I first saw some of the potential of the website and mobile app SeeClickFix in the articles that covered Hurricane Irene’s passing through New England (like Steve Buttry’s articles here and here about a man’s Twitter rant about utilities having problems restoring service). A silver lining to the storm passing through was that it generated a lot of buzz for the website, such as this article at the New Haven Register. Turns out I had seen SeeClickFix referenced before as an exercise in government transparency by Penelope Trunk in her blog, and in Social Times as “Civics 101“, where they call attention to the Facebook integrated app.
When everything goes as planned, SeeClickFix is exactly what its name implies. See a problem? Report it online; send a picture even (all very geo-aware and slick with a smartphone). You can login or be anonymous.
I think this could be useful as a tool in the mitigation and recovery phases, but I’m not sure that it’s appropriate in the response phase.
Of course, all these eyes on the ground are great, but someone on the other end has to be willing to engage them, whether it be homeowners associations, the local government, or the utility companies.