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Bakersfield's Pothole Map

For the past several years, in every talk I’ve given about what traditional journalism organizations could do to involve communities in the reporting, I’ve suggested a “Pothole Map” — a mashup where citizens post the location of street potholes. has done it — well, part of what I suggest. The other part would be to ask people to take photos of the potholes and post them along with the locations. (Update: Some potholes do have photos attached.)

Next, connect the map directly to the city government’s street department. Then keep track of which potholes get fixed in what order, and see which neighborhoods get faster service, and how big a pothole has to be to get the city’s attention.

lad to see an organization trying this. Now where’s everyone else?

4 Comments on “Bakersfield's Pothole Map”

  1. #1 steven
    on Feb 27th, 2007 at 9:11 am

    that map actually does feature photos of *some* of the potholes.

  2. #2 Davin McHenry
    on Feb 28th, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    As steven mentioned, the map does have some pictures and readers absolutely can add photos with their potholes. It’s kind of up to the users if they want to provide that info.

    If you scroll to the bottom of the map you will also see a link to the city’s webpage where you can request a pothole be fixed. There is also a phone number for the county, which does not have an online form or email.

    We’re working on the other “next” steps, including tracking potholes that get fixed.

    Davin McHenry
    Web editor
    Bakersfield Californian

  3. #3 Bill Thompson
    on Mar 3rd, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Over here in the UK we’ve got a similar site about to launch – Neighbourhood Fix-It (note the spelling) at has a very nice mapping interface and can be used to report all sorts of stuff to the local authority. It’s being built by mySociety, who do lots of other socially-oriented sites, with support from think-tank the Young Foundation.

    Interestingly enough I showed it to my online journalism class at City University (London) yesterday and asked them to think of how it could provide useful data for story research – it’s not just the CJ crowd who are interested here.

  4. #4 Hazel
    on Apr 26th, 2007 at 9:19 am

    There is a pothole at the RR tracks on Gilmore St. that needs fixing.