Jesse Bounds talks about the “311 volley” at the last OpenGov Meetup.
Update September 14: One month later and the Service Tracker is now live. Input your SR number and watch its status (hopefully) change.
At the August OpenGov Meetup, Jesse Bounds, developer with Code for America, demonstrated some of the tools to interface with “Open 311” that are available now for many cities around the country to improve city services data collection and presentation. John Tolva, Chicago’s Chief Technology Officer working with Bounds and other Code for America fellows, said that a read and write programming interface for developers will be available “in weeks, not months”.
You can view two of the tools now, but neither show information from Chicago until the launch. They’re part of “311 Labs”: The Daily Brief, and Open 311 Status – both of these are designed for non-developers. Bounds also showed off the “311 Service Request Tracker”, which was designed after shipping company package tracking websites. It shows step-by-step the process for a citizen’s request for service.
Continue reading Open 311 public tools and developer access for Chicago “weeks” away
This is the second story of two about the “Designing Chicago” launch party. See “Why do these people love the CTA?“
Greater Good Studio of Logan Square intends to build a mobile app that will showcase a new map of the CTA. It will have some other features as well, but determining what those are will be left up to backers who help contribute to the app’s fundraising on Kickstarter. The studio is led by George Aye and his wife Sara Cantor Aye, two Chicago designers.
According to George, the CTA prints out 750,000 copies of its system map every year. “I want to make it smaller, easier, more usable on the go, for someone that’s not very familiar with it. I’ve talked to Dennis McClendon [the original designer of the current CTA map], and others who agree, that the map is more useful for people who’re somewhat experts on the system.”
The Ayes want to raise $125,000 via Kickstarter to create this app. And those who “back it” at a certain level are invited to become developers of the app. It’s crowd sourced funding, and crowd sourced design. Continue reading Logan Square designers are attempting to figure out if a crowd can fund a new CTA map
A woman walks in the street after snowmageddon 2011. The City administration wants to avoid forcing people to walk in the street. Photo by Jim Watkins.
Mayor Emanuel announced on Tuesday, in a press release, a new website and effort to address snow shoveling and removal problems. The complete effort is packaged nicely on ChicagoShovels.org. It has many features, and I’ll focus on three (only one of which is available right now):
- Plow Tracker – When there’s a snow storm, the position of every snow plow will be tracked and published on a map. See Plow Tracker in action.
- Adopt-A-Sidewalk – Claim a portion of the sidewalk that you’ll shovel, and share your equipment with neighbors (coming soon).
- Snow Corps – Become a volunteer to shovel the sidewalk and door path to seniors and people who are disabled who call 311 to request a volunteer.
Continue reading Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter
Imagine photographing with your smartphone this metal plate that’s supposed to cover the sewer at Bloomingdale Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue and immediately uploading it to the City’s 311 system for fixing. That’s the power of Open311. (It’s finally being repaired.)
311 is a phone number and a service request management system that the City of Chicago operates to give information to citizens (about services the city provides) and collect information from them (about situations that need fixing).
311 was implemented in 1999. In 2011, 12 years later, it’s not yet possible to make a request online and receive a tracking number (called an SR number for “service request”). I know there are apps and platforms in other cities that allow for a more modern way to collect and submit requests for service. This year I read that Code for America would hire young programmers to come to Chicago and “convert” the old 311 to what’s called Open311. Continue reading Street issues, 311, and apps: tying them all together – part 1