the Polka Dot Spot

Visualize the reopening of our economy.

May 11, 2020 9:00:00 AM / by Jess Dravida

Today we start by shining a SPOTlight on Baltimore County, MD.

Baltimore County has been providing targeted location-specific information for residents since the early days of Maryland State stay at home orders.  I highlight Baltimore County's location-based look up tools to highlight the use of different sources of data: 1) crowdsourced data (from local restaurants and bars about available services); and 2) curated data (for Food and Meal Distribution pick up locations operated by Baltimore County and local food pantries).  

[Location-based information] will now get more complicated, and more critical, for everyone.

For all of us, it will be increasingly important to be able to quickly find government and private services that are open near where we live or work.  We'll have questions we want to answer, questions related to safety as well as practical concerns like which businesses and services are open, and we will look to our local and state governments to help us:

Can I drop my eWaste at my local transfer station? 

Can I go the park down my street?  

Is the beach across town open for a run?  

Is the dog walking place 3 blocks down open yet?  

Is my favorite restaurant serving customers if they sit outside?  

Can I visit a DMV to update my expired license? 

Where can I pick up a birthday present for my mom? 

And so many more...

We can expect that it will be important for residents to be able to quickly see where modified operations are in play for government services, and for businesses. (This could mean that service hours are different, that services are provided online or remotely only, or that a limited number of customers are allowed in at any given time).  That means gathering, maintaining and sharing accurate, location-aware information will now get more complicated, and more critical, for everyone.  

But there are tools and approaches that can make this easier for governments, businesses and residents.  The key is to plan for the communication challenges that come with reopening and to meet them head on with tools that make it possible to:

  • View and navigate location-based and service-status information from across multiple data sets in a single place/tool
  • Search and visualize the results of location-based information stored across multiple, geo-tagged data sources
  • Implement easy to use, powerful filters to further tailor data after initial results are displayed
  • Embed dynamic elements into websites and applications that automatically update whenever a change is made to underlying data
  • Encourage users sign up to receive alerts and updates about specific types of data updates, allowing them to store personal profile information
  • Add geo-data to data sets that are not yet geo-tagged
  • Distribute the responsibility for keeping data updated, including crowdsourcing, curating, and the use of real-time operational data

Connect the Dots

If your government is manually updating service status on your website or is planning for private businesses to use advertising to tell folks they're open or hiring instead of offering them help, we hope you'll give us a call.  We can help you to launch your own Unified, Location-Aware Service Status program for your businesses and residents:

  1. 1. Setup your data layers and categories
  2. 2. Configure your business rules (and integrations)
  3. 3. Launch your program

Launching your program is as simple as adding widgets on your website and posting information about any opt-in campaigns you want to offer. We do the rest. 

Get Started

Engage with your residents with proactive, personalized communications.

  • Our powerful GIS features allow residents, and staff, to quickly and easily search, visualize, and tailor information across multiple data sets.  
  • Our Unified Alerts framework and our quick-configure campaigns can get you up and running in just a few days
  • Schedule time with one of our Solution Designers to implement a Unified Service Status program today.

Schedule a Call

Tags: Smart Cities, Smart Communities, Citizen Experience, COVID-19, Reopening

Jess Dravida

Written by Jess Dravida

Jess is CEO of Polka Dot Sky Software and a huge fan of stuff that makes daily life easier and more beautiful.