Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The wonders of digital technology

Thanks to Cybergabi for photo

I can't claim to have found this, my digital partner here Andy, pointed it out.

It's fascinating how technology seems to be affecting our lives, be it Sky+ boxes which mean we no longer have to watch ads, or low cost satnav which means there's no excuse to get lost again (particularly good for me because I keep getting lost). The fascinating thing is how governments and councils seem to be adopting technology for real good. Anyone who has used Transport For London's journey finder will know just what a marvel it is, but I digress you probably already know this but perhaps not the efforts being made to make the world live in that little bit more livable...

"In March last year, a city council project in Lewisham was initiated, which allowed residents to send camera-phone pictures to their local council to report stray garbage, unwanted grafitti, etc.
Two new spottings show that the concept is catching on. The local government of Amsterdam's Geuzenveld district just launched an online tool that lets people pinpoint neighborhood problems on Google Maps. After filling out an online form, a marker is placed on a Google map of the area, along with information on how the complaint is being dealt with.

The district is counting on the service to save time and money. Currently, a street lantern that's out of order will lead to numerous calls and emails to the district (roughly 40% of all complaints are sent by email/internet forms). Once people get used to checking the map to see if someone else has already reported an issue, the amount of redundant notifications will presumably decrease. Geuzenveld also hopes residents will feel more involved now that they're actually able to track how their complaint is being followed up, and that local maintenance crews will be motivated to keep the map as empty as possible, solving close to 90% of all issues within 2 days.

New York, meanwhile, isn't one to fall behind. Later this year, the city's 911 call centers will be able to receive camera-phone pictures and videos taken by residents and visitors, straight from the scene of a crime. 311 non-emergency call centers will be similarly equipped at a later stage, allowing New Yorkers to document and photographically report on 'quality of life problems'".