Remember back in the day (say a few months ago) when the only way to report a 311 issue to the City was to call 3-1-1 or use an online form? Well, those days are long gone and Chicagoans now have tons of ways to report issues to City Hall. The best part is: You helped build them.

When Mayor Emanuel called on his tech team to create a “UPS-style tracker for City services” we launched an Open API. Translation: An online tool that is “open” means that it can be access or modified by the public. In this case, with Open311, web and smart phone applications can directly tap into 311 for the top 14 service requests like we talked about here.

By opening up the 311 system, tools like SeeClickFix can be tied directly into Chicago 311. SeeClickFix is an online community that allows residents to post service issues in their neighborhood. Previously, when you entered a request, SeeClickFix kicked off an email to aldermen or City agencies.  Aldermen and City employees then had to manually enter the request into the City’s 311 system. Now, with the Open311 integration, gone are the days of manually entering requests into 311. They’re sent automatically and entered into the system. For the most popular service requests, a tracking number and link will be posted enabling residents to use Chicago’s 311 Service Tracker to see the status of their issue and sign up to receive an email notification when it has been resolved. Now, you can enter a request, track the City’s progress, and know exactly when the request has been resolved. The loop is closed.

Of SeeClickFix’s nearly 100 partner cities, Chicago is the largest one to launch a fully integrated connection with the site. When someone submits a service request on SeeClickFix, the City will automatically post a confirmation and a service number.

Let’s get reporting, Chicago.

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