00:01Good morning everyone.
00:02We're honored to be speaking with you all here today.
00:05You know, we're in the midst of some powerful change in government and GIS is playing a critical role in that challenge.
00:12So I'm pleased to be speaking with you today about the Boston way…
00:17…our city's efforts to transform government through constituent engagement.
00:23Now, some of you may know Boston as a cradle of liberty or a hub of innovation…
00:29…and I'm pretty sure that some of you know Boston as the very proud home of some championship-caliber sports teams.
00:38The Red Soxs are in first place going into the All Star break.
00:43But for us, Boston is about these guys, a city of 620,000 passionate people.
00:51And we take a very human-centered approach in dealing with the day-to-day challenges…
00:56…that governments all over the world face today.
00:59We need our engagement efforts to be real and we need them to be personal.
01:04In our city, that comes from the top.
01:07Our mayor, Thomas M. Menino, has personally met 60 percent of our city's residents.
01:13Think about it. Everybody in this room, 30 times over. That's engagement.
01:20So he challenges us to engage all of our residents to build…
01:24…to understand how we can build a better Boston for them, and more importantly, with them.
01:32Today, our team is going to show you a few examples of how we are answering that challenge.
01:39We start that with our story of the new urban mechanics.
01:43We created the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics in January of last year.
01:49Why? It was pretty simple.
01:51We needed some dedicated space for taking risks, space in local government for trying new ideas.
01:59Acknowledging that while some of these ideas may fail, many more will flourish.
02:06You see, for us, local government is the proving ground in this rising tide of government innovation.
02:13It's where we teach your children, patrol your neighborhoods, plow your streets…
02:17…and given the economic climate, we realize that stepping up to that challenge of service delivery…
02:23…is going to require new and innovative solutions. So we're going to show you a few.
02:28And to do that, I'd like to introduce Chris Osgood, the cochair of our Office of New Urban Mechanics. Chris?
02:34Thank you so much Bill.
02:36Today I want to highlight three projects that we're piloting in the city of Boston.
02:40The first focuses on food trucks. Food trucks are increasingly popular.
02:44For those of you who don't know, a food truck is like a mini, mobile restaurant that serves wicked-good food, at really low prices.
02:52The challenge is in siting a food truck.
02:55It can take a blue-ribbon panel or a team of legal experts to wade through all the logistical and permitting issues on every street…
03:02…in every neighborhood, and across an entire city.
03:05So in Boston, we took a different approach. We said, Why look at every street?
03:10Let's just focus on those places our residents want a food truck most.
03:14So a few months ago, we designed an app that asked one simple question.
03:21People could go to our website and drop a pin on a map about where they wanted a food truck most…
03:26…and leave a note if they wanted about the type of food they want to eat when they got there.
03:30Over a thousand people used this app and soon food trucks would be pulling up to some of those streets our residents wanted most.
03:37The second app that I want to talk about today is Citizens Connect.
03:41Citizens Connect is the City of Boston's 311 mobile phone application.
03:46We designed Citizens Connect, however, with a bit of a twist.
03:50We wanted to see if this app could not only connect citizens with government, but also citizens with each other.
03:56And to facilitate this, we allowed residents to be able to post publicly on a map, the reports that they had submitted.
04:04This is having some really interesting impacts.
04:06For example, recently a resident reported that a possum had crawled into her trash can.
04:11She wasn't sure whether it was alive or dead or what to do in either circumstance.
04:15A neighbor though, saw this report, didn't know this constituent, but saw that it was just three blocks away.
04:21So she walked from her house to her neighbor's house, saw the trash can, saw the possum…
04:27…tipped the trash can over freeing the possum, and then tweeted out that the case had been resolved…
04:31…wishing "Goodnight Sweet Possum."
04:35We think this is just the tip of the iceberg, for the use of mobile phone devices to engage constituents.
04:40To test the next generation of apps in this space, we're working on a project that we call Street Bump.
04:46The idea behind Street Bump is that your mobile phone can actually sense when your car has hit a pothole or a rough patch of road.
04:55To give you a sense of how this works, take a look at this quick video.
04:59So what you're seeing here is a drive down a particularly bumpy street in the city of Boston.
05:05The Street Bump app is picking up two critical pieces of information from your smartphone.
05:11First, from the smartphone's accelerometers, it's getting a sense of the magnitude of the bumps…
05:15…that the car is actually experiencing.
05:18And from the smartphone's GPS, it's getting the locations of those bumps.
05:22Put together, this sort of information can build for our public works department a map of the road conditions…
05:28…in the city of Boston, so they can understand where they need to dispatch a pothole repair crew or do some longer-term capital work.
05:36All three of these projects that I've talked, yes.
05:43To note, we hope that once we've actually developed this app, we'll be able to give it away to anyone who wants it.
05:52All three of the apps that we've talked about today are ways in which we're using maps in the city of Boston to engage residents.
06:00But engagement is about far more than simply getting feedback from constituents.
06:04It's about acting on the information that they provide and Claire Lane, the city of Boston's GIS manager…
06:09…will talk a little bit about the tools we are building in Boston to make good on this promise of engagement.
06:15Thank you, Chris. Snow shoveling and plowing are a fact of life in Boston's winters.
06:19Total snow accumulation this past winter was 85 inches. That's seven feet.
06:25Many a city manager has seen their career halted by poor handling of a snowstorm.
06:29This is Snow Cop. It has become an essential part to managing a snow event in Boston.
06:35Snow Cop is a collaboration tool for city departments to respond to constituents' requests during a snow emergency.
06:42But we also want to be proactive and address problems before they occur.
06:46In the early parts of a storm, we can get a dense warning of potential hot spots and know the places we need to direct our resources.
06:54As the storm progresses, Snow Cop becomes a tool to respond to citizens' requests for services.
07:01Let's zoom into the north end.
07:04Here the constituent calls related to this snow event…there can be hundreds of calls at the height of a significant storm.
07:12Here we can see the tracks of the snow plows.
07:15The red dots mean that it has been three hours since the plow has driven by.
07:21Let's move to east Boston.
07:23We can see that there are a lot of calls, but only a few plows servicing this area.
07:28Another way to visualize this activity is to create a heat map.
07:32This heat map takes several factors into consideration, such as CRM call density, plow history, and calls per road mile.
07:40I can run an exception report, which brings to my attention things that are out of the ordinary.
07:45I see a list of streets that have the highest number of calls and when they were last serviced.
07:51I can get contact information for the closest plows and call either the…
07:54…supervisor or the plow driver and quickly direct them to the trouble spot.
07:59The success of Snow Cop has led us to a bigger vision for this kind of actionable intelligence, The Mayor's Dashboard.
08:06I'll hand you back to Bill, who can tell you the story behind that.
08:10Thank you Claire.
08:12City government and its residents can view the same city block in very different ways, a flickering streetlight…
08:20…a broken swing, an abandoned car.
08:24For city government, these might be problems for three totally different departments, but for that resident…
08:29…they're likely to be one issue, public safety.
08:33As we further our efforts to engage constituents, we are also developing tools that help us…
08:38…see the city in the same way our residents do.
08:43The first product that we are developing is the Mayor's Dashboard.
08:47The dashboard allows us to see the city, not by department, but by issue, public safety, transportation, quality of life.
08:57And from this view, we can look for, identify, and drill in to a hot spot.
09:03And then, at the neighborhood level, we can see the key indicators for that area…
09:08…and we can compare those indicators against other neighborhoods, or see how those indicators are trending over time.
09:16And then, based on that information, we can use the tool to communicate directly to the departments that have to take action.
09:25We are piloting this product later this year, putting it in the hands of senior management to support our efforts…
09:31…to break down silos and to strengthen the connections between all of our agencies.
09:38Over the past five years, the City of Boston has laid the groundwork for exceptional constituent engagement.
09:45Let me show you how we got there.
09:47First, we built our information model to better understand and organize our city data.
09:54Then, we built connections from that data to our key constituent-facing systems, CRM, permitting, public safety.
10:03And now, we're building a community.
10:06A community of people who are developing applications on top of that platform.
10:11Now everyone in this room truly gets the power of GIS.
10:16But we all know there are people outside this room that don't get it.
10:20And so our team actively works with frontline agencies and outside partners…
10:26…like Code for America to expand our reach and our impact.
10:31So, from freeing possums to plowing snow, the City of Boston has taken a geographic approach…
10:39…to re-envision how we engage our citizens and how we marshal our resources.
10:44And though these efforts are still early, we believe that this work is leading to a new type of partnership…
10:50…across the public sector and the general public, a true public/public partnership.
10:57We look forward to working with all of you, to share and to grow these new applications and innovations…
11:04…and to truly change the way government operates and engages.
11:09Thank you so much for your time this morning.