iPhone with CitySourced/San Jose 311 image/Photo courtesy of CitySourced iPhone with CitySourced/San Jose 311 image Photo courtesy of CitySourced

Governments are asking and citizens are telling.

Through a concept known as crowdsourcing, governments solicit the advice of constituents or the crowd, to help solve a problem. By downloading the San Jose 311 iPhone application, residents in District 1 can help the city clean up by reporting in real time -- graffiti, potholes, broken streetlights, garbage -- pesky problems that 311 officials have a hard time of finding.

The user-friendly Web 2.0 application, called Mobile City Hall, can be downloaded for free at the Apple iTunes store and was launched on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

"When you see a problem, you can take a photo of it, and by virtue of taking a photo of it, we've captured your GPS coordinates," said David Kralik, director of marketing for CitySourced, the company that designed the application. CitySourced has partnered with the 1st District's Councilman Pete Constant to spearhead the project, which utilizes Microsoft and Bing's mapping system.

Reports of neighborhood problems are sent to the councilman's office for resolution. And residents are notified when their requests are received and being reviewed.

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Karen Stewartson, Managing Editor Karen Stewartson  | 

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.