Pothole? Broken street light? Report them using your phone, GIS

SALISBURY — The city is test driving a website and mobile phone application called 311GIS that allows residents to report problems online and with their phones.

People can report broken sidewalks, burned out street lights, potholes and other problems they encounter in three ways — by entering the address, clicking on the map or allowing the application to configure their current location. The technology allows the public to submit a request in a variety of categories, including public services and code enforcement.

The city has free use of the application created by Geographic Technologies Group until June, when City Council will decide whether to subscribe.

The application is marketed as an “easy-to-use online solution for citizen issue reporting,” and Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell says 311GIS lives up to its motto.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Blackwell said she has reported several issues, including a sidewalk that had buckled near her home. She said city crews repaired the problem within a week.

Councilman Brian Miller asked if people would use the application. Kathryn Clifton, the city’s GIS director, said the city started using the application six weeks ago, and she had to set up a folder in her email for the notifications.

“I was being inundated with items,” Clifton said.

Residents aren’t the only people using the application. City staffers who see a problem in the city also enter it into 311GIS.

The application shows the status of the correction and includes a comment — sometimes several — from a city employee. The person who reported the problem can follow the progress of their requests and ask follow-up questions, as well as add photos.

City employees view entries and requests before they go on the website.

“It’s one place where individuals can report a variety of issues,” Clifton said.

Blackwell said it makes reporting problems easier.

“You don’t have to know who to call,” she said.

To use 311GIS, go to https://311gis.com/ or download the application from the Android Play Store or from iTunes.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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