New Website Tracks Chicago Snow Plows in Real-Time
By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 3, 2012 2:55PM
Image Credit: Paul Davidy
The City this morning announced the launch of ChicagoShovels.org, an online resource that aims to assist residents with winter preparedness.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release:
“Winter preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, and when we come together, community by community, block by block, we can help reduce the dangers and health risks that winter weather can bring,” said Mayor Emanuel. “ChicagoShovels.org is an important resource that not only informs Chicagoans about how they can help their neighbors, but allows them to see the City’s snow program in action during severe weather.”
The meaty part of the press release is a real-time snow plow tracker that will be activated during snow cleanup efforts, allowing the public to track the progress of snow removal efforts and allow for transparency of snow removal efforts. Anyone who's lived in Chicago through one winter can attest that they've heard rumblings about the clout of the snow plow crews.
The City will also take leverage its Open Data Portal to connect volunteer shovelers with sidewalks and areas in need of clearing. An "Adopt-a-Sidewalk" program aims to connect neighbors and businesses with each other to help shovel sidewalks and offers a platform for sharing resources. Users can "adopt" a sidewalk on an interactive map, then be able to "share" items such as shovels and snow plows through a website powered by www.OhSoWe.com.
The program also calls for volunteer "snow corps" to help residents in need — such as seniors and people with disabilities — clear their sidewalks. Volunteers will be able to sign up using an online form. Web-based apps such as TwoInch.es and Was My Car Towed will allow people to be informed of parking bans and where their cars were towed. Residents can also file an online 311 form, view press releases from the city, sign up for alerts, and find answers to frequently asked questions.
No word on how ChicagoShovels.org will tackle the ongoing argument about dibs.