It’s perhaps a nice chunk six months in for a city reporting tool, considering its uneasy launch and the growing variety of ways to submit requests to city government. The look back comes as a number of new features were added to the tool.
Download the app for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices HERE.
The app was first scheduled for release in 2010, but was pushed back amid a shakeup in the city chief technology job (In the far distant world of 2010, Technically Philly shared our dream design for the 311 app—if we had a say, of course.)
While the Philly 311 app experienced some starts and stops — between an internal team and then using third-party firm Public Stuff — Councilman Bobby Henon announced plans to launch his own constituent-services CityHall app first. He did just that roughly a week later, seen as the freshman councilman thumbing his nose at the executive branch.
But now, those around the 311 app say, the scene is set for this to be a foundation of the city’s government outreach efforts.
The 311 app is meant to be a platform on which other city efforts can spread their information — including rolling out Elections information — as part of a ‘poverty strategy’ to combat digital divide for residents who have smartphones, but not consistent web access.
The number of downloads is also not the only metric worth tracking, said Wisniewski. Service requests and comments are some of the other good marks for citizen engagement, and PublicStuff is improving its dashboard to track those and others, Wisniewski said.
The offerings are important ones, but the challenge is getting 311 in as many Philadelphians as possible — whether it be by calling, tweeting, using the app or some other way.
More city government mobile offerings arrived during April 2012 when the PhillyPolice Mobile launched, which is used to get in touch with the Philadelphia Police Department during non-emergencies.