Open 311 public tools and developer access for Chicago “weeks” away


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

Plow Tracker not ready for prime time


Thursday was the first time the City of Chicago turned on Plow Tracker, a website that shows the location of every snow plow in the “Snow Command” I reported on last week.

The web application could use some improvement. When I loaded the website at 11:50 AM, the map never loaded – searching for “plow tracker” on Twitter brought up a flurry of messages about the website, leading me to presume that the server was overloaded. The remaining page elements took over 60 seconds to load. On a second load I saw the map appeared as did 183 iterations of the funky snow plow icon.

Continue reading Plow Tracker not ready for prime time