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  • Boston to Use iPhones to Beat Bumps

    Boston, Massachusetts was founded in 1630, and as such is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Parts of the city are definitely showing their age, too, as harsh winters and heavy traffic take their toll, so the city government in this high-tech region - home to corporation like Digital and Raytheon - is looking to the 21st century to help keep the 18th century maze of streets in shape. The city's high-level geek squad is currently working with a researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to create an app that will allow city residents to pinpoint potholes and other road hazards.

    The app, which will be called Boston Urban Mechanic Profiler or BUMP (though the devs behind the popular contacts-sharing app may have something to say about that before they're done) is being developed by Chris Osgood and Nigel Jacob. The two, who are now technology advisors to the mayor of Boston, first got involved in city government through the Boston Urban Mechanics Program (yes, we can see what that spells), a fellowship for people interested in municipal jobs.

    Osgood and Jacob started by creating Citizens Connect, which lets iPhone users point the camera at something that needs fixing - a broken streetlight, for example, or a graffitied wall -and the image is tagged with the phone's GPS coordinates and sent to the nearest public works office. Other cities have similar iPhone programs, according to the Boston Globe, but Citizens Connect is the only one where data goes right from the citizens to the city employees responsible for fixing the problem.

    BUMP (or whatever the city attorneys eventually allow them to call it) will work much the same way. The city's Department of Public Works will receive the reports and will dispatch crews to assess and repair the problems. A concern, though, is that most of the city neighborhoods with the worst maintenance problems are ones where people generally don't carry iPhones. The government is mulling the possibility of giving iPhones to city workers who live in the worse neighborhoods so that they can report on problems themselves.

    Using modern technology to fix old problems is certainly an innovative use of city resources. And now that AT&T has done millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades in Boston, it might actually work!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Boston to Use iPhones to Beat Bumps started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. battlecrushr's Avatar
      battlecrushr -
      thats cooll
    1. pyromcr's Avatar
      pyromcr -
      great idea, i hope more cities adopt this if it works...
    1. frozenra1n's Avatar
      frozenra1n -
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Boston Rob!!
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      here's an idea. a public worker actually goes out into their community of which they oversee and actually does their own job for a change. allways putting it on the taxpayer to take care of things.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      If it helps clean up the city then I am all for it
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      well, when it comes down to "ummm...we never repaired that because we were never notified of it" scenario. it makes me wonder why we're even paying them liveable wages.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      When I finally got over the fact that 1630 is considered 'old' in the USA and read the rest of the article I found it was actually quite a good idea - maybe more people could take this up.
    1. angiepangie's Avatar
      angiepangie -
      ^Perhaps 1630 isn't "old" compared to some dates in Europe, but the government of the United States is actually older than most of the governments of European countries

      It is a nice idea. Not too many potholes in the city I live in but some places.. wow. Hopefully it'll help out
    1. LGgeek's Avatar
      LGgeek -
      cool kind of like the ATT "mark the spot" app which allows you to send them dead zone locations from your iphone. not sure why AT&T doesn't see the flawed logic in their thinking.

      This one sounds like something all cities should have, of course assuming the city actually wants to fix things.