Sure, Torontonians are notorious for bitching about our city, but we bitch because we love! Complaining about garbage pickup or graffiti is a whole process, however, and sometimes it’s just not worth the time to bother hunting down the appropriate department by email or navigating a phone tree.
Pittsburghers also have a lot to complain about (insert your joke here), but they’ve got a connection with their local government that fills us with envy: a simple iPhone app that not only sends an alert on the spot, but can also forward geotagged photos of fresh potholes or shoddy snow removal to city servers, placing them right on a Google Map for “resolution and handling.” Developed by local mobile streaming company YinzCam, iBurgh went live on Monday and was donated to the city for free.
Pittsburgh city council member Bill Peduto claims that iBurgh is the first mobile application intended to link directly with city government, empowering residents to stay involved but in a way that’s uncomplicated and convenient. Bypassing the need for further manual data entry, the information is tied directly into Pittsburgh’s existing 311 system and disseminated automatically to officials. The data could also potentially identify problem areas over time and further streamline maintenance efforts.
Sure, there are lots of nefarious (and semi-pornographic) ways this system will undoubtedly be abused, but it generally is an idea that fills us with longing. We’re already huge fans of the Red Rocket app, and since Toronto is a city filled with both techies and iPhones, we see a perfect opportunity for some enterprising egghead to step up and code something similar.