Hexagon Geospatial a leading global geospatial software provider has launched Mobile Alert in India at the ongoing India Geospatial Forum 2014 in Hyderabad. The mobile application was available in western countries since late 2013. Over 75 local governments worldwide are using this solution. It’s a known fact that several of us, the citizens want to report incidents – big or small to concerned local bodies but demand simplicity in the process. This mobile app enables us to do just that.
In India, people seek anonymity, speed in reporting and speedy resolution for complaints. This however is difficult to achieve without a neat IT infrastructure in place. Hexagon Geospatial’s objective is to do away with these issues – simplify the reporting process for citizens and simplify the process of deriving actionable information for local governments. The citizen facing side is a lightweight application which is readily available in Google Play and iTunes.
On the citizen side, reporting an incident just takes few taps on the mobile touch screen with the intuitive interface. Once GPS is turned on and the application is started,
- User takes a picture of the incident – can be anything like pothole on the road, missing/non-functional streetlights, broken signage etc.
- In the second screen, user is allowed to choose the type of incident from a wheel like interface as noted in above step and proceed to next screen
- Here the user can choose to enter minimal details about the incident
- The last screen shows the incident location over a map (Bing Maps). User can choose to refine the location and then click ‘Send’ to submit the incident
In whole, the entire process will not take more than a couple of minutes.
On the administration side, the responsible agency need not setup any IT infrastructure to provide this facility to citizens.
- All system configuration, support, and maintenance is performed by Hexagon Geospatial for each subscribing organization.
- Incidents are stored as geospatial data in cloud-hosted service and Hexagon Geospatial will route the incidents to the right agency
- Continuous monitoring, maintenance, and updating of hosted back-end systems is handled by Hexagon Geospatial
- Email alerts with necessary information like location, URL to the photo, accuracy of used device’s GPS, nearest landmark etc. to concerned personnel
- Depending on the subscription model, web browser based portal access, ability to update the incident status etc. will be available.
- If the subscribing agency already has a GIS in place, option will also be available to update incidents in their existing system
Overall if the application gains necessary reception in India, this can certainly change the way Government agencies and local bodies like municipalities work. It must be noted that such incident reporting mechanisms are available in India through web, but are limited to certain cities (a citizen has to fill in lot of info which is a drawback on its own). With growing smart phone penetration, a simple mobile app of this nature is certainly appreciated. Hope concerned Indian agencies take note of this and decide to empower the citizens.
Disclosure: I work for Hexagon Geospatial in Hyderabad