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.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - By Kevin Donohue - No comments
SeeClickFix was recently praised in the Livable Communities section of AARP's website. They write:
- 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.
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- AARP recognizes SeeClickFix
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