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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Citizen Engagement Apps Made Easy

 
November 4th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

Collecting feedback from citizens has always been a challenge for local government. Pot holes, graffiti, localised flooding, blocked roads are all citizen and local government concerns. But having a simple system in place which is easy for citizens to use, and local governments to view and act upon, has proven difficult and expensive. We have all done it, wanted to report an issue of concern. Usually we would phone the city office, be passed between departments and finally our concern noted by a staff member. And that was that; no feedback mechanism for citizens – the issue is in our system and will be fixed tomorrow – and no way for city staff to centrally log the issue.

Sure, there are systems in place which provide this mechanism, but they are often very expensive. That is not the case any more. New technology means citizen engagement apps are now easy to develop. Thus the title of this post ‘Citizen Engagement Apps Made Easy’. Here we will discuss new approaches to engaging with citizens using location technology.

Citizen Engagement Apps Made Easy

There are certain key elements to any successful citizen engagement app:

1) Available across devices – The app should work on phones, tablets or PC’s. So issue reporting anytime and any place.
2) Simple and intuitive – Citizens should find using the app easy.
3) Centrally stored data – all reported issues should be stored in one location for easy access by local government staff.
4) Feedback mechanism – There should be a feedback mechanism built into the apps allowing local government staff to respond individually to the citizen concern.

Location should be a key part of the reporting mechanism. WebMapSolutions have developed a location-driven citizen engagement application:

The application allows users to tap a location on the map. Select the type of problem and input additional information including contact information, attach an image and send.

The information is stored centrally in the local government system leveraging cloud technology. Local government staff can then view, query and search this data. Responding to citizens and instructing field based crews to fix the problem. The app is simple to use by citizens and data easily accessed by staff.

At WebMapSolutions we have been building ever more citizen focused applications. If you are looking to improve your web site and how you interact with citizens let us know. We may have a solution.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, Web and mobile GIS

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