311 Pioneering Baltimore Continues to Lead with Open311

Baltimore 311The new 311 Mobile App allows citizens to have real-time collaboration with their government.
– Mayor Rawlings-Blake

The City of Baltimore has a long history of leading the way with 311. In 1996 they were the first city to deploy the 311 short code and unified call center and in 1999 the city launched CitiStat pioneering the use of statistics based performance management. Now both of these innovations can be amplified by a much more open and collaborative relationship between Baltimoreans and their government through Open311.

This week Baltimore announced that they have deployed the Open311 API placing them among the select cities which have implemented the GeoReport v2 standard. The city also launched a mobile app to provide its citizens with a much richer and more engaging interaction with the 311 system and, by extension, with their neighborhoods.

The new Baltimore 311 app can be found on the App Store for iPhone as well as on the Android Marketplace. There’s also a simple web app which provides a Twitter-like newsfeed of other reports.

With the Open311 API any developer can create an app that can integrate directly with the city’s 311 system. If you’d like to start building an app that connects to the Open311 API in Baltimore you can get an API key and get connected to their staging server. The Baltimore endpoints have also been added to the full list of Open311 GeoReport v2 Servers.

The launch of Baltimore’s Open311 apps and API was aided by the fact that they were able to leverage the Open311 compliant solutions provided by Motorola CSR and Connected Bits. Baltimore CIO Rico Singleton went as far as to say that their choice of software solutions was influenced by the interoperability provided by the standard.

With these moves, Baltimore demonstrated it is still at the forefront of urban innovation. I’m eager to see how the city leverages Open311 and continues to build on these successful and influential models for civic engagement and management.

This post originally appeared on the Civic Commons blog.

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