Harris County now has an app for reporting potholes and other problems.
Users must download the app and set up a profile. After that, one can take a photo of the problem, point to its spot on the map or let GPS technology mark the location, label the report with a category – say, “dead animal” – and submit it.
The app launched for Android devices in late April, and had been downloaded 54 times as of last week, resulting in five service requests. The software, a “Best of Texas” winner this year in the mobile or wireless category from the Center for Digital Government, is expected to launch on Apple devices in mid-August.
“Lots of times things are written and said about county government being behind the times, and that’s just not true in Harris County,” County Judge Ed Emmett said. “This is just another example of being on the cutting edge.”
As technology improves, more constituents are demanding such conveniences, said the county’s chief information officer, Bruce High, whose department developed the app.
“The nice thing is, it’s not just a mobile app that gives you information. It’s a mobile app that allows you to interact and transact with your commissioner’s office,” High said.
You can download the Harris County mobile service request app for your Android device here. I’ve been beating this drum for awhile now, and so my first thought upon reading this story was “When will the city of Houston do this?” An email sent from the office of my Council member, Ed Gonzalez, answered that question:
Imagine a mobile phone application (aka ‘app’), that would allow Houstonians to snap a photo and simply submit a 3-1-1 service request directly from their smartphone. Thanks to City Council approval this week, that app will soon be a reality!
The new City of Houston 3-1-1 app will utilize the GPS data from your smartphone to accurately pinpoint the location of your issue. Once a service request has been submitted, users will be able to track the progress of any open requests. The app will integrate with Facebook and Twitter.
The app is set to launch in a few weeks and will be available to download free of charge from the iTunes App Store and Android Marketplace.
Awesome. I haven’t seen a mention of this in the Chron yet, but will keep my eyes open and will post more when further information is available. Kudos to Harris County and the city for making this happen.