26 May 2016

A user-friendly mobile phone app that allows residents to report problems like graffiti and potholes is proving a winner.

Christchurch City Council was awarded the 2016 ALGIM Best Use of Social Media or App Award for ‘Snap, Send, Solve’. It introduced the smartphone application (app) in June last year, becoming the first council in New Zealand to do so.

Snap, Send, Solve works by identifying the location where a photo has been taken using the mobile phone’s GPS data. It sends an email to the Council including the photo and incident type and the user’s contact details. The report is redirected to the right department, allowing it to be fixed promptly.

Council IT Architect Regan Fielding said the free app was becoming extremely popular with residents because it was quick and easy to use. “It’s great for when people are out and about so we had really good responses over summer.”
In the year since it was introduced 9284 incidents have been reported using Snap, Send Solve and in April this year there were 1171 – the highest total so far. The most common issue reported using the app is graffiti, accounting for 37 per cent of messages, followed by potholes and other roading problems at 29 per cent.

Mr Fielding said the app, which was created by an Australian company, had been adapted slightly for use here. “One of the benefits is that you don’t have to know the correct local authority to contact, the Snap, Send Solve message automatically goes to the appropriate authority and department. So if it’s an issue to do with a smoky chimney it will be sent to Environment Canterbury and if you’re in the Selwyn District it will go to the Selwyn District Council.”

ALGIM serves the New Zealand Local Government ICT sector, with all 78 Councils as members. The Annual Web and Digital Awards highlight the most innovative projects in use around the country.