Smartphone app is the citizen's new power source
By Alicia Kouparitsas11 Jul 2012
After taking the U.S. by storm, a new technology that empowers members of the community to use their smartphones to instantly report everything from potholes to major crimes, has hit Australian shores.
CitySourced is an ingenious new application that uses location-based crowd sourcing technology to allow people to send photo, video or audio clips directly to authorities and service providers.
The technology works to streamline incident management by deputising the community to report eye witness accounts of issues in real-time.
Digital data mapping specialist MapData Services (MDS) has secured the rights to the application locally after forming an Australian-first partnership with its US-based developers.
MDS General Manager Cassandra Barker said while the technology could have applications in retail, utilities and other commercial sectors, its use has been most prolific in local government.
“CitySourced technology provides an incredibly powerful means for members of the public to exchange information with their Councils – all in the blink of an eye,” said Ms Barker.
“With its instant, two-way reporting capabilities, CitySourced challenges traditional customer service models, enabling citizens to bypass call centre queues to cut through the proverbial red tape.
“The technology allows users to simply take a photo of what they want to report – such as graffiti, a broken traffic light or a fallen tree – press submit, and the information is sent directly to the appropriate Council department to address.
“The application also provides users with updates on the status of their report, and provides a feedback option if further information is required.”
Ms Barker said the technology automatically tags a report with the location of the incident.
“This not only immediately shows Council the exact location of the issue, it also enables all reports submitted in an area to be seen together on a map, which prevents multiple recordings of the same incident,” Ms Barker said.
“The application can be used across all common smartphones or websites – which means that anyone can report a road blockage, upload a geographically tagged picture and then check to see if it has been fixed before they travel that way again.”
But Ms Barker said the technology enables both public and private enterprises to mobilise their communities to highlight issues of high importance, whether motivated by civic duty or consumer need.
“Councils and businesses are constantly looking for more efficient ways to improve the customer experience – and with CitySourced technology, they are being shown the exact location of where to start,” said Ms Barker.