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Strategy Consulting Initiative – PlaceSpeak x SCI

admin April 15, 2024

PlaceSpeak Artificial Intelligence AI Project with BCIT CIP ISSP

admin April 12, 2024

SDI Digital Democracy Report: New 2024 Edition

admin March 1, 2024

Reinventing Trust in the Digital Age: PlaceSpeak’s Landmark Achievement

admin January 16, 2024

PlaceSpeak receives first ever Trustmark for Digital Identity

admin January 14, 2024


admin September 11, 2023

In Conversation with Matt Leighninger

admin August 29, 2023

The Importance of Verified Civic Engagement

admin June 5, 2023

PlaceIt Map Upgraded

admin April 4, 2023


admin February 27, 2023

Slide 1

Welcome to the presentation. PlaceSpeak is being used by Planners across Canada and the US to facilitate the collection of legitimate data for evidenced based decision making.

Slide 2

What is PlaceSpeak? PlaceSpeak is a location-based consultation platform that solves the problem of how to engage with people online within specific geographical boundaries — and prove it. Our mission is to build legitimacy in online democratic practices by authenticating digital identity to place, protecting individual privacy, and closing the feedback loop between public consultation and accountability.

Slide 3

Public Consultation is part of a Regulatory Process whereby the public’s input is sought on matters affecting them. Its main goals are improving the efficiency and transparency of public involvement in decision-making or policy development. Consultations occur at all levels: neighbourhood, municipal, regional, state/provincial, national or even international. Regulations exist in both the public and private sectors.

  • This feedback loop shows how it’s supposed to work
  • We run into a breakdown at the consultation phase, which doesn’t give the hard evidence required for accurate deliberation and desired outcomes.
  • PlaceSpeak addresses the problems encountered at this stage

Slide 4

  • Public meetings are full of NIMBYs and ‘the usual suspects’. Not representative, inclusive or accessible.
  • Door knocking is location-based, but people don’t even answer their doors anymore.
  • 15% year over year loss of people with landline telephones.

Slide 5

The Rise of the Trolls – paid and unpaid – flourish in anonymity. This results in gaming of the system and can lead to:

With Social Media people can easily create bogus accounts. Garbage in, garbage out is what you get with social media sentiment analysis.

Slide 6

PlaceSpeak is part of DIACC (Digital Identity Authentication Council of Canada). We authenticate digital identity to physical address.

Slide 7

When people are being asked to authenticate to place the next question always relates to privacy.  PlaceSpeak are Privacy by design ambassadors. http://www.privacybydesign.ca/index.php/ambassador/placespeak/. We protect individual privacy and at the same time provide verified data (evidence).

Slide 8

PlaceSpeak was build around the  IAP2 Spectrum of engagement:

  1. Inform,
  2. Consult
  3. Involve
  4. Collaborate
  5. Empower

Slide 9

PlaceSpeak operates a 2-sided market versus:

  • Standalone websites
  • White label application

That means participants can register and verify once and partake in multiple engagements with local governments, school districts and other relevant organizations.

Slide 10

We have  a growing list of verification methods – We’re always looking for more ways to authenticate

Choice in the hands of the user

Proponents choose level of rigour

Slide 11

Participants can add their own profile: 

GeoSocial Profile setup

  • Privacy
  • Verification
  • Notification
  • Social Media integration

Add multiple places – home, work, recreational property, revenue property, management
My Neighbourhood

Slide 12

People complain that they are not notified of relevant consultations. Here they can determine distance, keywords and frequency of notifications. Email available but mobile SMS coming soon.

Slide 13

We have a citizen-centred network effect.  You can add your own neighbourhood. Have automated notifications based on where you live.

Open data is key to systematizing flow of consultation topic notifications to citizen participants

Citizen-centred network effect leads to critical mass of engaged participants

Objective: to become a Consultation Utility

Slide 14

The typical way engagement occurs.

  • Sign on property
  • Postcard in the mail
  • Advertisement in the newspaper (per Vancouver Charter)

Citizens feel disconnected – ”Nobody notified me, I wasn’t consulted, no one told us anything about it!”

In the case of location activity notification for motion picture production a hand delivered letter is distributed.

Slide 15

Open Data makes PlaceSpeak into a Consultation Utility.

Land use change notifications is something we’re rolling out, constantly building and testing


Partnered with Socrata.

Slide 16

PlaceSpeak has a new neighborhoods feature – https://www.placespeak.com/neighbourhoods/

Slide 17

Proponent types cross-pollinate

  • the more opportunities to engage creates a critical mass

Social Venture focus for nonprofits

  • Social venture: doing well by doing good

Slide 18

Software as a Service, everything is done online, nothing needs to be installed and can be accessed wherever you have an internet connection

Payment can be made monthly or annually (discounted)

Payment can be made on PayPal or Credit card

Slide 19

Organizations fall into 4 main types:

  1. Government
  2. Agencies
  3. Private Sector
  4. Non-profit

Slide 20

Organizations can manage multiple topics from a central dashboard.

Slide 21

Organizations input content into an Administrative Dashboard.

Clicking on “Preview” takes you back to the public-facing topic page.

Toggle back and forth between “Edit” and “Preview”.

Can Notify all connected participants.

Slide 22

Choose Scope of participation

By email list of stakeholders for closed consultations

By area determined on the Map or Open

Choose levels of verification required for participation

Slide 23

The ‘Secret Sauce”

Map the area(s) of interest

All data geocoded according to polygons on the map

  • the key to reporting, as all the reports are segmented geographically

Polygons can be “drawn” or upload GIS boundary files (KML, Shape)

Slide 24

Here’s what participants see when you’ve put in your information.

The pages can be continually updated over the course of the consultation. In fact, it’s encouraged!

Transparency encourages trust

Slide 25

Inform – notify and tell the narrative of the consultation in words and pictures, with online and offline interfaces

Slide 26

  1. Polls with instant results
  2. Surveys – adding more survey applications as options
    1. Lime Survey – free, open source
    2. Fluid Survey – used by many local governments
  3. Place It (Post It) user input map – map-based commenting
  4. Discussions show name, location and have threaded conversations, with thumbs up/down (can pre-moderate)
  5. Notice Board – user generated content

Slide 27

There are numerous applications specializing in each stage of the spectrum of public impact.  

Inserting verified identity into the mix can help leverage the network effect and help engender sustained public participation.

PlaceSpeak is adding more functionality and features.

e.g. PlaceVote

Slide 28

Buttons – code snippet

Widgets – selection

iFrame(s) – choose various shapes and sizes

Slide 29


WordPress Plugin for geo-verification of users.

Slide 30

iFrame for multiple consultation topics within a jurisdiction’s website.


Slide 31

We have developed best practices for online and offline

Slide 32

All raw feedback data is segmented spatially: By polygon area boundaries

  • Quantitative (polls & surveys)
  • Qualitative (discussion, notice board)

Available in Excel spreadsheets, CSV, or PDF formats

Plug in Google Analytics

Slide 33

Developing better place-based metrics and analytics

Identifies “participant Health” under-represented areas for additional targeted promotion.

Slide 34


  • Ubiquitous Internet, Accessible, 24/7.  
  • Decreased relevance of Digital Divide.

Popular Control

  • Effective control over decision-making.
  • Importance of citizen engagement.

Considered Judgement

  • Information. Notification. Education.
  • Narrative approach / storytelling.
  • Reasonableness and civil discourse.


  • Trust, Confidence and Accountability. Open Data.
  • Efficiency
  • Cost in time, money and expertise.
  • Manageability.


  • Internet not limited by scale.
  • Identity and Privacy missing pieces.