I spoke with Dave Mitchell, Connected Bits, who just released an iPhone app for Boston’s 311. I was most interested in his challenges and eventual path to success, but was also hoping to build a partnership so that SF can eventually use the app for our city. It looks like we will be able to move forward with more conversations around our requirements and a partnership with Connected Bits, however I am now struggling with how this will promote our goals of open data, open source, and open participation if we don’t use any of those pillars in its development. Should we partner with a private company to develop our first app? If we develop an iPhone app “in-house” will it create excitement for future 311 mobile apps? Ideally this would spawn interest and bring a larger pool of developers who would like to work on other mobile apps for the city.
I have looked at some recent Open311 API guidelines and those don’t seem to fit well with a high volume model like San Francisco’s 311 since our goal would be to circumvent the actual call center and route service requests directly to the servicing agency. I am open to conversations on the topic and admit I still have a lot to learn about this space.
If you have insights or comments on this topic and how I should best approach opening up our 311 APIs I am all ears.
– Alissa Black