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Need to report a problem to the city? Santa Monica has an app for that.

May 6, 2010 |  4:57 pm

Gorequest Reporting troublesome potholes or unsightly graffiti is an arduous process that has long involved having to remember the intersection of the problem before eventually (or never) finding time to detail the annoyance in a letter to a council member -- or, a more recent feature, in an e-mail.

With an iPhone application Santa Monica launched in February, the city has made filing a complaint as easy as snapping a photo and tapping a few buttons on your cellphone.

Since launching the GORequest iPhone app barely two months ago, the city has seen 179 mobile submissions. Those account for about 21% of all formal complaints.

"We're really hoping to see the number of communications in this manner increase substantially," said Jory Wolf, chief information officer for the city, on the phone Tuesday. "It's much easier for us to respond to them."

That's because complaints formed on a cellphone tend to be concise. (Who wants to type on those small screens all day?) The city's responders can also pinpoint exactly where the problem is located because photos are tagged with the gadget's GPS location.

Wolf estimates that problems are resolved in a third of the time it takes to respond to traditional submissions. The majority of issues reported using the iPhone involves "abandoned rubbish," such as furniture, Wolf said.

Santa Monica is paying $500 per year for the GORequest app after shopping around to two other makers of similar software. One of those was CitySourced, which didn't submit the lowest bid but recently agreed to make an app for the city of Los Angeles for free.

-- Mark Milian

Image courtesy of GORequest