When we talk about Smart Cities and online communities, we can say that collaboration and citizen engagement can drastically change city dynamics. With a big growth in mobile technology and availability of smartphones, crowdsourcing apps have taken over the marketplace with almost 60% of annual growth in the Market Size (2016). Acquiring feedback and ideas from a large group of people and outsourcing tasks brings genuine advantages to your city or organization. That is why we are excited to present our new GIS Cloud Crowdsourcing solution for governments, organizations, and cities with a goal to engage whole communities in active citizenship.
GIS Cloud Crowdsourcing Mobile and Web apps are configurable applications which can be customized and branded for each client individually. Mobile Apps can be downloaded directly from App Store and Google Play, and on the other side, Public Web App allows citizens to anonymously report issues online from their desktop computers. Project Coordinators can create their unique project Forms in the Admin Web App and can easily modify those at any moment. Forms are quickly deployed and instantly updated on Mobile and Public Web Apps. Once you’re done setting up your project, citizens can download the app and start contributing to your project immediately, without creating an account.
A project map is presented to citizens, which is used to report a problem or observation. Citizens can anonymously submit new reports, including photos and comments of any kind using Mobile or Web App. They can track status and review existing reports, vote on key issues in their areas and publicly propose a solution. Everybody benefits from collaboration due to more effective communication, more efficient delivery of services and faster response time in the process of reporting and solving issues between organizations, cities and the public.
The main application used to create crowdsourcing projects is the Admin Web App. Project forms can be created in a matter of minutes and can have many different attribute field types (Date & Time, Checkboxes, Photos, Audio field, etc.). It allows the Project Coordinator to review submitted reports, problems, and observations. The Project Coordinator can approve or reject submissions, update the status of the reported issue and coordinate between departments, track progress and have an overview of statistics through graphs and charts. The Project Coordinator’s ability to approve or reject a submission for public reviews stands as a form of protection because not all the submission are complete or adequate to release to the public so Project Coordinator should pass only the reports and submissions that are complete.
USE CASE – CITY ISSUES REPORTING AND NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT
With many problems cities are facing around the world, crowdsourcing apps have proved to be an ideal solution for cities and organizations that wish to promote more efficient community governance. The City Issue Reporting and Neighborhood Development Use Case presented in this blog post aims to engage the community in active citizenship with a goal to transform and improve cities together with local and city leaders. Following the Smart City trends, engaging citizens to get more involved in identifying issues, neighborhood development and implementation of solutions in their areas will benefit the overall city structure, strengthen communication and interconnect technological infrastructure in a city.
Project area chosen for this use case is the City of Zagreb, the capital of the Croatia. The project consists of two parts, City Issues Reporting and Neighborhood Development.
The first part aims to engage citizens to report public and private safety issues, road and traffic or littering issues in the city. Citizens who wish to collaborate can report neighborhood issues like graffiti, illegal occupancies, broken windows, maintenance of non-residential structures, sidewalk obstructions, potholes, low visibility intersections, illegal dumping sites, overfilled bins and many more general and specific issues in the city. Registering and forwarding citizens concerns about neighborhood issues to the City Services resulted in a more efficient and effective city management system.
The second part of the project was focused on citizens reports, suggestions and comments on neighborhood development opportunities and potential improvements in park & recreation, road & traffic and utility infrastructure. Citizens that wish to collaborate can suggest neighborhood improvements like an extra bench, street light, a new playground for kids, trash cans, recycle bins, video surveillance, pedestrian crossing, underpass, overpass or noise barrier and much more. The Project Coordinator evaluated and prioritized the reports, suggestions and comments then forwarded those to the City District Committees that are responsible for implementation of future improvements in neighborhood districts.
The key challenges were to find an efficient way to:
- Visualize and categorize reports on a map
- Review and approve submissions for public voting
- Prioritize tasks and reduce response time
- Coordinate teams and plan actions
- Monitor progress and track details of an individual report in real time
GIS Cloud Crowdsourcing app was a perfect solution for the purpose of engaging citizens in city development. Project Coordinator created a unique form in the Admin Web App and shared it through customized Mobile or Web App to citizens and the public. Citizens then reported city issues using automatic geolocation or by pinpointing location for better precision. Reports included photos, comments, descriptions, suggestions and more additional information relevant to a project. Project Coordinator evaluated received reports, problems, suggestions and observations then approved submissions for public voting. Allowing the public voting, commenting and proposing solutions to issues makes citizens feel more involved in decision-making process of the city they live in. Both Project Coordinator and city leaders can track progress and status of reported issues using charts and graphs in the web interface. Project Coordinator can forward issue report or development suggestion to a city department responsible for it’s solving. Establishing critical infrastructure and delivery of services effectively and efficiently completes the circle and thus increases connectivity in a city.
Crowdsourcing solutions are strategic models used to open up governments and cities to fresh and innovative ideas and solutions. Crowdsourcing apps can be applied in a variety of different industries and projects like environmental protection, rising crime rates, unemployment, overcrowding and urban sprawls, resource management and developing products and many more. It’s a powerful tool that could change organization dynamics and become the main tool for decision makers in organizations and communities.