When you see something ugly or hazardous in your neighborhood—a couch on the sidewalk, a pothole, or a tree limb blocking part of a road—you can call the city, send an e-mail, or walk into city hall and file a complaint. But these methods can be time-consuming and often don’t give the city all the information it needs to respond quickly.
A startup called CitySourced has developed a mobile application for iPhones, Android devices, and Blackberry smart phones that it believes greases the gears of civic responsibility. The app lets people send geographically tagged pictures of urban blight, complete with a time stamp, a category (graffiti, trash, etc.), and a note from the user. Crucially, the data from the app is fed directly into a city’s back-office workflow management system—servers that manage work orders for various departments.
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