Thursday, February 7, 2013 - By Zack Beatty - No comments

Blizzard Prep: Help Yourself, Help Your Neighbor, Help Your Neighborhood!

Communities across the Northeast are bracing for potentially historic Winter Storm Nemo, a blizzard predicted to dump up to 2 feet of snow in Boston and up to 10 inches in New York City. Current models predict this could match the New England blizzard of 1978. Yikes!  With respect to the "be prepared" motto, we'd be remiss not to remind our users how SeeClickFix is being used to mitigate some of the effects, and improve the quality of life, in affected communities.

The power of decentralized peer networks is well documented, and SeeClickFix has figured prominently in the movement towards crowdsourced community data. In the aftermath of a snow storm, local governments have used SeeClickFix to identify locations of large snowbanks that need to be cleared. In similar fashion, publishers have used our web and mobile platform to identify locations of inaccessible newspaper boxes, blocked by snow and ice. One user described SeeClickFix as the ultimate snow storm tool, as it allows citizens to report the exact GPS location of unplowed roads and public spaces. As a result, local governments can be more efficient in their response, allocating plowing resources with crowdsourced data at hand.

In fact, we are already hearing today from client cities who are preparing to use our CRM dashboard to monitor incoming storm-related requests from their residents, commuters, business owners, and visitors.  These cities and towns proactively use our civic mobile app platform as their official "311" service, encouraging residents to use our platform to communicate important non-emergency issues to them.
But we're aware that many of our loyal users live in communities that haven't yet boarded the #OpenGov train. So as not to put a financial hurdle in the way of potential quality of life improvements, we're waiving all license fees for any local government that wants to take advantage of our government dashboard, to aide their response during and after this storm. Contact us if you're interested.

In parallel to official government adoption, SeeClickFix serves as an important tool for keeping citizens connected with each other. On a daily basis, users post issues that are not requests or complaints addressed to their local government, but rather, ideas, calls to action, or requests for assistance addressed to their neighbors.  In the case of this pending snowstorm, SeeClickFix is already being used to connect neighbors who need shoveling assistance, in particular the elderly, with neighbors who want to volunteer their labor.  Journalist Erica Schlaikjer from EMBARQ used SeeClickFix to mobilize "snow helpers" in Washington D.C., to clear sidewalks & bus stops.  Today, Boston web community Neighbors For Neighbors has organized a volunteer network of shovelers helping elderly & disabled neighbors get out from under the snow, powered by a SeeClickFix mapping & reporting widget. You can follow the latest requests for assistance at #SnowCrew on Twitter.

You can use the map widget below to make requests for storm-related assistance from neighbors, as well as to find people near you who are in need. Media outlets, please reach out if you want to embed a custom storm-related map on your website, geographically zoomed and centered on your exact distribution area.

Thanks for helping to keep your streets plowed, your neighbors' homes and vehicles accessible, and your neighborhood safe. Love thy neighbor? Definitely, but as we at SeeClickFix like to say, Love Thy Neighborhood. :)



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