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OrangeCone Is a Locally-Made Platform for Reporting Public Service Issues

by Michelle Rosenfeld August 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Daniel Martin was on a walk in Arlington when he stumbled upon an idea for a new mobile application.

“I was walking around Clarendon — right across the street from the Metro — and I noticed a lamp post had been removed from a sidewalk, and the six-inch bolts that secure it… were left bare on the sidewalk and not covered,” Martin said. “They remained like that for more than two weeks.”

The incident reminded Martin of a time when his younger brother was injured by falling on similar bolts, requiring surgery.

“I realized that there had to be a way to communicate things like this easily to the people responsible, and started thinking about a way to do that.”

OrangeConeMartin developed a no-cost mobile app that enables citizens to communicate any public service issues they encounter with officials responsible for the area where the issue occurs.

He chose the name OrangeCone because it is a symbol for something that is not fully functional, but that has been recognized by someone, and warns people to be careful in the area. Martin is the founder and CEO of 38 North LLC, of which OrangeCone is the first product.

“The overall idea of the app is to notify whatever organization is responsible for that space, and to allow them to respond,” Martin said.

Martin said the company’s primary customers — those who will be on the receiving end of the issue reports — can include city and county governments, federal government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, commercial entities and more. Such groups can use the app to engage citizens as individuals and as a group, locate and visualize issues, and manage those issues to resolution.

Earlier this summer, the OrangeCone app hit the virtual shelves in mobile app stores. Arlington residents and visitors can use the app to report issues they see and to discover issues that have been reported in their area. Issues in Arlington are not yet being managed actively by officials, but Martin said OrangeCone has had ongoing conversations with Arlington County about potentially launching a pilot program.

The company’s first official trial was launched with the Corktown Economic Development Corporation in Detroit. The organization is using the app as the official channel for businesses to report public space issues to the city, Martin said.

Martin is working to recruit more governments for participation in an OrangeCone pilot program. He is in various levels of negotiation with several local governments and plans to conduct pilot programs in coming months.

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