Los Angeles has joined the ranks of other metropolitan cities with the launch of its first 311 mobile app -- MyLA311 -- unveiled Monday, April 1.
The free application, available from the iTunes and Google Play stores, allows citizens to submit 311 service requests such as potholes and graffiti using their smartphone's GPS and camera functionality, as well as locate city resources and pay city bills.
“MyLA311 is a major leap forward in making City Hall a tech friendly place” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement. “Angelenos now have a direct mobile portal to vital services and key city information. This will spur a more open and transparent government.”
Major features on the new app, developed by Los Angeles-based company 3Di Systems, include the “Find City Info” mapping tool, which allows users to locate places like local parks, swimming pools, golf courses, lakes and libraries; and “City Hall News,” which allows users to stay informed about city programs. MyLA311 also integrates with the city’s social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Steve Reneker, CTO and general manager for the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency, said that so far, the app has been downloaded more than 4,000 times. But, he added, the app itself should be seen as more than just a service request platform and as a mobile portal.
He said MyLA311 is different from other 311 applications in that it can also serve as a platform for paying city bills, and has the ability to show a mashup of City Hall social media updates in real time -- a feature that shares information from across the various city departments.
Reneker said the “Find City Info” feature is particularly helpful to not only Los Angeles residents, but also individuals visiting the city who may not know where local attractions are.
“I think all of those kind of things are going to be very useful," Reneker said, "not just for the citizens who want to know where the closest park and bike trail is, but for those visitors that come in who want a better experience in Los Angeles have the ability to do so as well."
In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. She wrote for for Government Technology magazine from 2010 through 2013.