London App Targets Grime Ahead of Olympics

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Boris Johnson backs Lewisham’s ‘Love Clean London’ tool for graffiti reports by iPhone and Android

Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday launched an online reporting tool designed to clean up London before the 2012 Olympics, with citizens reporting graffiti and fly-tipped rubbish using their phones.

Developed by Lewisham Council, ‘Love Clean London’ is a cloud-based service heavily based on Microsoft technology, which lets people upload photographs to an online map of environmental issues that require action by local authorities. As well as helping clean London, the service will be more efficient – costing about one third as much as existing methods, the Mayor claimed.

Cracking down on ‘grime-crime’

Love Clean London is designed to clean up the capital, and joins other ideas such as city-wide Wi-Fi, in Johnson’s plans to spruce up the capital before the Olympics. The application encourages Londoners to report ‘grime-crime’ such as graffiti, litter and fly-tipping using internet and mobile phone technology.

The system lets users track progress of clean-ups and is supposed to help boroughs target resources more effectively to keep their communities clean.

With just over 500 days to go until the start of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, Johnson said: “In tough financial times, this smart use of technology can deliver genuine savings whilst encouraging people to take an active pride in their local environment.”

Users can submit reports using mobile phone applications – available for iPhone, Android. BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 – or else send a text (or picture message). Alternatively grime can be reported at the lovecleanlondon.org web portal. A GPS signal locates the report, and participating boroughs receive the report as an email to respond to. An interactive map (requires Microsoft Silverlight)  shows all the reports, updating on the progress taken.

The website shows environmental blackspots and also places where clean-ups have taken place either by councils or volunteers. And its app allows you to view and search for all the reports in a particular area, as well as share them through social networking sites.

Microsoft development shop window

Love Clean London has been built on the Microsoft Azure cloud framework and developed by Microsoft certified partner bbits. The interactive map uses the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in and Bing Maps for Enterprise to show reports in real time. The tool has been designed to integrate with local authority systems using Microsoft’s .NET software development framework.

Lewisham Council has been pioneering the use of this system for more than five years. The council said it has been able to hold street cleansing spending at 2003/04 levels, while complaints about graffiti fell by 30 percent in just two years from the system going live. The the speed of processing reported issues increased by 87 percent.

It added that a report using the system costs Lewisham £1.50 in comparison to a web-based report, which costs £4.10 or a phone report at £5.10.

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