Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

iPhone App for Reporting 311 Municipal Services

January 13, 2010

I’m interested in CitySourced‘s San Jose 311 mobile app as a good example of how to approach a vertical market with a subscription model / license fee per geographic area. The basic idea: build the centralized infrastructure that can facilitate geo-spatial services that help solve real problems.

CitySourced San Jose 311 iPhone AppFrom a tech standpoint, this can be developed to support subdomains which represent individual municipal government locations (ie,, think of the Craigslist model.

This app has a great value-proposition and price point per muni that focuses on solving REAL problems.  And, anyone in this space has talked about the prototypical “pothole” mobile app as a general community driven crowdsourcing app, whether it’s for citizen journalism or gov2.0.  In this case, CitySourced acted on the idea and is executing their plan quite nicely.

I foresee this model will be quite popular as geo-spatial mobile apps are developed for local search or various social services.  In fact, this is precisely what Semantic Press is building: infrastructure for the rapid development of local social apps for vertical markets. It could be a “pot hole” app, or a complex GeoAPI server aggregated and syndicating data.

That’s it in a nutshell and I commend CitySourced for proving the model and taking the initial steps for public awareness.

My questions for you:

  • Are muni governments willing and able to embrace this type of app beyond San Jose?
  • Is $4,500 too high or low?
  • Is there a market??
  • What other types of services can be leveraged into this infrastructure?

Watch this video and let me know what you think..

“When you see a problem, you can take a photo of it, and by virtue of taking a photo of it, we’ve captured your GPS coordinates,” said David Kralik, director of marketing for CitySourced, the company that designed the application. CitySourced has partnered with the 1st District’s Councilman Pete Constant to spearhead the project, which utilizes Microsoft and Bing’s mapping system.

Reports of neighborhood problems are sent to the councilman’s office for resolution. And residents are notified when their requests are received and being reviewed.

By calling upon residents to report these complaints, Kralik thinks reports will be more accurate and will shift the responsibility from public officials to residents.

The overall cost to San Jose was only $4,500, Kralik said, since the city is a charter customer, but many factors affect pricing. However, Mobile City Hall will garner accurate reports and save the city money in the long haul.

The application works in 1,900 cities nationwide,” said Kralik. Users can also report problems in other states they’re visiting, unlike New York City’s and Boston’s mobile iPhone apps that are only specific to those regions.

Although Mobile City Hall works in 1,900 U.S. cities, Kralik said these cities can’t access the dashboard system that lets San Jose analyze its reports. “San Jose gets a really cool metrics dashboard that they can slice and dice the data. Whereas the cities we work in, but aren’t paying us, don’t get that — they get a basic report sent to them,” Kralik said.