We have just launched a new online project, Fix My Area (www.fixmyarea.org.uk), which is an online platform to let residents living in Fife submit public reports for their local areas.
Reports can be anything from reporting Road Defects, Path Defects, to highlighting something positive which has happened within your community. All reports listed are mapped so you can get a visual overview for each community of reports.
We gave a sneak preview of the project to our Twitter friends yesterday, which also gave us an opportunity to make a live test of the site and make any last minute changes and would like to thank our Twitter friends for the help.
Sticking to our ethos of only utilising Open Source technologies, we opted for software developed by Ushahidi, which has an interesting development background;
“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008……The original website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phones.
The developers realised that the software could be adopted for many other uses, and developed the program into a multi-functioning reporting system for a variety of uses, such as mapping community facilities and events, reporting local issues, etc.
We opted for using the software to provide a dedicated site for the Fife area, to allow residents an easy way to submit reports online, for any local positives or negatives within their communities.
It is hoped that if the site becomes popular enough, then the local authority, Community Councils and Councillors will follow the site to keep track of submitted reports in their local areas, and provide another useful tool for residents and representative groups and individuals to communicate using online technologies.
The site is packed with several features to make submitting and viewing reports very easy. Features include:
- Submitted reports are visually represented on local maps through interactive mapping technologies
- Reports can be filtered by categories
- Reports can be submitted anonymously (no registration required)
- Submitted reports can be commented on to encourage debate and updates
- Reports can be tracked by the map and via time-lines
- iPhone and Android Apps available to view the data and submit your own reports
- Add videos, images, or news stories to any submitted report
- Set-up Email alerts for reports submitted in your local area
- Register an account and keep track of your submitted reports
- Registered members can vote on submitted reports and send private messages to other registered members
The site is fully functioning and since this is our first experience with the software, we will be expanding and creating customisations over time to further enhance the site and features available.
The site can be accessed at: fixmyarea.org.uk
As we are always keen to improve on the work we do, we would love to hear any suggestions, feature requests, and improvements that you would like to see on the site.
Lastly, we would like to thank WOT (Web of Trust) users who took the time to review the site, provide their recommendations, and give their ratings on the site. For those that haven’t heard of WOT, it is a free plugin for your web browser, which helps you to browse more safely by giving you visual warnings over the trustworthiness of a site.
We highly recommend their plugin which you can learn more about and download at: www.mywot.com.