Web conferencing is a tool for online group meetings. Web conferencing provides a content for sharing of computer screens, individual apps and web-browsers among a group of computers.
GoToMeeting is a web conferencing software for online meetings. GoToMeeting is very user-friendly, simple and cost-effective software for online courses, meetings and seminars. GoToMeeting is popular among students, academic people and different offices for providing online meetings for the people who they are in different locations.
On Friday June 2nd, 2017, our “Web Technologies for Planning” class had an online meeting through GoToMeeting software. The instructor prof. Christopher Stein talked about web conferencing and the students shared a planning related web-page with the class. It was very convenient to participate in class meeting from different locations. In my own experience, the meeting was without any problem and the sounds and video had very high quality although I was using a normal headphone for the meeting. Sharing our personal webpages when we became a presenter in the meeting was very interesting. We could easily share our web-pages with the class through GoToMeeting software. Here is a screenshot of the class meeting while professor. Stein was presenting his own planning webpage “Planetizen website” for the class.
GoToMeeting for facilitating planning meetings
Beside academic and professional meetings, GoToMeeting has also used for planning purposes. City Planners can use this tool to communicate with group of planning and other professionals and also with community who they are planning for them. It is very convenient to reach out community feedbacks, educate them, sharing the planning ideas and generally communicative planning. It is very easy and cost-effective for all providers and participants.
Broadcasts are messages that individuals and/or organizations can send to all of their subscribers, or a group of subscribers, at the same time.
Broadcast is used for sending:
- Sales Offers
- Seasonal Messages
- And other specific mailings
MailChimp is a provider of broadcast email. “MailChimp features allow people to send marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns.” Some features of MailChimp are:
- Email newsletters
- Lowest contact method
- 15-35% open-rate (Low percentage of opening is the only problem of this tool)
- Mobile optimized
- Avoiding spam
- Popular broadcast email systems
Mailchimp for Planning
Like other web technology tools, MailChimp can be used for planning purposes. It is beneficial for creating newsletters and community meeting’s flyers. Planners can distribute information regarding their Planning project with the community. they can also create flyers for meetings related to the planning process and send them to the public through this tool easily.
What I did? Here is a sample of using mailChimp for planning. I used this tool to create my own campaign that they are Cal Poly members for sharing some information about purposes of people for using ‘Dexter Lawn” at Cal Poly. Dexter Lawn is a great sample of public plaza or gathering places in Cal Poly university. I used observation and survey methods to create this newsletter. The newsletter retrieved here:
How I did it? After creating my account at MailChimp, I created my own list for this special campaign. I added 11 people of Cal poly members to my email lists and then I created my campaign. In this regard, I chose a layout for my broadcast email and a name for my campaign “Cal Poly Members” following by the campaign information. Picture below is a screenshot from the campaign info screen.
In continue, I created a newsletter and entered the related information to the specified layout and sent it to my list. picture below illustrates delivering my email to the subscribers.
After some hours I checked the report again and I got these information. Based on the report, approximately 55% of the subscribers opened the email but just 9% of them clicked on it. It also shows that the email delivered to all the list 100%.
On Friday, May 19, 2017, we had the opportunity to meet with Greg hermann, Assistant to the City Manager in charge of special projects and e-government initiatives. Our meeting were held at San Luis Obispo City Hall at 990 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA. In the meeting, Greg talked to us about Civic technology and E-government, its benefits and different ways and apps that different States of America use to communicate with their communities. For example, he talked about open government in the city of San Luis Obispo, CA for public using.
Here is three main takeaways of the presentation.
1- connecting citizens and governments; Making the government data available for majority of community.
It is a great opportunity for public to access the government ongoing projects, some of the city data and records. Furthermore, the government can talk with the community online and get their feedback and concerns beside gathering some statistics information with a few cost.
2- Helping government to the processes and data gathering; E-government is a tool for gathering data from a large number of people who they cannot participate in the process of decision-making.
Sometimes citizens have interest to be part of planning and decision-making process, but they do not have the chance to participate in person because of their availability times and other issues. Civic-Tech is a tool to help these people to be part of their government for its decisions while they do it in their own time. Likewise, the governments can gather a great number of opinions from citizens and get more appropriate decisions for their citizens.
3- Transparency with public; Civic-Tech is a tool for governments to notify their citizens about the futures.
Citizens have the right to know about the future of their cities. Civic-Tech provides this opportunity for governments to interact with their citizens and being transparent about their upcoming decisions.
Ideascale is a great crowdsource tool to gather ideas in different rates!
Crowdsourcing is a process to get work, fund and ideas from a crowd of people. For instance, Wikipedia is one of crowdsourcing resources to get a crowd of people the ability to share their own ideas by themselves. Crowdsourcing principle is using a crowd of people’s ideas, ability, skills and participation.
Ideascale is an innovation management software. this software allows different organizations collect a pool of ideas from their communities and get them a platform to vote different ideas. Ideascale has some benefits for businesses like:
- explore and share different ideas
- Getting votes for different ideas for business goals and preparing a team for the prioritized ideas for the business development.
Individuals and organizations can define their own community and campaign in Ideascale to get the related ideas from their own community. For example, City Planners can use this technology to access communities’ main concerns about their living areas and get more sense about the needs and prioritizing different tasks in implementation plans. For example, here is a sample of community that I made for my research about Lemoore’s downtown to get the community’s feedback and thought about the main street. I chose the residents of Lemoore as my campaign and asked them through emails and Facebook for their participation.
As can be seen, I could gather ideas and votes from my campaign that help me to recognize the community’s need for downtown of Lemoore. For instance, I understood the community needs more social events and gathering places in the downtown of Lemoore based on the vote rates.
In addition, there is an option to the website for adding your own questions to get ideas. In the edit interface, in the section of workflow and idea submission, there is a custom field for adding specific questions related to the subject. The figure below illustrates the location of custom filed for adding questions.
Video sharing is another technology tool for learning and education. YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing website that many people use it for sharing their videos in different aspects. Planners also use this tool to illustrate and share problems and solutions in their projects. For instance, here is one of the videos that I recorded and shared in YouTube to show traffic flow in highway 101, San Luis Obispo. Historic 101 is one of the main highways crossing north to south of California that is very important for planners in the case of transportation and accessibility.
For creating this video, I used edit manager in YouTube and used its different features like adding card, closed caption/subtitle and end screen. The picture below shows these edit tools on the top of the screen.
Google MyMap is one of the tools for web mapping that can be used by everyone for editing or adding some features and/or pictures to a particular area. It is also a beneficial tool for planners. For instance, planners can define their projects through this web tool. They can define their study area, the existing conditions and their proposals through Google MyMaps. For example, some planners use it for showing zoning or land uses.
Here is a sample of this web tool of mapping that I used to create the focus area of my research. the map shows Lemoore downtown main street and the main blocks including the existing historical buildings.
As can be seen in the imagebelow, there are some tools for defining a map with defining different layers.
Esri Story Map
Esri Story Map is another web mapping tool for adding different layers and points to an emphasis area. This tool is a kind of ArcGIS online. So, planners may use this tool to access easily to the current condition of transportation options, roads, zoning and so on related to a focus area. Furthermore, they can use it to create an area and adding points to show different features of it. For example, I defined an area in San Luis Obispo County and Showed the five main beaches including Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Cayucos and Grover Beach. The image below shows the tools for adding points and boundaries to create an emphasis area.
The pictures below also illustrate the final map created in Stoty Map.
Here is the link to access this map: