Pitt Power

On August 20, 2009

 A city cannot live on ice hokey alone. In the off-season, folks in Pittsburgh now have their own app to help maintain metropolis where the Three Rivers meet.

YinzCam and the city of Pittsburgh worked together to create iBurgh, a city-government-focused app. The iBurgh app is free and allows its users to connect with Pittsburgh’s 311 system. Using a geotagging system, civic-minded citizens can take pictures of fallen trees, worrisome potholes, and other public trouble spots, which are then processed and mapped by the app for repair by the city.

According to an article by Debra Diamond Smit at PopCity.com, the app is a national first:

"For the past few months we’ve been in a race against Boston, D.C., New York City and San Francisco to be the first city in the country to apply a mobile application to local government," says Councilman Bill Peduto, the driving force behind the push to partner with local tech companies and make the city the first e-democracy in the country. "This starts the process to not only expand our ability to communicate with local government, but empower people through an emerging industry that will start here. Pittsburgh will be the home of e-democracy."

First started as a research project at Carnegie Mellon, YinzCam is headed up by  Priya Narasimhan, the director of Carnegie Mellon’s Mobility Research Center. The group’s previous focus was in-arena events mobile technology. The team of sports fans launches their first effort during the 2008-9 NHL season as well as the Eastern Conference playoffs for the Pittsburgh Penguins first success came with the pilot of YinzCam, which allowed fans a close-up look at the action on the ice as well as player info and other stats.

What’s a Yinz? The people at YinzCam note: “The term "yinz" is the Pittsburghese derivation for the original Scots-Irish term "you ones," and is commonly used to represent the plural form of "you."

What government activities would you like to take care of via iPhone?