Deep Dives Blog Series #1: Mobile311 Citizen Request

More citizens are utilizing mobile devices everyday. So why shouldn’t they be able to notify their municipality of work items straight from their smart phones? Mobile311 Citizen Request does just this; reporting of work items such as downed electrical lines, potholes or graffiti with the location, description and photo becomes a breeze. Mobile311 Citizen Request puts the power to clean up the Town or City in the hands of the stakeholders.

The Basics

Mobile311 Citizen Request is designed to work alongside Mobile311 so that citizens can report work items to their municipality directly from their smart phones. The system can be accessed with a smart phone App or with a standard web browser. Whether the citizen is using a smart phone, tablet or a computer, the work request is uploaded to the municipality’s Mobile311 system instantly. From there, the work items can be reviewed and assigned to a field crew as needed.

 

How It Works

 

Citizens utilizing Mobile311 Citizen Request have the option of reporting issues anonymously or with a registered account. Those using a registered account have the benefit of enhanced tracking of their reported issues, providing transparency to the repair process. Each request is private to the citizen that submitted it.

Determining the location of an issue can be done several ways. The address can be typed directly into the box that says Enter Address. This method is best when the exact street address of the issue is known. Clicking the Go To My Location button on the map will zoom the map to the location of the user. Using the Satellite and Street View maps, the marker on the map can be moved to a more accurate location, regardless of which method is used.

The most appropriate work item type can be chosen from the Select Issue dropdown box. The list of reportable items is customizable by each municipality but common items include down/missing street signs, downed electrical lines & trees, potholes and graffiti. The Description field allows the citizen to provide more detailed information about the request. If the citizen chooses to, they also can enter their first and last name, email address and phone number. Finally, a photo of the issue can be attached directly from the request form.

Once the work item is received by the municipality, they can then communicate back with the citizen through changing the status of the item and by typing in notes specifically for the citizen to see. The citizen can continue to check in and also respond by entering notes of their own.

The Benefits

Allowing citizens to report issues using Mobile311 Citizen Request will save time in the office previously used to take phone calls and create work orders. Work requests can include the location of the issue, the item type, a description and even a photo, providing field crews with needed information before they even locate the site. Spread the word to your citizens about Mobile311 Citizen Request so they can take part in the cleanup and maintenance of their City. 


Stay tuned for our next post in the Deep Dives Blog Series when we will focus on Assignments.

Web-Based GIS: An Invaluable Tool For Utilities 

By Chuck Wright on 1/28/2014 

Whether it’s Water, Wastewater, Storm, Gas or Electric, a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) is an invaluable tool for Utilities.  GIS, in general, is the ultimate resource when it comes to both routine inventory and maintenance and emergency inventory and repair; having a web-based GIS takes it to a whole new level.  Web-based GIS provides an up-to-date display of information at the user’s fingertips that increases the efficiency of field crews as well as improves the bottom-line for utility billing.

No More Paper Maps 
With the advent of web-based GIS, utility inventory is readily available to employees who spend the majority of their time in the field.  Field crews once carried cumbersome paper maps to locate utility features.  These maps were often outdated soon after printing, making them unreliable at best.  Thanks to advances in technology, crews can now view and analyze utility data via laptops, tablets and cell phones.  Many of these devices are now GPS enabled, allowing users to find features faster and more efficiently.  

Attributes Available Instantly 
Not only does web-based GIS provide a visual display of the location of real-world utility features, but - if the information is available - it also shows attributes for those features as well.  Line sizes, peak flows, installation dates and many other types of information can be found simply by clicking on a feature.  Having this information readily available has a profound effect on the work efficiency of utility crews.

Update Attributes in the Field 
Web-based GIS, in conjunction with additional software, enables field workers to update attribute information from their mobile devices.  For example, a field worker might find that the physical condition of a fire hydrant has deteriorated since the last inventory check.  The condition can be changed in the database right from the worker’s mobile device.  Not only does the ability to instantly update feature attributes increase the accuracy of the information found in the field, but it saves time as well.  Crews no longer have to key in the information when they return to their offices, and the risk that they might misread field notes written hours before is eliminated.  

Save Time and Money 
Availability of a web-based GIS provides accurate and timely information in the field and increases the overall accuracy of utility data.  More accurate data will ultimately improve the efficiency of the entire utility system and, in turn, save time and money.


 

We intend to use this forum as a place to connect with our clients, giving timely updates and useful tips. We believe that by leveraging GIS data, a municipality can optimize their resources to improve reporting and efficiency.
By Holly Riley on7/29/2013 2:04 PM
One of the exciting features starting with ArcGIS 10.1 is that the Maplex Extension is now included in the core functionality of ArcGIS for Desktop and Server. Maplex Labeling enables much more precise control of labeling than the standard functionality.It allows you control how labels are positioned relative to features, allows them to be changed when the available space is constrained, and handles conflicts between them.

Since this functionality can produce much better looking cartography, it is a natural request to utilize Maplex Labeling for web-based maps in ArcGIS for Server. However, this does not come without a price, and that price is increased processing time compared to simple labeling.

In a recent analysis of the Maplex labeling tool, James Elkins (developer at Mobile311, LLC) discovered just how much additional processing time is required. He compared the Maplex tool with the standard labeling by running each through a sequence of tests. The chart below gives a side by side comparison...
By Holly Riley on10/5/2011 1:01 PM
Our Mobile311 System has so far been hugely successful. It’s easy to setup, easy to use, barely requires training and everyone loves it. That was, until we were doing a demonstration in the middle of an airport runway. The sun was directly overhead on a cloudless day and there wasn’t a sliver of shade in sight. The display on the Samsung Galaxy Tablet was just not readable in direct sunlight. We tried holding our hands to make shade, holding the tablet over our heads and looking up at it, and even carrying a piece of cardboard to “make-some-shade”. Nothing worked. The Tablet was too hard to see.

Fortunately, Chuck Wright found and ordered a 3 pack of ClearTouch™ Anti-Glare sun screens atwww.boxwave.com. We slapped a cover on…. And then realized that the tablet had a bunch of dust and bits of finger oil on it and the debris looked terrible under the screen. So we pulled the screen off (which incidentally cleaned the Tablet screen) and slapped...
By Holly Riley on8/9/2011 9:27 PM
I’m pleased to announce the initial preview release of the first major overhaul of the Mobile311 web interface.

This release represents the cumulative feedback from many of our clients, along with our commitment to make the site both easier to use and more powerful. The plan is to get feedback from a focus group over the next week, adjust as needed, then release to the general community. 

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