Vicinoesicuro is a non–profit project created to combat the Coronavirus outbreak and was launched a few hours after the announcement of the lockdown by Prime Minister Conte on March 9, 2020. Vicinoesicuro was developed together with Alfredo Colella, Cristiano Ferrari, Francesco del Bosco and Federico Capucci.
The project, completely free of charge, offers a navigable map of all the activities that make home deliveries: shops, bars, restaurants, newsstands, laundries and more.
Users can choose the type of service they need, consult the information on delivery methods and possible costs, and contact the shop owner directly. By registering in Vicinoesicuro, retailers can increase their visibility without any advertising investment.
Managed by volunteers and initially available only in the province of Reggio Emilia, the project has grown throughout Italy and is now extending to other European countries (among the first France, UK and Israel) thanks to the collaboration of Google Cloud (which, believing in the initiative, has provided us with free credits for the use of Maps) and Web Geo Services, Google partners as well as the company that created Woosmap, which is the technology that provides the “layer above” Google Maps.
Below the screenshot the history of the project from the day it was conceived (March 9, 2020, i.e. since Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the lockdown) to date.
Project history – Constantly updated
[December 3] Vicinoesicuro is now available on GitHub (5 html files with really simple markup, 2 css, 1 js). You can grab the code, improve it and/or replicate it in your country/community.
[November 19] After providing free credits for the use of Google Maps, Google confirmed its support for Vicinoesicuro by guaranteeing us the free use of Appsheet, the platform we used to develop the apps launched on the App Store and Google Play Store on November 13.
[November 13] With the recurrence of the infections and the division of Italy into red, orange and yellow zones, we considered it appropriate to resume the updates of Vicinoesicuro. With a novelty: from today the app is also available on the App Store and Google Play Store (italian markets only).
[April 12] Over the next few days we will launch a survey (anonymous, continent-wide and open to those who are not on our site) that will reveal how operators are coping with this crisis and what digital services could help them when it is over. To encourage open collaboration, we have published a post on our social media channels to collect suggestions and ideas about the questions that this survey should answer in order to be as comprehensive as possible.
[April 4] We joined the #TestIsOurChance project, an initiative launched to support non-profit organizations by AppQuality, the Italian crowdtesting platform. We will find out together with them how the service could be improved today and how it could evolve in the future, once the crisis is over. The results of the analysis will be made public.
[April 3] We have over 2,000 merchants across Italy.
[April 1] Confesercenti Toscana and Regione Toscana also believe in Vicinoesicuro and publish a press release inviting all the merchants present in their territory to subscribe to our portal. Federico Capucci joins, from the first day as sponsor of the project in his hometown of Ferrara.
[March 31] Over 1000 merchants registered. We have made Vicinoesicuro’s usage data public in order to promote transparency, encourage citizens’ participation and collaboration and receive feedback that can allow us to improve the service. All data are collected from the day of go live and updated in real time.
[March 30] Vicinoesicuro is replicated in France thanks to Web Geo Services, the company that developed the layer “above” Google Maps and that allows the search for merchants. The “French Vicinoesicuro” can be reached at url proxisur.fr. A Slack channel is created to promote communication between all the European volunteers of the project.
[March 28] Razom2020.com, a project developed by Markiyan Yurynets and inspired by Vicinoesicuro itself, was born in Ukraine. Unlike Vicinoesicuro, razom2020.com aims to solve the problems of the Ukrainian medical facilities, which have other resources and availability than Italian hospitals. Among the features offered by the site, for example, the map of hospital facilities for each of which is shown a detail sheet that lists all their needs (masks, ventilators, scrubs, etc).
[March 27] By approving several requests received in recent days we have introduced a feature that allows you to focus the map on a specific city. By way of example, the url vicinoesicuro.it/milano will allow you to immediately view the map of the merchants who offer home deliveries in Milan and its province. A feature aimed at helping municipalities which are interested in increasing the availability of the list of local traders, local newspapers that want to offer an additional service to their readers, etc.
[March 24] With its 52 specialized frozen food outlets in northern Italy, Picard I Surgelati is the first food chain to “land” on Vicinoesicuro. The Province of Reggio Emilia and Cescot Emilia Romagna (training body for Confesercenti members) support Vicinoesicuro by publishing the invitation to subscribe to our portal through their social profiles. Francesco del Bosco, joins me, Alfredo and Cristiano to support us in extending the site to the whole country.
[March 23] The extension of vicinoesicuro.it to the whole of Italy is also possible thanks to Google, which has considered our project to be able to provide “access to critical crisis response information and resources with Google Maps Platform by helping people locate community programs and resources closest to them” and for this reason has provided us with free credits necessary to cover a use of their API that would exceed the customary free threshold.
[March 21] A week after the launch of vicinoesicuro.it, given the many emails received from all over Italy (as well as from France, Ukraine and Israel), we decided to extend the map of businesses making home deliveries to the whole country. Expand it so that it doesn’t remain a project meant only for Reggio Emilia!
[March 20] The City of Ferrara supports Vicinoesicuro by publishing on its social profiles the invitation to subscribe to our portal.
[March 19] Impact Hub Created and managed by volunteers (together with me there are Alfredo and Cristiano) among all the people who talked about this project I would like to thank in particular Massimo (the first journalist to be interested in it) and Dario di Resistenze Digitali who, in a chat about Impact Hub Reggio Emilia‘s SofàSoGood (thanks Nick Giacchè), called Vicinoesicuro a project of “civic protection”.
[March 14] The first version of the map of vicinoesicuro.it is live.
[March 12] Thanks to its President Davide Massarini, Confcommercio Reggio Emilia is the first organization to believe in the project. Inviting its members to subscribe to the portal permitting Vicinoesicuro to acquire numerous subscriptions from the very first hours.
[March 11] We publish the membership form for the project inviting friends to share it on their social profiles. Cristiano Ferrari joins.
[March 9] Having discovered the beautiful initiative of Riccardo Saporiti on Gallarate, I set to work to replicate it in my province, Reggio Emilia. I talk about it on social platforms, offering technology to anyone who wants to develop the idea and take on the burden of managing the project. Alfredo Colella contacts me privately and we decide to launch it together. In a few hours the name and logo are born. The domain vicinoesicuro.it is also registered.