Objectwave Rolls Out Mobile Ticketing Scheme in Chicago

Software engineering firm, ObjectWave Corporation, has announced the launch of the City of Chicago’s Mobile Electronic Ticketing System (MET) for vacant lot owners. The new system is now in use by over 125 Department of Streets and Sanitation ward superintendents and refuse collection coordinators.

The City of Chicago has approximately 70,000 vacant lots that it has to oversee for several reasons to protect Chicago citizens’ best interests. Vacant lots are isolated areas prone to crime and dumping of rubbish, which causes rodent infestations, and brings down property values.

The owner of the vacant lot is responsible party for maintaining it, but the city and tax-payers  end up eating costs in trying to maintain the process. The new e-ticketing system divides work between field staff that identify violations and clean the lots, and code enforcement staff that use a website to determine ownership and issue tickets.

Field staff identify violations using the MET mobile application on Blackberrys, to record field notes, pictures and GPS coordinates. Information collected on the Blackberry is then sent to the e-ticket database. A number of web services are used, including a reverse geocode service to provide an address, to validate the precision of GPS coordinates.

Once the property owner has been identified, an electronic ticket is issued and an electronic record of the violation and supporting documentation is created in the system. A hearing is scheduled and enforcement action begins.

Larry Hanson, deputy CIO for the City’s department of Innovation and Technology, says: “Through the use of technology, the City of Chicago is doing more with less. By enhancing our existing technology, we are increasing the code enforcement of vacant buildings, which will result in cleaner and safer neighbourhoods throughout Chicago.”