Last year Google created Project 10^100 as a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. It took them a while to review all of the submissions because they received about 150,000 spanning 172 countries. A number of the submissions described similar ideas, so Google narrowed them down to 16 core ideas. Two of these ideas describe what we’re doing here with Open311. The more broad idea is to Collect and Organize the World’s Urban Data which includes the example of “creating a website where residents can text or upload photos that highlight city issues,” but the idea that is truly spot on is to create a real-world issue reporting system. Please vote for these ideas (before October 8th!) and let’s use Open311 as an organization to bring this to life.
Build an issue-reporting website that lets people report problems to proper authorities. When software testers find errors, they generally submit them to a tool which automatically routes them to the right team to be fixed. Implementing proposals for this idea might involve creating an analogous system for the real world that lets anyone report a problem of any kind (e.g., a dangerous pothole), and routes problems it deems sufficiently important to the proper authorities (e.g., the relevant road agency). The aim would be to incorporate all the niche applications that users suggested, including reporting crimes to the police and environmental issues to local governments.