How long does it take to get a Community Remarks site for my community?
You can go live within a couple of hours. We need two things from you first: the latitude and longitude for the map center and an email address to the person who will monitor the comments.
Can I customize the placemarks?
Yes. Provide us with vector or raster artwork you would like to use and we will format them into markers.
How do I solicit feedback for particular areas of interest?
This is done through categories. You need to setup a category for each map you would like to create. Categories are created through the administration (CMS). We provide access to it via a username and password upon setup.
How long can I use it for?
As long as you like. The intention of the application is to gather comments during a particular phase of the planning process. Our assumption is that you are going to need it for several months, then you might choose to close comments. We will keep your Community Remarks application live for reference but will close down the opportunity to insert feedback into the system at your request. Just let us know. An annual license for each project/service area must be purchased annually.
Will you partner with our planning firm?
Yes. We currently have several types of partners such as exclusive partners at the state level. We partner regionally to offer firms a discounted price for the purchase of bulk licenses. If you are interested in gaining a competitive edge for your planning firm, contact Crystal right away.
Can I use it multiple times for the same community for different things?
Yes. Some planners will use it initially to gather thoughts and opinions about places. In the second phase, they archive those comments, add their map data (comments and GIS layers) then open it up for a second round of public comments. You will inevitably need our assistance transitioning from phase one to two, so just let us know and we will help you insert GIS layers onto the map and make any other desired changes.
Can I use Community Remarks for multiple municipalities/communities?
Yes and no. Our pricing structure is based on licensing Community Remarks to an individual community or municipality. If you are supporting a larger area such as a region, you might want to discuss ways to make the application more user-friendly to an audience that covers a wider geographic sweep. Of course, you have the right to leverage Community Remarks to reach the largest audience possible. However, the developer of this application wants you to achieve the highest user-friendliness possible and would like to provide advice prior to implementation at a scale larger than a city. See The Ride, which is an example of how we customized the application in order to break the map into districts.
Who uses this tool?
Community Remarks is best utilized during the urban planning process for transportation, historic preservation, economic development, and comprehensive planning projects. It can also be creatively leveraged for a visioning plan or to attract interest to a plan. For instance, for the Des Moines, Iowa regional plan, we are leveraging the functionality of Community Remarks to host a photo contest. We are inviting residents to show and tell us what sustainability looks like to them. A geotagged photograph will help us to visualize the strengths of the region.
Is there a reporting tool dashboard with the Community Remarks site?
We have several reporting mechanisms in place. Each serves a different purpose.
I attach Google Analytics to each installation of Community Remarks to track traffic sources, general web traffic, and hits. You can login to Google Analytics at any time to monitor the use of CR in your community.
On the database side of things, I record a timestamp for each entry so we know exactly when comments were made: date and time of day. I export all of the entry information to a spreadsheet for your review upon request. This spreadsheet can be imported into GIS for further use.
Up to the minute reporting occurs once a comment is made. Because we do not require a login to make a comment, we automatically notify you and myself via email at the time a comment is submitted. This email contains all the submitted information including a photo if they uploaded one as well as the capability to view the comment live, login to edit it, respond to the comment, or remove it from the system.
If there are any other types of information you would like to garner on the reporting side of things, then we can customize features for you because the application is flexible.
Who Owns the Comments?
You own the comments. We do not claim ownership of anything submitted through the application. We will provide you with exports of the database upon request.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending on your specific needs. The application license starts at $995 plus an annual web hosting fee. You might require several hours of technical support billed at an hourly rate for desired changes and modifications to the application.
Can I use one license over and over?
Yes, if it is for the same community. You are encouraged to purchase a license for each project/service area. If you want to keep the application running over the long-term to support community awareness and interest, please contact us.
Can you just setup a permanent demo for our firm to use for our RFPs?
Yes. You would need to purchase a license to use exclusively for your project RFPs.