Four crowdsourcing projects for public service

How can citizens solve public woes?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world”, Margaret Mead, an anthropologist, once said. To that end, governments have been crowdsourcing projects from the tech community to solve social problems. This year ASEAN, UNDP, Pulse Lab Jakarta and the Korea government combined forces to gather outstanding ideas from its people. Here are four project ideas that stood out: 1. Maps for the blind There are already various maps to guide the lost, but Tune Map wants to specialise its services for the blind. Centred in Bandung, the idea aims to guide the blind on the safest route with audio directions, making use of GPS data. Citizens will contribute their suggestions on routes they deem the safest, and these information will be pooled together with data on travel journeys of the blind to help local authorities prioritise area developments, public safety works, and improve and repair roads. The app wants local businesses to advertise on the platform, and incentivise citizens to submit reports. 2. Safe cities for women aaa ori (2) S-city is a youth-led initiative which paves the way for safer public areas for girls and women. It plans to collect data from 10,000 community members for feedback on the safety and quality of public spaces and services. It will rate the condition of public facilities and support provided for the elderly and disabled. Harassment incidences can also be reported, with attached photos and reviews, while users can rate public services on staff attitude and how long it took. The platform also promises a sharing platform to voice opinions and suggestions on safety for women. As data-driven projects aren’t complete without analytics, the information collected will be shared to public service providers, analysed to spur policy dialogues, and hopefully result in “more gender responsive policies”, UNDP writes. The app idea hails from Vietnam. The fully developed prototype has plans for launch in Cambodia and Thailand. 3. Realtime crowd analytics This idea wants to tap into crowd data and provide up-to-date analytics to improve public services. The winner behind the prototype recognised that public crowd data analytics are “frequently unavailable and out-of-date”, UNDP states. The Malaysian platform will track all active devices within a vicinity, potentially combining it with data on the age group and gender composition of any given crowd. This will be particularly useful in emergencies like earthquakes, flooding and fires. It also holds promise to identify crime hotspot areas where stolen devices are detected. Further data analytics can also provide estimates to track human migratory patterns, vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and help in overall urban planning. 4. Queues for Queues people-431943_1280 Tired of waiting? This app idea aims to prevent unnecessary queues from real-time information. Citizens can alert others by providing necessary information, such as submitting snapshots of crowded areas in tourist hotspots, public transport areas and security checkpoints at airports. People can plan ahead of their journey, save time, avoid jams and kiss queues goodbye!