Technology
2:48 pm
Tue December 21, 2010

Pothole or broken street light? There's an 'app' for that

Grand Rapids has a new smartphone ‘app’ that people can use to report things like potholes and graffiti. IPhone and Android users can download the GRCity 311 application for free. Just head to your providers’ app marketplace.

The city has been working to create programs that make it easier for residents to report problems. They already have a website. Paul Klimas, Grand Rapids’ IT Director, says the smartphone application takes it just one step further.  

“We’ve gotten poems about a pothole. A lot of people go out and measure them. I mean I could actually determine the volume based on their measurements.”

He says these programs have a way of making city government feel more personal.

 “Then we get these rather nice emails back (that said) ‘Thank you for fixing my pothole for me.’ And it’s like ‘wow’, that’s just a fantastic way to provide service and prioritize things – that’s just fantastic. What if we did that for everything?”

City leaders are already moving in that direction. Plans are in the works to integrate city departments so residents have an easy, single point of contact.

Klimas says sending in images of problems, like potholes, is helpful for workers because it gives them an idea of what they’ll need to fix it before going out in the field. Plus, GPS data will help determine an exact location.