Co-created AI extension is based on the needs of municipalities

September 01, 2021 | News, Case Studies

Cities of Jyväskylä and Lahti had a key role in developing the AI extension to the Trimble Feedback solution

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Majority of Finnish big and medium-sized cities are using Trimble Feedback to support their customer services. With the solution citizens and interest groups are able to give feedback to authorities easily and quickly in a digital format.

The new AI extension provides benefits and help both for persons giving feedback and for the authorities processing it. The extension was developed in collaboration by Trimble, Top Data Science, City of Jyväskylä and City of Lahti.

We had two major goals for this development. We bring additional information to the feedback provider a bit like unnoticed. Second, we help and support the work of authorities processing the feedback through automatic interpretation and analysis.“, says Chief Operating Officer Kai Lehtinen of Top Data Science.

Trimble Feedback utilizes spatial information, and with a map functionality, the feedback can be positioned accurately to a specific location. Already today the feedback is directed to correct responsible persons, but with the new functionality, the system also interprets and analyzes the content automatically.

Artificial intelligence highlights the desired themes and analyzes the text so that the processor can see at a glance what the issue is about, which location the feedback concerns and whether it is a matter of the past or the future.”, states Jukka Vänttinen, Product Development Director of Trimble.

One of the goals was to give answer already before a feedback is sent

The city of Jyväskylä has been using Trimble Feedback already since 2010, and starting from 2012 it has been used throughout the city organization. Annually about 13 000 feedbacks are given with the solution. Most common topics relate to streets, parks, forests, public transportation and street lightning.

Naturally we are not targeting to increase the amount of feedback given. Main goal is that the people would be able to find information without sending feedback.“, says Janne Hartman, GIS manager of city of Jyväskylä.

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With the new extension a municipality can create themes for recurring topics and decide what information would help the user. When the user writes feedback, the AI detects the context of the written text, and suggests the user to move to view relevant information about the topic. In addition, the system displays similar feedback already provided. Instead of sending new feedback, the user may like the feedback of others. This information is passed on to the people that are in charge of that specific topic in the city.

The functionality helps the citizens, and thus us as well, when we do not need to reply to replicating topics. We also further develop our own web pages so that we can guide the citizens to the right web content. Everyone will benefit from this.“, says Janne Hartman.

The city of Lahti has been using Trimble Feedback over a decade, and it is the main feedback system in the city. About 9000 feedbacks are given through the solution, mostly relating to public transportation and street maintenance.

On one hand it is important that our customers are giving feedback, and we want to promote that. On the other hand we have limited resources to respond to them. The challenge is to combine these two controversial objectives.“, states Aija Holopainen, GIS manager of city of Lahti.

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Feedback extension was the first project in the Urban Environment service area that is utilizing Artificial Intelligence. Holopainen also sees that the biggest benefits will be gained when the citizens get additional, relevant information when giving feedback. As well as that they can see similar feedback already given and answers to them.

The goal is that the customer journey to give feedback and ask the questions in mind would be as fluent as possible.“, Aija Holopainen adds.

AI identifies automatically sensitive information

Municipalities can decide themselves whether a given feedback is published for all or not. In the future the solution is able to automatically detect sensitive information and block such content to be published instantly.

The extension is based on the ability of modern artificial intelligence technology to interpret natural language. It masters well even casually written text and raffle word choices. The combination of an advanced feedback system and advanced artificial intelligence automation is the first of its kind on the market.“, says Kai Lehtinen.

In Jyväskylä all feedback that relates to the technical sector is published automatically. Because of this, insulting content or content that includes personal data might have been published over the weekend.

When a citizen sends a feedback and wants it to be public it is published rightaway. Mostly this works without problems, but sometimes there have been some abusive comments. With the extension we can continue with the same open principle, but can do that with higher level of data security and privacy.“, says Janne Hartman.

The city of Lahti has decided to publish the feedback only after it has been checked and processed.
Both approaches have their strengths, but at least for now we have the responsible person’s control in between. Of course we can change the guidelines if AI sensitivity check makes the process more safe and secure.“, Aija Holopainen says.

The development was initiated based on customer needs

Trimble, Top Data Science, Jyväskylä and Lahti started the joint development project in March 2021 and the development work was finalized by the end of May. All participants are giving very positive remarks about the co-operation.

This was an interesting project and we had a very development-oriented atmosphere within the team. Naturally when we are processing something totally new, everyone is engaged and it is exciting to innovate new functionality.“, Hartman states.

AI extension is not city specific and the team was working from the beginning towards a solution that would fit to all municipalities. Kai Lehtinen highlights the importance of involving customers in the process.

Jyväskylä and Lahti described the needs of municipalities through concrete examples, Trimble has a state-of-the-art feedback system and expertise, and we at Top Data Science have the ability to apply the best artificial intelligence technologies. The combination of competences enabled great results.“, he summarizes.

The project contained several online meetings and workshops. The collaboration of four parties was agile and the working method was effective.

The project progressed at a good pace and with a prompt schedule through common workshops. Workshops do not quarantine success, but in this case the method worked well. I felt it was really important that we achieve such results that are taken into use, and provide true benefits to our organization and customers.“, Aija Holopainen states.

AI extension is easy to take into use

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The extension can be acquired to Trimble Feedback as an additional option. It will be taken into productional use soon in Jyväskylä and Lahti.

The functionality will be taken into use quickly along with the version upgrade. There is no need for training and bigger implementation work.“, Janne Hartman says.

During the project the team identified many opportunities to improve authority work processes and citizen collaboration with AI technology.

I specifically hope that we can find new ideas and application areas, where the same kind of AI automation could be utilized. As such this is a fairly small development topic, but I see this as a start for something much bigger.“, Aija Holopainen concludes.

Additional information:
Jukka Vänttinen
Product Development Director, Trimble
[email protected]
+358 40 7084369

Kai Lehtinen
COO, Top Data Science
[email protected]
+358 40 5912369

About Trimble Utilities & Public Administration

Trimble Utilities & Public Administration provides our customers in the energy distribution, water supply and public administration sectors with software solutions whose key features are strong spatial data capabilities, modularity and interoperability. Our software supports design, construction, operation and maintenance processes and builds high-quality, electronic customer service solutions.


About Top Data Science

Top Data Science provides leading-edge AI-based solutions and services from world-class multi-industry enterprises to focused service companies and public sector organizations. was founded by an elite team of data scientists and business development professionals with a passion to solve our customer’s toughest business problems with AI.
Top Data Science is a Morpho Group company. Established in 2004, Morpho Inc. is a global leader in image processing and imaging AI solutions, with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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