By Mary Leong, Communications Manager, PlaceSpeak Inc.
From city planning to transportation infrastructure; from school districts to community organizations, decision-makers need to know that they are hearing from real, relevant residents within affected communities. PlaceSpeak is a location-based citizen engagement platform designed to facilitate online consultation with people within specific geographic boundaries. Its unique geo-verification technology connects participants’ digital identity to their physical location, ensuring that data collected is relevant and defensible for evidence-based decision-making.
In April, PlaceSpeak was awarded 2nd Place in the Social Hero Category in the Partner Track for the 2017 SAP HANA Innovation Award. Its new feature, SentiMap, uses the SAP HANA Platform and SAP HANA Text Analysis to analyze and spatially visualize large amounts of text-based feedback data (e.g. discussion forum comments).
SentiMap represents a significant improvement over traditional methods of analyzing qualitative data, which can be challenging and time-consuming. Real-time map visualizations make it easy to gain insights from large amounts of qualitative data. A spatial view provides a quick snapshot of trends and differences in public opinion across regions and areas (e.g. neighbourhoods, districts), allowing for more nuanced analysis and policy-making. The map visualizations also make data more accessible to non-technical users and citizen participants, increasing transparency and accountability in the public engagement process.
In 2015, residents of Metro Vancouver were asked to vote on a new tax to fund public transportation initiatives. In collaboration with NEWS1130 Radio, PlaceSpeak launched a consultation topic to determine voter sentiment across the 22 municipalities within the region. Drawing from discussion forum comments, we used SentiMap to visualize how participants in each municipality felt about the vote.
Following the success of SentiMap, PlaceSpeak continues to innovate upon our citizen-centric model to provide a positive experience for users. Our goal is to break down silos and make democracy habit-forming by connecting people with one another and the places where they live, work and play.
PlaceSpeak is also committed to working with the local community and providing learning opportunities for students. While PlaceSpeak is already mobile-responsive, we’re currently working with RED Academy’s mobile app development program to create an additional method for people to participate on the go.
The SAP Startup Focus Program is providing exposure and increasing market visibility for PlaceSpeak. In particular, PlaceSpeak has been introduced to the relevant business units that work with the Public Sector and Future Cities.
PlaceSpeak has been added to the new SAP App Center as a Lighthouse partner.