The city of Abilene is unveiling two smartphone apps – one allows citizens to report unsightly environmental issues and the other acts as a guide to finding attractions in the city.
SeeClickFix, a 10-year-old service, allows users to take pictures of issues in the city, such as potholes and illegal dumping, and send it to the respective department.
The app is used in cities larger cities including Houston, Washington, D.C. and Albuquerque. The goal of the app is to minimize the amount of time it takes the city to fix frequent issues.
Mari Cockerell, communications and media relations manager for the city, said she looked at how the city departments work to better streamline the process of handling requests sent in by users to the correct branch to solve issues.
“We have some departments that will already be hooked up to take the requests that you put in and automatically get it into their workflow software,” she said. “Others will go directly to the person at the city who will then put it into the system they work with in their department.”
SeeClickFix has multiple categories of issues users can report. Cockerell said users can get specific within those categories, like solid waste services.
“If your container broken or cracked, stuff is coming out of it, someone stole it or it’s missing, you can get in the app and pick the right drop-down category once you’ve taken a picture of what the issue is,” Cockerell said.
Users can describe the issue in more detail as they report it, and the app will automatically locate the issue based on the photo’s GPS. The app also allows city employees to talk with citizens who report issues to give updates or ask follow-up questions. Users can choose to report anonymously.
SeeClickFix additionally features a map of the city so users can see what issues have been reported and read updates about the resolution process.
The second app, MyABI, is a collaboration between Abilene and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Though it has been available for over a year, it is currently being re-developed. With MyABI, locals and visitors can find events, festivals and hotels in the city.
A new function includes a list and map of almost every restaurant in the city. Users can be linked to a restaurant’s contact information to make reservations.
“As a local, I love to be able to get in there and be like, ‘this is a cool thing happening,’ and get tuned in with what you can do and take your family out too,” Cockerell said.
The city is promoting the new apps through the “Share Your Love” campaign. Users can click a link in either app and write a thank you note to a city employee. Once submitted, users can be entered into a drawing for an Abilene staycation. Other prizes include a four-person season pass to Adventure Cove and an $80 credit to the annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival.
SeeClickFix is available for download in the Apple Store and in the Google Play Store. MyABI will be available for download at the end of February.