TC50: CitySourced lets citizens report potholes, graffiti to local government

CitySourced is a mobile app that lets residents report problems to their local government and hold them accountable for it.

The company launched today at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco.

To report a problem, you load CitySourced’s app to your phone and choose whether it’s trash, a graffiti issue, or something else. Then you add a description, and take a photo or tweet one to Twitter. This information is packaged with GPS location info from your phone and routed directly, says CitySourced, to city hall. The company claims the app works nationwide with 1900 cities.┬áSan Jose will be the first city to adopt it as their official 311 platform. An app for the new Palm Pre phone will soon be available, too.

The company’s pitch: City governments can use CitySourced to save money and make themselves more accountable. The company will offer governments descriptive analytics reports, so officials can see if there’s a spike in graffiti problems in a certain area, or track whether they’re efficiently resolving open reports.

Judges at the conference provided some feedback to the company.

Kevin Rose, Digg: Wants to make CitySourced’s data available to other residents. (CitySourced says it’s implementing a Digg-style voting system to prioritze problems.)

Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media: A huge fan of these types of applications. But I worry about the defensibility of the product — how do you become a market leader? Lots of cities are holding contests to develop open 311 apps.