization of services, we are creating innovative opportunities for neighboring communities to build partnerships to deliver local services more effectively and efficiently."
Commonwealth Connect works seamlessly across participating municipalities. Residents can report issues using the same app in any of the 35 municipalities. In addition to a mobile app, participating municipalities, if interested, will also be provided with a web-based app that can be used on desktop computers and a work order management system to handle the requests. Through the grant, these products will all be provided to each municipality for three years for free. The app is expected to launch by the spring of 2013.
“In the last five years, the opportunities for government to engage citizens have radically changed, fueled by a revolution in consumer electronics, social media, and smart phones,” Boston Chief Information Officer Bill Oates said. “Commonwealth Connect is the next generation for these tools – an app that is not limited by municipal boundaries but one that is as dynamic as our residents.”
Participating municipalities include Ayer, Barnstable, Braintree, Brookfield, Chicopee, Clarksburg, Easton, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Halifax, Haverhill, Holliston, Lexington, Malden, Medway, Melrose, Middleborough, Nantucket, New Bedford, Newton, North Adams, Northampton, Orange, Revere, Somerville, Taunton, Wakefield, Watertown, West Boylston, Westborough, Whitman, and Woburn. Fifty-eight municipalities applied to be part of the program; these municipalities were selected in this round based on geography and the strength of their applications.
Commonwealth Connect is being developed in partnership between the City of Boston & SeeClickFix. Based in New Haven, CT, SeeClickFix is one of the pioneers of apps and services that allow residents to act on issues they see in their neighborhoods.
In the FY12 budget, Governor Patrick proposed the development of the CIC grant program to encourage and incentivize regionalization and other innovative efficiency initiatives. The CIC grant program was supported by the Legislature, providing $4 million for regionalization and other initiatives that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of local services. An additional $2.25 million in funding for the program was provided in the FY13 budget. Applications for the second round of this program, due November 30th, 2012, are currently under review and recipients will be announced in January 2013. In the second round of this program, 118 applications were received from 287 cities & towns. Commonwealth Connect is a project of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics: Mayor Menino’s Office of New Urban Mechanics focuses on piloting transformative services that leverage civic engagement and new technology.
"Transparency is SeeClickFix's Best Feature" How Bicycle Advocates brought SeeClickFix and Open Government to town
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
About one year ago we got a phone call from Jason Van Driesche at Local Motion in Burlington, VT.
Vermont is a State like most that is plagued with very tight municipal budgets, but Jason did not want that to hinder the opportunities in communication between citizens and government that the Internet was starting to offer other communities around the Country.
With all of the tools that we have built for Governments to manage citizen communication and service requests we really like this quote from Bill Ward, Director of Code Enforcement in Burlington, "Transparency is SeeClickFix's Best Feature." Its really nice to hear governments agree with citizens that transparency is a feature not a bug. Cheers to Bill and all other great folks in City Halls around the Country who are making good use of the transparency features of the Web.
Most of the partnerships between cities and SeeClickFix have occurred because citizens have brought the software to their City. Sometimes the partnership occurs because a city employee gets excited about using the tool in their personal life and wanted brings the process into City Hall. Its a rare case where the citizen organization purchases the software for the government but we have seen similar examples elsewhere. We love this story because its similar to how SeeClickFix was created. A few citizens looking to make change in their community from the bottom up CAN create that change in a constructive way that results in wins for both citizens and government partners in the community. That makes us pretty happy.
Check out the great story hot off the presses in Burlington for more.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - By Emma - No comments
Lately we have heard from many of our government clients about the need to send their crews out into the field armed with SeeClickFix data necessary for resolving issues. While some of our clients are using technology to provide this information to department staff hitting the streets, many more rely on paper work orders for their field crews. After hearing this feedback, SeeClickFix is happy to introduce our new printable work orders for government clients!
Will generating work orders from your SeeClickFix dashboard help streamline your internal workflow and save you time? Have feedback or questions about this new feature? Get in touch today!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix was recently praised in the Livable Communities section of AARP's website. They write:
"Many local governments do not have the funds or dedicated 311 hotlines to interact with its citizens for the various city issues its citizens encounter. SeeClickFix is a simple but elegant solution to this governmental challenge. It provides an interactive site where citizens can post the potholes, trash oversights, or other community issues those citizens see locally and local governments can respond using SeeClickFix. Local governments can use the site to reduce overhead costs and increase communication, interaction and participation with its city residents."
They go on to say,
"SeeClickFix enables residents and local governments to collaborate more effectively. This strengthens community ties, efficiency, and can enhance livability initiatives by providing local governments with residents’ perspective regarding community needs. In addition, it reduces the bureaucracy that many community residents may feel stifles their relationship with local officials."
It's gratifying to be recognized as a tool that makes a helpful contribution to the lives of senior citizens across the country, and we appreciate the AARP's kind words.
- By Emma - No comments
The SeeClickFix Team is happy to announce the launch of our newest municipal partner! Surrey, British Columbia will be using our mobile apps and web tools to improve customer service and maximize city resources. Read the city announcement below, report an issue in Surrey or download our apps!
The City of Surrey, BC has launched a new mobile phone app designed to make it easier for residents and businesses to submit service requests and report issues.
“We are simplifying the process for reporting concerns, which will improve customer service, save time and money, and make it easier for City crews to locate problems. We hope it will lead to more issues being reported and fixed in a timely manner,” says Mayor Dianne Watts.
The app allows people to take photos and report concerns such as potholes, illegal dumping, localized flooding, graffiti and other issues. The location of the problem is pinpointed through the smartphone’s built-in GPS, the service request is automatically entered into the City’s workflow system, and the user can easily check for updates on the status of the request.
“The smartphone app will make it easier for citizens to interact with the City. Coming into City Hall or calling a staff person to report an issue can be a time-consuming and costly way to conduct business,” says Councillor Linda Hepner, Chair of the Mayor’s Committee on Red Tape Reduction. She adds the City is reviewing all its policies and procedures to determine where efficiencies can be made.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
During Hurricane Sandy, SeeClickFix was one of a number of organizations collaborating across different levels of government to provide support for citizens affected by the storm. The U.S. General Services Administration recently organized a webinar with SeeClickFix and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to help describe some of the lessons learned through this experience.
The webinar can be viewed here. Ben Berkowitz, SeeClickFix's CEO, begins speaking at about the 32:00 minute mark.
Friday, November 16, 2012 - By Mike Cipressi - No comments
Hilton Collins at Government Technology writes on how SeeClickFix helped aid like Crisfield, MD during Hurricane Sandy. With emergency phone lines at their capacity, SeeClickFix helped alleviate the number of incoming calls by providing citizens with another channel for communicating storm related issues. With sites like the Huffington Post and local NBC sites hosting SeeClickFix Map Widgets, Crisfield and other affected communities were able to report sheltering needs that were monitored and managed by FEMA.Within weeks over 200 issues were submitted by Crisfield volunteers in helping clean their city. Read more here and view a time lapse of Sandy related issues as they were reported during the storm!
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
The good folks who produce PBS News Hour, MacNeil Lehrer Productions, have created an educational video for school age children to be shared in Public Schools around the Country. The subject of the video is civic engagement and 2 civic platforms helping to enable that engagement. SeeClickFix and Mind Mixer, another awesome and kindred civic start-up are feature here. Please share around with your neigbors.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
Polis, a blog about cities around the world, recently featured an interview with SeeClickFix CEO Ben Berkowitz. A few highlights of the interview are below. To read the entire interview, go here.
When you first brought the idea of using SeeClickFix to local government, what kind of response did you receive?
I was not expecting it to go as smoothly as it did. I didn't expect issues to get fixed when we made them public. I suspected that local government wouldn't like us right away. But it works, and it turns out most local government officials actually do want to do their jobs. More and more governments are partnering with us and not trying to look the other way. Also, I was surprised that so many governments started using our software for managing internal data. I have lots of faith in the engineers on our team and we're building really good software, but I thought that "legacy software" was more entrenched in local government than it was.
When I started, I had a very "us vs them, citizens vs government" mentality, and now I have more of a "we" mentality. There are people on both sides who can be disruptive to the community, and people on both sides that can really make the community a positive place.
Do you think SeeClickFix has succeeded in helping residents and local government connect?
Definitely. People have gotten together to resolve things, people have gotten together to discuss things, people have gotten together to lobby things, people have helped each other. Here's my anecdote of the week: Users reported a desire for a dog park in a previously unused public space, and we helped fundraise for the dog park and got it put up. I just saw a report that a woman's purse had been found in front of the dog park and was posted to SeeClickFix. I'm not sure if she's gotten her purse back yet, but it's amazing to think that the incident might not have been reported if that park hadn't been there.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - By Zack Beatty - No comments
To say that we've been busy here at SeeClickFix this past week would be an understatement. As a no-brainer service to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, we have been waiving all setup and software license fees for local governments that wanted to leverage the power of our crowd-sourced data platform in response and recovery efforts. In similar fashion, we have been waiving license fees for our premium, ad-free content widgets, for local, regional, and national media outlets that wanted to use our tools raise awareness of critical community problems with their readers.
Going one step further, we wanted to make all SeeClickFix storm-related reports available to any developers who want to leverage them for their own projects. To that end, we got connected early on with the #HurricaneHackers, a spontaneously connected group of software developers who were brainstorming and building online tools related to Hurricane Sandy. I want to take a moment to briefly outline the self-serve content partnership opportunities we presented to the tech community.
- Text widget (list only, optionally linking to a map widget landing page)
- Map widget, advanced (with issue list and report)
- Map widget, simple (to be deprecated)
hurricane,storm,sandy,flood,power,electricityYou can see live examples of SeeClickFix storm issue maps on The Huffington Post, NBC (Washington, Philadelphia, Connecticut), Boston.com, Philly.com, The Hour (Fairfield County, CT), and CT News Junkie.
Note, for these widgets related that to Hurricane Sandy, we will upgrade you to our premium ad-free platform at no charge.
We have a few different RSS feeds, each based off the URL slug of the place in question on our website. For example, the New York City SeeClickFix place page is seeclickfix.com/new-york), so the RSS feeds would be the following:
- Recent Issues: http://seeclickfix.com/new-york.rss
- Top Issues: http://seeclickfix.com/new-york/issues/top.rss
- Hot Issues: http://seeclickfix.com/new-york/issues/hot.rss
Obviously, for a custom software development project/mashup, you might need more flexibility than what it offered with our off-the-shelf widgets and RSS feeds. For these projects, we invite developers to take advantage of the SeeClickFix API.
For example, for a list of the most recently reported storm-related issues in a certain area (e.g. New York City), you could make one of the following API calls:
- JSON: http:seeclickfix.com/api/issues.json?at=New+York,+NY&sort=Issues.created_at&search=hurricane,storm,sandy,flood,power,electricity,%22tree%22
- XML: http://seeclickfix.com/api/issues.xml?at=New+York,+NY&sort=Issues.created_at&search=hurricane,storm,sandy,flood,power,electricity,%22tree%22
To retrieve details of a specific issue (e.g. "311 busy, nyc.gov website not working"), you could make one of the following API calls:
- JSON: http://seeclickfix.com/api/issues/260386.json
- XML: http://seeclickfix.com/api/issues/260386.xml
IdeasDo you have ideas for a SeeClickFix storm-related hack project? Get in touch, we'll try to help in any way we can.
SupportIf you need direct assistance with leveraging SeeClickFix content for your website or project, please contact me at @zbeat or zack [at] seeclickfix [dot] com. Again, if you're using a widget related to the hurricane, be sure to reach out to have us remove the banner ads free of charge.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
In a quick time-out from helping folks use SeeClickFix to recover from Sandy we wanted to share one of our favorite stories of communities coming together around this devastating event.
Having heard about the platform from an article in the WSJ last month written by Steven Berlin Johnson a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, John K. Phoebus, reached out to ask for help with the software to enable volunteers to get involved in the cleanup effort. In a thank you letter to Mr Johnson Crisfield writes of the impact the social web on Crisfield, MD
I want to thank you for an article you wrote back in September. You wrote about SeeClickFix, a startup that lets people report potholes to their town government.
Monday, Crisfield, Maryland was hit harder than any other community in Maryland by Hurricane Sandy. Swift boat rescue teams had to go by boat house to house to rescue people from flooding worse than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. As word of the devastation spread, we were fortunate that, through social media, so many people learned of the devastation that the hurricane brought to our town and offered to help.
As offers to help came pouring in, I realized that our municipal and county governments wouldn’t be able to harness the energy of volunteers because they were so busy providing basic services to their citizens. The chamber of commerce, in cooperation with the City of Crisfield, took on the task of organizing these volunteers. I offered to lead the effort as a chamber member and, as I did, I remembered the article you wrote about SeeClickFix.
On a whim, in the middle of the night/early morning on Wednesday, I emailed the CEO, after a quick online search and told him about our town. I will forward to you the email I sent when I can find it. The same day, I heard back and they offered to set us up with a free service to let us use this app to identify and report damage from Hurricane Sandy that our volunteers can help fix.
Today at 1 p.m. we had the first meeting of volunteers, who downloaded the app, and spread out through town. In a few hours, we had made it through half of the town, identifying 85 issues. Tomorrow, we delve into the hardest hit area of town and will probably triple that number.
I’m thanking you because, if it hadn’t been for your article, I wouldn’t have heard of SeeClickFix and we wouldn’t have had such success in using their generous offer to organize the volunteers in our town. If you’re interested, you can read about our efforts at this websitehttps://sites.google.com/site/crisfieldcleanupproject/home, which we put together to organize the effort or look for the Crisfield, Maryland facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/crisfieldmd
If we didn’t have this app, we wouldn’t have been able to harness this energy so effectively. Instead of a bunch of people in the back office organizing things, everyone is out on the street clearing debris out of homes and getting trees off of cars and homes.
Since writing the letter Crisfield is now using SeeClickFix to alert FEMA to what they are calling "white towel homes" or homes that are in need of assistance. FEMA has asked residents to put a towel on the door if they need help and the volunteers are just starting to document those homes with SeeClickFix. John sent us an email 5 minutes ago to update us on today's events,
“FEMA is on the ground here, but we have not yet been declared a disaster. They now have us using your tool to log “white flag” houses as part of their preliminary damage assessment. (They actually want all of Somerset County on here, but I’m working with what I have)
If you look at our Issues dashboard we now have “white flag” house as a category and are using the app to find people who need food and shelter."
Hurricane Sandy is serving as a reminder that the Internet, and specifically open platforms designed to connect people and resolve problems, can help government expand the act of governance to its citizens and organizational partners in the community.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - By Emma - 2 comments
As calls to New York City's 911 center poured in at 10 times the normal volume during the height of Hurricane Sandy, citizens across the Northeast in the path of the storm turned to SeeClickFix to report non-emergency issues. In the wake of this week's record-breaking storm, BloombergBusinessweek
recognized the important role SeeClickFix plays in reducing the number
of 911 calls for non-emergency issues during crisis situations.
SeeClickFix CEO Ben Berkowitz told the outlet that citizens in Sandy's path logged over 800 reports from Monday afternoon through midday Tuesday. Residents in Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven and Washington, DC, as well as from other municipalities across the region, shared information about downed trees, flooded roads and other public space concerns caused by the storm.
BloombergBusinessweek also highlighted the important role our media partners played throughout the storm, highlighting Philly.com, NBC Washington and The Huffington Post as a few of the outlets outlets to embed SeeClickFix map widgets where readers could readily report storm damage in their area.
- By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix enables citizens to document concerns they have in their community so that they can get them addressed. This process is often facilitated by individuals using their own name's as their display names so that they can collaborate with their neighbors. For instance, concerned parents would be interested in knowing that a friend drew attention to a downed stop sign on a street where a lot of kids play. No one minds having their names affiliated with SeeClickFix issues like these.
This is not always the case.
Occasionally, situations arise in which a SeeClickFix user wants to post a potentially contentious issue. Pointing out a blighted property can be sensitive, for example, and users may not care to be identified as having reported this type of problem.
This is where Anonymous Reporting comes in.
SeeClickFix recently launched a new feature that allows logged in users the option of reporting an issue without having it associated with their account. They'll be able to track problems and receive status updates just like normal, but their display names will no longer be associated with the issues. As you can see in our standard reporting form to the left, users can take advantage of this feature by simply checking a box.
We're dedicated to constantly improving our user's experience, so that they experience as little friction as possible when attempting to improve their community, and we look forward to rolling out more helpful features in the near future like Anonymous Reporting.
Monday, October 29, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix providing free services for media, citizens in path of record storm
New Haven, Conn. - As Hurricane Sandy descends upon the East Coast, national and regional media outlets are encouraging readers to report and track storm damage using innovative, interactive mapping tools on their websites. Powered by SeeClickFix, these maps allow residents anywhere in the path of the storm to report damage from the heavy winds and rain Sandy is expected to unleash on the region. Reports submitted through these tools are publicly visible to others in the area and, in many cases, routed via email to local governments affected by the storm.
Regional publications such as the Bangor Daily News in Bangor, ME and all of the Journal Register Company's outlets in the path of the storm have proactively sought out the storm-specific widgets from SeeClickFix to ensure their readers can stay informed and document damage in their communities. The Huffington Post has also embeded a widget to provide access for readers across the eastern seaboard in Sandy's path.
"SeeClickFix has proven to be an essential tool for media to leverage in the face of emergency events such as Sandy," said Ben Berkowitz, CEO of SeeClickFix. "Having access to realtime information from others in communities affected by the storm is critical for both the safety of citizens, as well as for the post-storm cleanup efforts that will be taking place once the hurricane passes."
SeeClickFix map widgets for media can be used for free and can be customized to display issues specific to a geographic area. More so, the maps can be configured to display only realtime information about storm damage. Reports about storm damage can be submitted through these widgets on media websites and mobile websites, as well as through SeeClickFix's website and mobile apps.
Posts with images of the damage are already coming in and based on previous years experience the map will be filled up by tomorrow am.
Thursday, October 25, 2012 - By Emma - No comments
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and SeeClickFix, the most widely-distributed citizen reporting tool in the world, today launched a partnership that will allow the City of Chicago’s 311 service center to improve the public’s ability to submit and track 311 service requests. Last month, Mayor Emanuel opened the 311 platform for developers to create applications that enhance the public’s ability to submit service requests in new ways. SeeClickFix, which has more than 500 unique early-users in Chicago reporting thousands of issues, has now integrated Chicago’s Open311 tools into their platform, thereby empowering residents to submit service requests via SeeClickFix.com, iPhone, Android and Facebook applications. Of SeeClickFix’s nearly 100 partner cities, Chicago is the largest one to launch a fully integrated connection with the site.
“Chicago launched Open311 as part of our unprecedented commitment to make City data more accessible and empower taxpayers,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I’m pleased that we can work with SeeClickFix to create new ways to improve service delivery, increase government accountability and improve the quality of life for all Chicagoans.”
When someone submits a service request on SeeClickFix, the City will automatically post a confirmation and a service number. For the most popular service requests, a tracking number and link will be posted enabling residents to use Chicago’s 311 Service Tracker to see the status of their issue and sign up to receive an email notification when it has been resolved.
SeeClickFix was originally launched in 2008 by entrepreneurs Ben Berkowitz, Kam Lasater, Jeff Blasius and Miles Lasater, as a means to encourage civic involvement and improve government responsiveness. While Chicagoans have had access to SeeClickFix since the company launched in 2008 and have become a loyal and active user base, the tool wasn’t seamlessly integrated directly to 311. According to Berkowitz, cities that integrate more fully into SeeClickFix tend to see as much as a 10-fold increase in engagement per week, measured by the number of requests and comments submitted by residents.
“Chicagoans are clearly passionate about their city and actively involved in reporting issues to 311,” said Berkowitz. “Integrating SeeClickFix tools empowers residents to connect with each other, their alderman and their city to work together to improve Chicago community by community.”
SeeClickFix’s platform also allows aldermen to see issues being reported in their neighborhoods. With the automatic integration into 311, aldermen no longer need to manually input those requests into 311.
“Combining the technology behind Open311 and SeeClickFix allows aldermanic offices to spend more time addressing constituent issues,” said Alderman James Cappleman, “We’ve been impressed with SeeClickFix’s tools and applaud Mayor Emanuel’s dedication to making City government more open and responsive to the needs of Chicagoans.”
This announcement comes at the onset of the largest growth period for SeeClickFix, which is in the process of partnering with large cities outside Chicago including Toronto, Minneapolis and Mason City, Iowa as well as small towns like Andover, MA and Hendersonville, NC. In the coming month SeeClickFix will launch integrations and new software interfaces for managing citizen requests for cities covering more than 10 million people.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
The slogan for the magazine Real Simple is "Life Made Easier." It's no wonder that the magazine selected SeeClickFix as its "App of the Month" for November 2012, because SeeClickFix makes life so much easier for people who want to improve their community.
We're happy that SeeClickFix is continuing to receive recognition for the practical way it helps citizens to engage with their community, and look forward to working with more cities to make this possible for more people.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix recently rolled out in Smith County, TX, and is already making a big splash. A team at KLTV reported this great story on a citizen who was able to bring attention to a potentially dangerous situation by the side of a road.
We're psyched to be working with Smith County, and look forward to helping to solve more tricky problems like this along with the County government and local citizens.
Friday, October 5, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
Citizens in Charlotte were tired of watching perfectly good water leak down their road, week after week. They had tried to contact the city, but were generally given the run around, and received no clear information about when the issue would actually be dealt with. So, they turned to SeeClickFix.
SeeClickFix does not currently partner with the city of Charlotte, but we do have a fantastic media partner there in WBTV. As you can see on the original issue, WBTV's own Christine Nelson logged on to the issue to reach out to the citizens. She brought a television crew to the location of the leak, and did a story on the problem.
The very next day, the leak was fixed, as you can see in this report. As the citizen in the interview explains, "Clean water is hard to come by." We're happy we were able to play a role in getting a resolution for these frustrated citizens, and in preventing any more water from being wasted.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - By Emma - No comments
“Communication is a key ingredient for success. By utilizing this type of technology to bridge the gap between offline traditional communication and on the go modernized mobile/web applications I believe that we will be able to increase communication and encourage greater civic participation”, said Christopher Reed, Raton Economic Development Director. “We all are working toward a common goal for our area. To get where we need to be will ultimately be a communal effort and by empowering the citizens we will be able to pool our resources and attain our goals together.”
With the online and mobile reporting platform, residents can report NON-EMERGENCY infrastructure issues through service request categories via the Raton website (www.ratonnm.gov), mobile applications (iPhone, Android), Facebook App, and SeeClickFix.com. When submitting issues via mobile app, for example, residents can provide specific location, descriptive, and photographic information as they see the issue in real time.
Once the resident submits an issue, the reporter, City of Raton, and anyone ‘watching’ the area will receive an alert. The City of Raton can then acknowledge the service request, route it to the proper department, and update the request—and residents following the issue—once it’s been resolved. City officials stress SeeClickFix is for non-emergency problems. Example problems that can be reported by using SeeClickFix include potholes,street sign repairs, street lights out, etc. If someone has an emergency, or if the problem requires immediate attention, please call 911. To download the application on your phone visit your respective application market and search SeeClickFix.
Friday, September 28, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
Many people are discouraged about the level of political discourse in the United States, in part because of the usual and tired "Right vs. Left" arguments that are unfolding in the Presidential campaign currently going on. The frustration about the lack of innovative thinking in politics is understandable, but in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Steven Johnson contends that there are reasons to be optimistic about American political culture, and cites SeeClickFix as evidence.
And continues, "Consider the maps released earlier this month by the New Haven, Conn., organization SeeClickFix. Zooming in on a city neighborhood, you will see clusters of color hovering over certain blocks. Those bands indicate urban problems that ordinary citizens have reported using the SeeClickFix app: gaping potholes, abandoned cars, graffiti. So far, city governments have used the data to address more than 125,000 cases in neighborhoods across the U.S."
It's very satisfying to be recognized in this way. SeeClickFix is intended to facilitate pragmatic solutions to everyday concerns, but also to be a disruptive force that changes the way government is conducted. These two objectives go hand in hand, and its important not to lose sight of either.
In the editorial, Johnson is referencing our new geographies feature that was launched in a recent round new features, but we see more examples of this every day. For example, our hometown of New Haven is aggressively innovating in the way it delivers city services by leveraging SeeClickFix. WBTV in Charlotte, a SeeClickFix media partner, brought attention to a drain that had long been broken, which prompted the city to resolve the problem.
As Steven Johnson notes, if you only read the headlines, you're probably going to be discouraged about politics in America. The local conversations that SeeClickFix is facilitating to enable citizens to improve their neighborhoods demonstrate that there is more to the story, and provide reasons to be optimistic after all.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - By Emma - No comments
SeeClickFix can be accessed by Hendersonville residents through the City’s website (cityofhendersonville.org) or by downloading the SeeClickFix app for iPhone or Android. Residents with Blackberry or Window’s Phone smartphones can report via SeeClickFix’s mobile website on their device browser. The program will prompt the user to report non-emergency issues using a description and specific location. Once an issue is reported, the user will receive updates about the status of the problem, and again when the problem is resolved. Reported issues and resolutions submitted by other users can also be seen. The user also has the capability to take a photo of the problem and submit it directly through the smartphone app and web tools.
Bo Ferguson, Hendersonville City Manager, feels that it will be beneficial to empower all residents and visitors of Hendersonville to help find problems and get them resolved. "This technology opens the door for everyone to play a role in making our community better," said Ferguson. "We only have 210 employees, but we have 13,500 citizens and 26,000 water customers. By giving all those people a tool to find and report issues, we’re poised to do a much better job of identifying and responding to our citizens’ and customers’ needs."
While the program is a great way for citizens to get their concerns addressed by the City, it’s also a push forward in modern communication. The idea surfaced several years ago as the City of Hendersonville explored opportunities to provide services using new technology. The integration of SeeClickFix and Cityworks in Hendersonville leverages this technology to benefit both residents and city staff.
“The tools provided by SeeClickFix allow citizens to easily report problems while allowing the City to have the data geocoded and integrated into our existing work order management system,” said Hendersonville GIS Analyst Rachel Magyary. “This data is used by our crews to help organize our work more efficiently and resolve issues.”
SeeClickFix has already been used to report several issues in Hendersonville ranging from drainage problems to missing street signs to garbage dumped on the side of the road. Photos have also been sent to clarify several of the reported issues.
“SeeClickFix was designed to help bridge customer service and social media to make positive change happen more quickly and efficiently,” said Ferguson. “We are really excited about what this program can mean for Henderson County.”
Monday, September 24, 2012 - By Emma - No comments
Last week, the New Haven Independent highlighted the city's latest step towards going completely paperless - handling requests to care for New Haven's 52,000 trees using SeeClickFix! Until recently, the parks department relied on a paper-based system for monitoring and resolving tree-trimming and removal jobs. Now equipped with our new mapping and geo-filtering features, the parks department is the latest in the Elm City to benefit from the automatic, one-to-many communication the SeeClickFix platform offers to both governments and citizens.
|A New Haven parks department crews using their SeeClickFix dashboard in the field. Image c/o the New Haven Independent|
The Independent spoke with Rob Smuts, the city's Chief Administrative Officer, as well as Christy Haas, the New Haven parks department Deputy Director, about the switch to SeeClickFix for these types of requests. In addition to all current tree-trimming requests, completed requests dating back to March of 2011 have been input into our database for the city. The consolidation will allow New Haven to manage and report on all requests from one centralized and paperless point. As New Haven moves to implement SeeClickFix citywide, the parks department is the first to go live with the new protocol for managing reports. As our platform is expanded across departments, reports submitted via phone or in person will all be input directly into SeeClickFix.
We're thrilled to see the City of New Haven saving paper, improving response time and promoting transparency using our platform! Interested in consolidating past and current reports into your SeeClickFix dashboard? Contact us to learn more about our professional services and take a step towards a paperless workflow in your city or town!
Friday, September 21, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
Ben Berkowitz is the CEO of SeeClickFix, a Web tool that saves local governments a lot of time. Taxpayers go online to write and send reports about non-emergency issues like potholes, graffiti or other incidents, which means they don’t need to call their local 311 lines for the same purpose. The application has national 311 potential, possibly sparing government operators from tearing their hair out due to large call volumes.
Check out this interview with Ben from the feature below:
Thursday, September 20, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix's Zack Beatty was recently in Chicago for Block by Block, a conference for Hyperlocal news enthusiasts and outlets. While there, Zack chatted with Amy Gahran, and a journalist for Knight Digital Media.
Amy's piece does great job of explaining why SeeClickFix is such a valuable tool for Hyperlocal outlets. She writes:
Other than cool eye candy, this kind of widget can benefit hyperlocal sites and the communities they serve in several ways.
First, SeeClickFix reports can be a story and source mine. Having the widget on your site makes it easy to stay aware of community-reported issues, help you spot specific incidents or topics to cover, or help you find sources or quotes to round out your coverage.
The widget also can serve as a general community dashboard or scanner. And if your site sometimes focuses on certain themes, such as transit and alternative transportation, you may want to generate issue-specific widgets to complement your stories or sections.
Zack also highlighted some ways that SeeClickFix is enabling cities to rely on input from citizens in non-traditional ways:
In some cases, SeeClickFix has become a way for citizens to help local governments solve problems. "That happens a lot with reports related to traffic and parking," Beatty said. "In one long-running thread I'm following, about reconfiguring a dangerous intersection, architects and other local experts have drawn up detailed plans and done significant research into possible solutions. The result is the equivalent of a year's worth of free consulting to the city."
We hope that more hyper-local news organizations leverage SeeClickFix in their important work for their community!
Monday, September 10, 2012 - By Zack Beatty - No comments
For over two years, SeeClickFix media partner The Saratogian has published a column entitled SeeClickFix Series, highlighting civic and public space issues identified and reported by residents throughout Saratoga Springs, NY. The latest installment brings attention to a dangerous intersection first reported back in April of 2010. As the article points out:
The intersection is not actually one junction, but two placed close together. Gilbert Road intersects with Lake Avenue at an odd angle, and approximately 100 feet away Lake Avenue intersects with Weibel Avenue at a light. In between those two intersections lie two business entrances — to a busy Stewart’s Shop and an office building.In response to the original SeeClickFix report, concerned citizens suggested a variety of solutions, from the installation of traffic lights, to the reduction of speed limits, to the construction of a roundabout. One SeeClickFixer recommended adding an on-ramp to I-87 (Adirondack Northway) from Lake Avenue, as a way to reduce the number of cars that pass through the.
As city desk reporter Lucian McCarty confirms:
[DOT spokeswoman Carol] Breen said she would have the intersection added to the list of those being studied. A study, she said, would observe the traffic volume, how left turns are handled and the number of accidents. "They’ll see if there is anything that needs to be done". The study should be taken up shortly, according to Breen.Of particular note, this illustrates how SeeClickFix can be of particular aide in drawing attention to the dangerous intersections of roads of mixed jurisdiction. In the case, a Saratoga Springs city road (Gilbert Road) joins two state roads (Route 29 & Weibel Avenue), thus requiring involvement from the New York State Dept. of Transportation.
About SeeClickFix media tools
The Saratogian uses a SeeClickFix media widget not only to engage their audience and improve their community, but also to generate unique hyper-local content and boost repeat website traffic. Our reporting and mapping tools connect their website with readers, and readers with their local government, for solving non-emergency public space issues. Citizens use the widget not only to post new concerns, but also to support the existing concerns of friends and neighbors by adding comments, adding photos or videos, and voting to fix.
- By Ben Berkowitz - 2 comments
We've been tirelessly working on a redesign of the website based on feedback from you our Government and Citizen users and Media Partners. Daniel Stainback, our fabulous designer and UX programmer was on the bulk of the work but it took the whole team to put the finishing touches on the release.
We could go on and on about the various updates in the release, but if we did this right you'll come across them and let us know what you think. Our main goal in this design was to help you create issues and help make it easier for you to get more support for your existing reported issues.
Play around and let us know what you think in the comments here or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you like the redesign we'd love it if you thank our lovely designer by posting on twitter or FB:
" Thanks @lyften and @SeeClickFix team for the lovely redesign: http://bit.ly/TJqNO0 "
Friday, September 7, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
Geo-Filtering: Sort and search for issue by district, neighborhood
Issues by source chart now includes new “City Initiated” category
Canned Messages – Update issues and inform citizens with one click
- ► 2013 (119)
- Woburn Mass joins the SeeClickFix Community with t...
- Daily Nutmeg Features SeeClickFix
- Unbored The Essential Field Guide for Serious Fun ...
- Richmond Uses SeeClickFix Data to Develop Custom A...
- SeeClickFix, City of Boston Introduce Innovative A...
- "Transparency is SeeClickFix's Best Feature" How B...
- New Client Feature: Printable Work Orders
- AARP recognizes SeeClickFix
- Surrey, BC Launches SeeClickFix!
- SeeClickFix featured in GSA webinar
- GovTech.com talks SeeClickFix Post-Sandy Relief Ef...
- SeeClickFix and Mind Mixer as Civic inspirations f...
- Polis interviews Ben Berkowitz
- Leveraging SeeClickFix Open Content for Hurricane ...
- Sandy Storm Damage visualization by Dan Bernier
- Volunteers, Local Governments and FEMA use the Int...
- BloombergBusinessweek Talks SeeClickFix, Hurricane...
- New Feature: Anonymous Reporting
- Regional and National Media Leverage Open Platform...
- Mayor Emanuel Announces Innovative Partnership wit...
- SeeClickFix featured in Real Simple
- SeeClickFix is already a hit in Smith County TX
- Friday Fix
- City of Raton, NM launches SeeClickFix
- SeeClickFix featured in the Wall Street Journal
- City of Hendersonville Launches New Technology for...
- Saving Paper and Trimming Trees with SeeClickFix
- SeeClickFix CEO Ben Berkowitz selected as a "GovTe...
- Knight Digital Media features SeeClickFix in cover...
- SeeClickFix Issue Leads to NYSDOT Traffic Study
- New Site Design launched over weekend. What do you...
- New Features for SeeClickFix Clients!
- ▼ December (7)
- ► 2011 (205)
- ► 2010 (264)
- ► 2009 (134)
- ► 2008 (62)