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Cities are too big for workers to figure out where all the potholes are. They need citizens’ help. In Boston, they’ve figured out how to get that help as effortlessly as possible: An app that can sense a pothole from a bump.

City governments are increasingly relying on digital technology to gather data from citizens. In San Francisco, residents can contact the city on Twitter to report potholes and graffiti. The CitySourced app lets people around the world report issues in their cities (i.e. illegal trash dumping, graffiti, etc.), as does SeeClickFix. But every solution out there requires residents to take action–snap a picture, send a Tweet, write a complaint.

The Street Bump app–a collaboration between the city of Boston, The New Urban Mechanics and crowdsourcing platform Innocentive–is for the lazy among us. The app, which is set to be released publicly for Bostonians in the coming months, uses a smart phone’s accelerometer and GPS to find and automatically report potholes to the city.

Last year, the city of Boston teamed up with Innocentive in the hopes that the crowdsourcing platform could improve its app. Armed with a $25,000 prize, the city sought an algorithm to sift through a data stream of user-reported information to determine the location and severity of a pothole. Boston ultimately settled on three top solutions, which were all integrated into the app.

Read the entire article at: Co.Exist

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