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Ames, Iowa, Goes Mobile for Citizen Reporting

The city is testing a new mobile app that will allow residents to report and track public works issues in real time.

(TNS) — The city of Ames, Iowa, is testing a new smartphone reporting application it hopes to roll out after a pair of major summer events, the city's spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The app, Ames On The Go, will allow residents to report potholes, damaged signs and other repairable public works issues to the city, Public Relations Officer Susan Gwiasda said.

"It will be great tool for people who are out and about," she said.

She said the app is in the "test phase" now and the city will begin promoting it after the Iowa Games (July 20-22, 27-29) and RAGBRAI (July 24-25) roll through town. Gwiasda said reporting through the application will probably be the fastest way to report an issue to the city.

The city is also looking at expanding the uses for the app, including reporting abilities for electrical outages, damaged utility poles or street light problems. People can still report issues through calls or emails, but "apps are kind of the wave of the future," Gwiasda said.

She said those who report problems will be able to track their reports through the app, like how people who online shop track the progress of their Amazon purchases.

Originally, the city had planned to design the entire app itself with its own software but eventually decided to partner with a company that's worked with other cities to help design their reporting apps — SeeClickFix, which, according to its website, has helped resolve more than 3.9 million issues in cities across the country.

On the app's home screen, users can click on links for the city's social media accounts and website, maps, construction and events. In the bottom-left corner of the screen there's a button marked "report."

"If they report it, we'll take care of it," Gwiasda said.

©2018 the Ames Tribune, Iowa Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.