Local Authority Alert Services (MapAlerter)
Pin Point Alerts have developed an innovative service called MapAlerter that allows local authorities to quickly communicate with residents through a large number of communication channels for various notices. MapAlerter deliveres alerts using SMS Text Messages, Smartphone Apps, Email, Landline Phone Calls, Social Media, RSS and more. The service was launched during 2011 and is now used by over 33% of all Irish Councils. The service is available a hosted cloud service at https://www.mapalerter.com or as a white-labelled service offering. MapAlerter has a 100% client retention rate from all Councils using the service and it was won numerous innovation awards.
The idea for MapAlerter came about when the team noticed that there was a lack of communication from many local authorities for service disruptions and critical incidents. This was especially true of localized incidents where an isolated section of the population may face interruptions to important services such as public water. MapAlerter solves this problem because it allows Councils to deliver alerts through a number of channels to only those that are affected. This geo-focused approach means that the content is always relevant to those that receive alerts. There is also a lesser number of SMS/Texts used so this means a reduced cost to provide this advanced communications service.
How it Works:
- Members of the public subscribe on MapAlerter to receive alerts
- During the registration process new subscribers identify the locations that interest them for alerts (eg Home and Work points)
- New subscribers can also pick what categories for which they wish to receive alerts (Roads, Water, Planning, Floods, Weather, Community)
- Next, Councils issue alerts by logging into MapAlerter.com. Council Staff can identify the category and location of any incident or alert using a simple web form.
- When a new alert is submitted it is quickly analysed by MapAlerter. The alerts are then delivered by SMS Text, Email, App, Landline and Social Media to the correct subscribers.
Get in touch if your Council is keen to explore the strong potential of MapAlerter to improve upon your existing communications strategy. The service is easy to set up and is designed with affordability in mind for Councils of all sizes. MapAlerter is a fully automated service for Councils in many cases where Planning and Severe Weather alerts are automatically published with links to/from iPlan and Met Eireann. There is little or no effort required from IT or GIS staff once the service is established.
Some important points about the MapAlerter technology and service:
- MapAlerter is available for any local authority in Ireland that wants to deliver a comprehensive communications strategy for members of the public through a number of delivery channels. MapAlerter is currently delivering alerts by SMS Text Message, Email, Landline Phone Call, Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) as well as RSS.
- MapAlerter is a push notification service. This means that members of the public are not expected to seek out updates when they notice any service is not operating; instead MapAlerter practively issues alerts to individuals and gives them advance warning.
- The service is geared towards all local authorities and has alert categories under the main service areas: Planning, Water, Roads, Community, Major Emergency (Floods and Severe Weather). Members of the public can register for MapAlerter for free and can request to receive alerts from any or all of these categories.
- MapAlerter has a dedicated smartphone App for Android and iOS. This is intended to reduce a Council's spend on SMS text messaging where prices are controlled by the phone networks. By encouraging subscribers to install the App it means that MapAlerter is an extremely cost-effective service for all local authorities and push notifications can be used instead of text messaging in many cases.
- MapAlerter.com is the cloud service used by many local authorities. This is branded as a MapAlerter themed application. However some local authorities (Cork and Fingal) have opted for fully customized white-labelled solutions of MapAlerter where the branding is identical to their own CMS/Website. The white-labelled offering means Councils can operate an alerts service with a consistent corporate brand.
- Wexford County Council were the first Council to subscriber to MapAlerter (March 2011) and they have issued approximately 400000 alerts to subscribers in the first 4 years. The Council has been awarded twice on a national level: Best Local Government Service (Chambers Ireland Awards, 2012) and Best Local Government Innovation (eGovernment Awards, 2012).
A survey was undertaken with 1000 random MapAlerter subscribers during January 2014 and there was was a very positive response.There was an overall satisfaction rating of 91% across all respondents. 97% of respondents indicated that they have or would recommend MapAlerter to a friend. 92% of responses indicated that it was an excellent service based on geo-focused quality of alerts.
The future of MapAlerter is centred around the smartphone app channel. The MapAlerter App can be used by all Councils to avoid communicating with local residents through SMS Text Message. As smartphone adoption increases it means that the App can be used to target a growing percentage of the population across all counties. The App is available for the iOS and Android platforms.