GeoReporting System Improves Communication Between City, Residents
Residents concerned about a pothole on their street, damage at a city park, a downed power line, or a question about waste pickup will soon have an easier method to report concerns and questions. With the new GeoReporting System, citizens will be able to report concerns from their smart phones (and any data/internet connected device).
“The GeoReporting app will be a responsive new way for our citizens to share concerns with City officials at any time of the day or night, and on weekends, too, all from the convenience of their own phones,” said City Administrator Steve Barg.
General categories include road-related concerns, sidewalk issues, waste pickup, private signage, private property, park/zoo/trail, utilities, dumping, and draining.
“We wanted to leverage our investment in our geographic information system (GIS) and allow citizens a new way to report location-based concerns, increase transparency, increase inter-departmental cooperation, and give the City data for analysis to better target resources,” said David Buehler, City of Marshfield GIS Coordinator.
As the project lead and developer since the beginning of the project two years ago, Buehler has been integral to concept development, researching available platforms and technology that suited the City’s needs, writing code, developing settings, creating the internal workings, and developing a proof-of-concept version.
Using the data collected within the application, City officials can more easily analyze and determine where there are problem areas in the City.
“We wanted quantifiable data to make better decisions about our limited resources,” said Buehler. “We wanted to track the lifecycle of common reported items, and see if we can improve processes to maximize response times.”
“In the past, residents have often wondered whom to call to report problems like potholes, traffic signs down, or street lights not working, just to name a few,” added Barg. “Not only will promptly being made aware of these issues allow City staff to correct the problems in a more timely manner, but summary information gathered from this system will help City officials identify problem areas or ongoing concerns, and target resources accordingly.”
In addition to improving services and helping to more efficiently solving problems, the app will help the City to engage citizens in new ways.
“This new app is expected to be a valuable tool in promoting a closer relationship between the City and its residents, which is one of the goals that has been discussed by the Council during recent strategic planning conversations,” said Barg.
“Residents may feel detached from their city government if they don’t have periodic contact with City officials, and seeing their concerns resolved quickly should encourage them to interact more with City officials, beyond just when they have specific questions or concerns.”
To access the GeoReporting App, residents can visit the City’s webpage at http://ci.marshfield.wi.us/ under Residents -> GeoReporting and get access to the link or go directly to http://ci.marshfield.wi.us/GRES to be redirected to the site. Additionally, a smart device with a data plan allows GPS to pinpoint a location rather than finding it manually.
Although the App is a significant resource for problem-solving, Buehler reminds users to remain patient when awaiting results.
“Please note that not everything can be solved in an hour or even a day. Some items can take months to resolve,” he said. “So be patient, your submission is being worked on and will see resolution.”
He also stressed that this system is not for emergencies. If there is a life threatening/loss of property emergency, call 911!