Our LoveLewisham web site is currently unavailable. Our LoveLewisham mobile apps are still available for all major platforms (please visit your app store to download). If you want to use the web to report an environmental issue, please use one of our web forms.
It’s nearly ten years since we launched our ground-breaking LoveLewisham app in 2005. A generic version of LoveLewisham was launched as LoveCleanStreets in 2009.
We’re often asked to share how the app was developed, so here is a short history:
After creating our Estate Watcher Scheme in 1997 we developed a very basic app to collect resident monitoring information. Some of our caretakers also used the app to record estate standards. This was part of our ISO 9002 Quality Management System. We developed this idea further in 1998 when we launched our ‘Lewisham Visible-Difference’ web site. This was the start our interest in using ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to demonstrate the visible difference our workers were making. We were commended for our efforts by judges from the New Statesman New Media awards in 1999.
(above) Site creators Stuart Grant and Nigel Tyrell with Lewisham Mayor, Dave Sullivan and Government Minister Jack Cunningham MP at the New Statesman, New Media Awards 1999
In 1999 we launched a data-driven version of the site, allowing residents, Members and workers to post reports and photos of environmental issues and see them resolved with an ‘after’ image.
In 2002 we began to post refuse and street cleansing information into this web application using early Compaq Ipaq mobile devices, running Microsoft Pocket PC. Of course at this stage there were no cameras, GPS or GPRS data connectivity with these devices, so we were capturing street cleansing monitoring reports and refuse collection and disposal data. We also used the app to record abandoned vehicle reports. We called this system DataStreet and teamed-up with a local IT Training Company to develop and market a professional version. Unfortunately we were a bit ahead of the market with this product (no one wanted to buy it!).
In 2004 the Pocket PC had developed enough for us to be able to post reports from the street, with a photo straight into our Visible-Difference web application. We renamed the app to Cam2Web and after some external training, built our own web UI, admin panel and Windows Mobile app.
Our first Cam2Web admin panel:
At this point we invited some residents and elected members to help ‘stress-test’ the app. We wanted to make sure the technology worked, but also make sure we were able to respond operationally. Posting reports onto a public website was going to be challenging!
We launched LoveLewisham on February 14th 2004. As you can see from this BBC News 24 feature, we were still using our Cam2Web site as the LoveLewisham version wasn’t ready!
(above) Our Cam2Web web application, mobile apps and admin panel continued to work for months (and years!) after the launch of LoveLewisham.
(above L-R) Cllr Andrew Brown, David Miliband, MP & Nigel Tyrell, LB Lewisham
In 2006 Lewisham wins a New Statesman New Media Award for Love Lewisham. We win the ‘Modernising Government’ Category. The judges said ” this novel idea could and should be replicated across local governments”. With this in mind we develop the idea for a national version of LoveLewisham called LoveCleanStreets. We register this domain name in 2006, but it takes a long time to convince someone to build this for us, so we get to work again, building our own version! In the meantime, MySociety launch their national version of the idea with Neighbourhood FixIt (later to become FixMyStreet) in 2007.
(above) “NeighbourhoodFixIt for Newham and Lewisham”. That was certainly news for us in Lewisham, and particularly ironic given that Newham now use the LoveLewisham system! In any event we’re very proud to be associated with the origins of FixMyStreet and still interested in building on the best of both systems.
[more instalments soon!]