Mobile technology helps New Plymouth dog-spotters

For an event entitled a "web and mobility symposium", the ALGIM conference of local government IT managers in Wellington was disappointingly short on case studies.

For an event entitled a “web and mobility symposium”, the ALGIM conference of local government IT managers in Wellington was disappointingly short on mobile content that did not come from vendors.

Vodafone, iTouch Business Mobility and Computerland all addressed the topic, but the only slot on the timetable allocated to a pure user case study was not filled.

Andrew Leusink of New Plymouth District Council says he simply ran out of time in a busy schedule to prepare and deliver his paper on “mobile delivery of council information” for the conference, earlier this month.

The furthest advanced of the council’s mobile plans is a system planned for dog control officers. They will carry Falcon pocket PCs with an inbuilt cellphone connection, to enable them to identify an apprehended dog by referencing the council’s database.

This will mean in many cases the animal can be returned to its owner’s address directly rather than being taken to the pound, Leusink says.

The project will be ready soon for a demonstration to council decision-makers, who will judge whether it should be taken further or be sent back for more work.

Similar devices could potentially be used by other council employees on the road, but no project has advanced as far as the dog control plan.

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