Government Technology

Boston Developing Apple iPhone Application to Report City Complaints



July 8, 2009 By

Boston is preparing to roll out its first iPhone application, Citizen Connect, which will allow citizens to place complaints that would usually be made through a telephone hotline. Citizens will be able to take a picture of a city nuisance -- like a pothole or graffiti -- with their iPhone and use the app to send the report to City Hall, complete with location information.

Christopher Loh, press assistant to Mayor Thomas Menino, said the city's senior adviser for emerging technology, Nigel Jacob, realized that the iPhone's mapping technology and camera could be used to offer citizens another way to connect with the city.

Loh said the app will enter the testing phase next week when approximately 70 people start using it. He said the testers will include City Hall employees, like management information system staff and people who work directly with the complaint hotline, and volunteers from outside city government. Citizen Connect should go live in mid- to late August, Loh said. It will be offered as a free download from Apple's iPhone App Store.

Connected Bits, a New Hampshire software company, developed the iPhone application. Loh said Boston came to an agreement with Connected Bits that it would pay for the application after the testing period if it fulfilled the city's requirements. According to Loh, the cost will be about $25,000, which includes the engineering work that began in late February.

"It's just a really cool application, and it's going to be fun to see where it leads because if this is successful, I can only imagine that there are other applications that could be developed as well," Loh said. "So we'll see how this one goes, but people around [City Hall] and Boston are really excited about it because of the possibilities that it has."

iPhone Inspiration

Boston isn't the first government to find inspiration from the iPhone. Utah launched the Utah.gov application earlier this year. It lets users search for state agencies' contact information and browse government services. The state also released the Professional License Lookup app that lets users check on the professional license status of doctors, nurses, contractors, accountants and others.

In June, San Francisco released EcoFinder, an iPhone app that locates where residents should recycle and dispose of certain materials. The application is based on a city XML feed and uses location-based software to identify a resident's closest recycling facility. San Francisco also teamed up with Twitter to allow citizens to make 311 service requests or complaints to the city's call center. CoTweet, a Twitter enterprise platform, manages and tracks messages, and a third-party application lets citizens attach photos with their requests.

 


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Redefining Citizen Engagement in a Mobile-First World
Today’s consumers are embracing the ease and convenience of anytime, anywhere access to the Internet from their mobile devices. In order for government and public sector organizations to fully engage with their citizens and provide similar service quality as their consumer counterparts, the time is now to shift to mobile citizen engagement. Learn more
McAfee Enterprise Security Manager and Threat Intelligence Exchange
As a part of the Intel® Security product offering, McAfee® Enterprise Security Manager and McAfee Threat Intelligence Exchange work together to provide organizations with exactly what they need to fight advanced threats. You get the situational awareness, actionable intelligence, and instantaneous speed to immediately identify, respond to, and proactively neutralize threats in just milliseconds.
Better security. Better government.
Powering security at all levels of government with simpler, more connected IT.
View All

Featured Papers