This is a cool use of Azure. The city of Miami tool their “311” data around potholes, trash pickup issues, recycling issues, broken sidewalks and the like and put that data in Azure. The next step is that they leveraged Bing Maps and Silverlight to visualize those issues spread on a map of the city.
The solution takes advantage of virtually unlimited storage and processing power, provides the ability to quickly address service requests and implement updates even during peak times such as hurricane season. If things change, the City can bring the solution on site or move to a physical facility, all based on need and cost-effectiveness.
As a result, residents logging on to Miami 311 can see on average 4,500 issues in progress – not represented as a ‘list’, but located on a map in relation to other projects in their neighborhood . A simple click on the map allows them to easily drill down to more and more specific details if they want.
In short, they have turned what used to be represented by a meaningless list of data into useful information, and created actionable and consumable knowledge that is relevant to the citizens of Miami. For Miami, their ‘service call to the city’ becomes an interactive process they can follow – and the City has a new tool to manage and deliver outcomes.
When the city made the move to the web, they chose tools they knew and software they trust. The Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform made it easy to do, and they used both Bing mapping and Silverlight to build a user friendly front end.
According to Port25 (Miami 311: Built on Windows Azure – Port 25: The Open Source Community at Microsoft), it took two people 8 days to implement the whole system and they are going to open source their solution so that other cities can leverage it. I haven’t seen yet where and how they are going to release it but I’ll keep you posted if I find out.