The very fact that you’re here on this blog means that you are probably one of a growing number of people who see the value in social media. And you are in good company. Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man as famous for being Governor of California as he is for his muscles, used social media to connect with the public, and is now more popular than ever with his voters because of it?
Arnie took to Twitter to famously challenge California to submit ideas on how he could better run the state. This created one of Twitter’s most discussed trending topics with its use of the #myidea4ca hashtag. By giving the public a “voice”, his popularity was cemented and the power of Gov 2.0 revealed. It’s a great example of social media and crowd sourcing working for Gov 2.0 community engagement.
So how did a story about Arnie make it onto this blog dedicated to location intelligence? It’s because the notion of Gov 2.0 and location intelligence really go hand-in-hand. We are firm believers that location intelligence is what can turn Gov 2.0 from an idea into a reality.
The case of Arnie’s Twitter request was also really interesting from a location intelligence perspective, because Twitter is increasingly being geo-enabled – it is connected to places and to locations. People tweet an opinion, and it is put on map, so greater meaning can be derived by looking at patterns and trends based on location. Geo-enabled twitter sites like twittermap.com and twittervision.com present real time geographic visualisation of posts to twitter which could be invaluable to a government. Crowdsourcing via Twitter is a great example of an exploding market and application for GIS.
This whole issue of Gov 2.0 is a really hot topic at the moment. We’ve just been at the spatial@gov conference where Gov 2.0 was one of the key themes… A sure sign that it’s an inevitable evolution for our governments. The concept of Gov 2.0 is spreading like wild fire all over the world, and it’s getting to the point that it’s something the public is beginning to demand. People want their governments to show accountability, transparency and engagement. Though its early days in Australia, Gov 2.0 is something that we, Australian public, will soon come to expect. And it’s inevitable that location intelligence will play a critical role in streamlining the process.
But it’s not just a concept that will benefit the public. Governments can really stand to benefit as well. The beauty of a location-enabled Gov 2.0 is that governments no longer need to wait for an election to find out the issues important to the public. GIS is emerging as one of the most powerful frameworks for governments sharing data with people, and receiving data back from the public.
Location intelligence is making governments more agile and responsive than ever before. By improving their relationship with the public, governments can provide better policies and services. It is also empowering the public, ensuring they feel they have a voice. And therefore, governments are more likely to be re-elected.
A cool example of a geo-enabled Gov 2.0 application in action is a United States developed app ccalled CitySourced. Members of the community can use the CitySourced smartphone application to communicate directly with their government about community issues that need to be resolved. CitySourced users just have to take a photograph of the issue they are reporting on their iPhones or smartphones and send it. As City Source is geo-enabled by Esri GIS technology, the exact location and time of the reported issue are sent, making it easy for government to fix the problem and requiring little minimal from the public.
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How good is that! And the good news is, I don’t think it will be long before we see a similar application in Australia, with many of our government organisations already in the early stages of making Gov 2.0 a reality. We’ve already worked with some governments but it’s too early to reveal more. I guess it’s a case of watch this space…
In the meantime, Brett Bundock, the MD of Esri Australia, has written a great article on Gov 2.0 in this month’s Position Magazine, so take a read.
– Alicia S.