Why is Geo Verification Important?
As we’ve noted before, there is a crisis in public consultation. People don’t trust the process anymore. At the same time, Internet technology and social media offer unprecedented opportunities for engaged public participation. Governments at all levels are legislating consultation and need accurate tools to validate their decision-making. Verifiable sources of data (quantitative and qualitative) are required to inform public policy development. Existing platforms are inadequate and to date online consultation has been anonymous and does not stand up to scrutiny.
Wherever place-based organizations seek to connect with people because of where they live or work, there is a role for PlaceSpeak‘s geo verification process.
Geo Verification and PlaceSpeak
Depending on the nature of the consultation, proponents want to know that the people that they are talking to are the ones that are affected. If it’s a real-estate development that is going to affect people in the immediate vicinity, the developer will want to know if they are hearing from residents in the immediate vicinity. PlaceSpeak’s geo-verification technology enables and encourages inclusive, informed citizen participation in location-based policy development and decision-making.
Current online consultation tools attempt to connect with residents on a one-off basis, for each community issue. PlaceSpeak will create a “bank” of residential users who are all interested in participating in local community issues. These residential users are all in one place, are willing and able to give feedback to their local government, and are geo-verified as being members of their own community.
When residents register on PlaceSpeak, they are geo-verified as being residents of their neighbourhood. The multi-layer verification example displayed below illustrates how a request drills through multiple layers of verification, thus enhancing and establishing the user’s verification level (measured by a star ranking). The verification levels that PlaceSpeak will support for each proponent are subject to data availability, completeness and cost. The importance of the verification component to the proponent for the topic or issue will also determine the degree of verification required.
There is nothing else out there online that ties your residential location with consultation. By signing up and being verified, our residential users have proven that they are real people. Additionally, as participants are authenticated by the platform; their comments are not anonymous. As a result, there is a disincentive to spam or post unproductive comments. So when people connect with topic proponents, the consultations will be more meaningful.
By connecting resident’s online identities to the real world, PlaceSpeak enables people to be able to genuinely affect outcomes of decisions in their neighborhoods.