I remember the days following the 2013 Toronto Ice Storm. I remember the vast number of amateur pictures and videos presented on conventional news stations and of course on YouTube, Twitter, and other forms of social media. The pictures and videos contained many images of damaged assets, including trees on wires, stressed or broken poles, and in some cases wires down.
Surely we can all understand the effort that every affected Utility or Municipality undertook to assess the damaged assets. What if we leveraged the customers and each other?
Consider this; many field crews and employees have smart phones capable of snapping pictures or videos which can be automatically Geotagged with the GPS location. Imagine how quickly we could gather information after a natural disaster if we all worked together for the greater good.
The next step is to not only utilize staff but to open the doors and share this information with other Utilities. We can even allow the public to provide valuable feedback.
Crowdsourcing has become a valuable tool in many industries, so why not ours?