Getting potholes and neighborhood problems in Minneapolis fixed just got a lot faster if you've got a smartphone, thanks to the city's new partnership with civic-minded tech company SeeClickFix.
Today, Mayor RT Rybak and City Councilmembers Robert Lilligren and Gary Schiff will announce the launch of a new, free iPhone app for the city's popular 311 service. Blackberry and Android users will be able to access the same service through SeeClickFix's website.
SeeClickFix started in 2008 as a way to bridge the gap between citizens and local governments that 311-type telephone services and cities' traditional ways of monitoring problems never really bridged. Leveraging a host of technologies like editable Google maps, the company aimed to give citizens a way to track individual problems like burnt-out streetlights or quality or life crimes, tell their governments about them, and maybe hold them accountable if nothing got fixed.
To get our own sneak-peek at the app, Patch took it for a spin Tuesday afternoon. Users of SeeClickFix's website will likely feel at home. To report a problem, users can use their phone's GPS coordinates, or maneuver a sniper scope-like crosshairs around a map of the city. After describing and categorizing the problem, and even uploading a photo, the report gets sent to both city officials.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the ticket is also pinned to a public map that users can search for "fixed" and "outstanding issues."
According to the SeeClickFix website, the service has been used by New Haven, CT police to track crimes and make several "major arrests."
In an announcement emailed to reporters, a city spokesperson said the mayor would outline how the app will "streamline city services," but as of press time, Patch had not received a response to an email asking for specifics.
Rybak, Lilligren, and Schiff will be introducing the app at 10:15 a.m. on Wedndesday, at the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct headquarters