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Power Tool:

SeeClickFix is a new crowdsource* designed to document, track, and verify needed infrastructure repairs in cities across the country.  Volunteers use the website interface or a smartphone application (available for Blackberry, iPhone, and Android devices) to photograph and describe a trouble spot in their town.  Additionally, the trouble spot is "georeferenced" (located and tagged on a digital map, like Google Maps) and can be tracked by the government body with jurisdiction over the site.  It's a promising tool for empowering citizens to keep watch over their local infrastructure and neighborhood safety.

* What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a call made to the public (e.g., the "crowd") for assistance witha task generally performed by an employee or contractor.  Crowdsourcing is an increasingly important civic participation tool for cash-strapped local governments who are in need of assistance in identification of service and infrastructure gaps.  Crowdsourcing allows participants to leverage existing technological tools (smartphones, laptops, tablets, and so on) to solve problems quickly and efficiently.