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A 'Smart' Way Of Reporting Issues To Council

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
A 'Smart' Way Of Reporting Issues To Council

A clever new online service request system is revolutionising the way people request services from their council. 'Fix My Street' uses an interactive mapping system to pinpoint issues like broken street lights, graffiti removal, or litter, and is also available as a smart phone application.

From potholes and broken pavements, to abandoned cars and dead tree removal, FixMyStreet.org.nz is a free-to-use website that allows members of the public to report civic issues. The user can pinpoint the exact location of the issue on an online map powered by Google Maps. The Website then alerts Council staff to the problem, and reports back to the public via the website when the work has been completed.

Councillor Chris Johnston welcomes the new initiative. "It takes the age old service request and makes it more interactive, and more accurate. You can even upload a photo of the issue to go with your submission. Smart phones are constantly making our lives easier, so I think it's great that we as a council can offer such cutting edge technology."

Using smart phone technology, a person with an Apple iPhone or Android phone can download a free 'app' (short for application) enabling them to use Fix My Street on the go. The mobile device makes reporting an issue even easier by cutting out steps normally required on the web version. The app automatically traces the whereabouts of the issue using the smart phone's inbuilt GPS. It also sends the email address of the phone user with their submission, so the sender does not need to re-enter contact details.

Taupō District Council is the first New Zealand council to adopt the system's full capabilities. The website is integrated with council's own internal service request system, allowing information to be sent back to the website. "This means people using the service can see progress being made on their request in real time," says IT Systems Analyst David Fear. "Other councils simply use it as a one-way communication device. But having the two systems talk to each other means we don't need to enter data twice, which saves staff time. It also lets the person know when their request has been seen to."

The website also allows issues entered in the past to be stored and searched, so other users of the site can see what has already been reported in their area. "So it starts to tell a story of what might be happening in a given area, and saves people doubling up on the same issue," says Mr Fear.

Fix My Street is widely popular in the UK, and is already being utilised by other major cities in New Zealand. The system is open and free for any local government body to use. In typical Aussie fashion, Australian Council's have their own version of the system available called "It's Buggered Mate".

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