Chicago was an early adopter of 311 a system connecting residents with the local government for non-emergency needs. Originally their system was phone-based and closed to digital mediums, but CfA and a number of community groups including the local Brigade and OpenCity and Smart Chicago Collaborative have done a ton to shore up the digital divide. For more on Chicagos history of hacking, check out local Brigade Captain Chris Whittakers post or for email him to connect.
In traditional government public service inquiries, its easy for citizens to feel like their requests are unheard. Most systems offer little insight into whether a request has been received, whether its being worked on and the timing of that work. The City of Chicago already had the data standard to help build a better system, but CTO John Tolva and Executive Director of Smart Chicago Collaborative Dan X. ONeill enlisted the 2012 fellows Angel Kittyachavalit, Ben Sheldon, Jesse Bounds, and Rob Brackett for help.
After doing more than 70 interviews with city partners, community leaders and educators, the fellows consulted the citys database of service requests for insight into improving the 311 process. Armed with all this data they produced suite of services that included aa href='http://www.311.fm'>311.fm visualization tool for service requests, the framework for a map-based daily service tool and a Fedex-style tracker aptly named Service Tracker.