Ever wonder why that pothole on your block still isn’t fixed? Or why the streetlight that’s been out for weeks still isn’t working? Why haven’t the city’s maintenance staff taken care of it yet?

A very new — and very cool — program is helping answer some of those questions. And in doing so, it’s also showing just how powerful field service-related data can be.

The Daily Brief is a project started by Code for America, in which developers use data about city maintenance services compiled by Open311 to develop interactive maps showing details of all the different sites where citizens have reported blight. Each individual entry also shows the current status of the job — either reported, scheduled, completed, etc.

The program, besides just being really cool (and a fantastic time-suck — and I mean that in a good way) not only allows residents to directly file a complaint about that pesky pothole, but also to gain an understanding of the status of any given job, and also place it within the context of the entirety of jobs the city is handling.

A few other companies are also developing mobile applications to help allow citizens to automatically report blight (which we’ve written about in the past), but the Daily Brief takes the data aggregation to a new — and certainly a more visually appealing — level.

So far, only three cities are being tracked with The Daily Brief: Boston, Baltimore, and Bloomington, Ind. But the open nature of the site can be easily replicated for more cities.

Through the Daily Brief, “We can find trends and maybe one day prioritize those that are more serious,” wrote Angel Kittiyachavalit, a fellow for Code for America, in a blog post on the Huffington Post. “… In the future, predictive analysis can help cities run more effectively and save money.”

Using large amounts of data to discern even larger trends is a big deal for field service organizations, public or not. And while the idea of making this sort of data publicly available may not be a realistic strategy for lots of private organizations, the Daily Brief certainly holds some lessons about the benefit of engineering easily digestible and readable data sets.

How does your organization track its data? Let us know in the comments section.

More: How Mobile Apps Are Reinventing Citizen Field Service for Boston.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.