Mobile Apps

USDA FoodKeeper App Update Expands Content Offerings

The USDA’s multilingual FoodKeeper app has been updated to include three options for receiving food recall updates and expands storage timelines to over 500 products. This post was originally published on the USDA blog. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new access to information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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The Data Briefing: How to Best Prepare Federal Government Datasets for Chatbots

Forbes magazine recently ran an article showcasing six handy mobile apps that were built using federal government open data. The apps range from the Alternative Fueling Station Locator to ZocDoc (a doctor locator). What I especially like about the Forbes article is that the author describes the federal government data sets behind each app. There are many more mobile apps built by federal government agencies or using federal government data sources.

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The Smithsonian’s IPOP Exhibition Framework: Lessons for a Human-Centered Content Approach

One of the great challenges in designing a product — digital or otherwise — is stepping outside yourself and climbing into the minds of your users. You love the wonderful new app you’ve designed, but will it appeal to others? Fortunately, the field of user experience design (UX) gives us tools to understand our users through surveys, interviews, card sorting, and user testing. The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Policy and Analysis has another tool to consider for your UX toolbox: IPOP.

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New Trademark App Open Source Code on GitHub

Improving the way the government delivers information technology (IT) solutions to its customers isn’t just a goal, it’s our mission. We at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office know that by publishing our open source code, the public can help us come up with new and better IT solutions. In advance of the new Federal Source Code Policy and in support of the Administration’s Open Government Initiative, we have been publishing content on GitHub for over a year, and it now includes source code for a mobile application for trademarks.

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FEMA’S Syndicated Content: Digital Assists in Moments of Disaster

I recently interviewed Daniel Kuhns, Web Manager at FEMA, about the site widgets and the FEMA app his organization has been developing. The widgets currently available include: FEMA App, Preparedness, Severe Weather, Private Sector, Kids Fire Safety, and Are you a Disaster Survivor. The FEMA App offers many features such as weather alerts, safety reminders, shelter information and contact information. This information can be very helpful in times of an emergency, and some of it, to include the safety tips, are available offline.

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Are Chatbots the Next mHealth Frontier?

In April, Facebook made it possible for organizations to use chatbots to send and receive messages from users of Facebook Messenger. That’s a big deal. Facebook Messenger is now used by 900 million people every month. As the name implies, it’s a messaging platform that people use to send short messages to each other through the app. It’s the most popular messaging app in the U.S, and the second most popular of those apps worldwide, behind only WhatsApp (which Facebook also owns).

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“For Those Who Serve” App Collection Provides Mobile Resources for Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, several VA mobile apps are featured this week in the Apple App Store. In the “For Those Who Serve” collection of resources, Veterans can find the latest military news, essential health and wellness information, and other valuable tools for everyday life. The highlighted VA apps are designed to help Veterans manage their physical and mental health. They are part of a larger suite of VA apps that connect Veterans to essential resources and expand care outside of the VA Medical Center.

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Trends on Tuesdays: Mobile Phone Camera Upgrades Offer Interesting Opportunities for Government Agencies

Professional photographer and early “iPhonography” pioneer, Chase Jarvis coined the phrase, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” The recent jumps in mobile phone photo technology presents interesting opportunities for government agencies to consider as mobile phone cameras are starting to rival and surpass professional gear. When Google and Apple both announced their annual flagship phone upgrades this past month, the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively, the most talked about and touted features were the cameras.

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Progressive Web Applications, Part 2: Pros, Cons, and Looking Ahead

A few weeks ago, Progressive Web Applications, Part 1: the New Pack Mule of the Internet _introduced PWAs and the technologies behind them. We shared that article to the MobileGov Community of Practice and asked about the pros and cons of this approach to winning mobile moments._ What Are Some Benefits of PWAs? PWAs bring a host of advantages over the traditional native mobile and Web methodologies including:

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Creating Wall-Sized Interaction at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

As any experienced retailer will tell you, the customer experience begins at the store entrance. Note the friendly Walmart greeter, the approachable minimalism of an Apple Store, and the calculated whimsy of Anthropologie. Store designers understand that a customer’s decision to make a purchase is often made within seconds of entering. The same holds true for visitors entering a museum. And while most museums are not expert peddlers of merchandise (though some museum stores certainly are), the savvy ones value the entrance experience and work to iterate and improve.

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NASA: Open Gov Plan 2016 Outline

Here is the outline for our 2016 Open Government Plan. Let us know what you think. We’ve also posted this on GitHub/NASA for your comments: https://github.com/nasa/Open-Gov-Plan-v4. NASA and Open Government NASA is an open government agency based on the founding legislation in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which calls for participation and sharing in the conduct of how we go about the business of expanding the frontiers of knowledge, advancing understanding of the universe, and serving the American public.

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Progressive Web Applications, Part 1: the New Pack Mule of the Internet

****A mule is the hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a horse. This new species is stronger and better equipped than the species from which it comes. Overall, mules tend to be healthier, more sound, and live longer than horses. They are favored over horses in mountainous terrain because the mule has a reputation for being more surefooted than their equine cousins. Finally, mules do not require expensive grains, eat less and don’t tend to overeat as horses do.

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Trends on Tuesday: Pokemon Go-es Away Slowly

The wildly popular, augmented reality game we reported on for Trends on Tuesday a few weeks ago and the focus of a piece about government agencies using it to engage citizens appears to have hit a ceiling and is slowly losing active fans in August according to a recent report in Bloomberg. While the mobile game may be losing audience, from a brand perspective Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise was reinvigorated for a new generation of fans which will pay dividends in the future.

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The Data Briefing: Microservices and Serverless Apps — A New Direction for Federal Government Mobile Apps?

Continuing from last week’s column on DevOps and containers, I will explain two other hot trends in IT — microservices and serverless apps. For those who want official federal government guidance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a draft special publication on microservices, application containers, and system virtual machines (PDF, 660 kb, 12 pages, February 2016). I wrote about microservices and containers in February 2015 as two API* trends to watch.

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Trends on Tuesday: Signs of the App-ocalypse

A new report from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum shows that most users delete apps because of security concerns. The report also said that 47% of survey respondents would pay extra for an app that didn’t share personal information and that the inability to find a privacy policy is one of the leading reasons for consumers losing trust in an app. Privacy requirements aren’t just a “nice to have” for government agencies; including a privacy policy in all of your digital sites and apps is a new requirement from OMB Circular A-130 that was recently released.

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Widgets, Mobile Apps, and SMS: Essential Agency Tools for Summer Heat Safety, Hurricane Season, and Emergency Preparedness

According to recent Pew Research Center surveys, 45 percent of American adults have tablets and 68 percent have smartphones. While the majority of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to keep up with breaking news and stay informed about what is happening in their communities, nearly half, 40 percent, also reported using their smartphones to look up government services or information. As is the case each summer, most of the U.

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The Data Briefing: “PreparedGo” – The Federal Emergency Management Agency Mobile App

While you are outside hunting Pokemon or helping your children hunt Pokemon, consider adding another mobile app to your smartphone or tablet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mobile app alerts you about severe weather and other natural disasters. The app is also a great information resource on surviving disasters and connects you to FEMA for immediate assistance. A feature you won’t find in many other apps is the ability for users to crowdsource photos of disaster areas to help first responders.

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The Data Briefing: Mobile Apps, Responsive Web Sites, and the “Mobile Moment”

The debate between responsive websites and mobile apps took a decisive turn this week when the United Kingdom’s Digital Service (UKDS) banned the creation of mobile apps. In an interview with GovInsider, the founder of UKDS, Ben Terrett, explained that mobile apps were too expensive to build and maintain. Responsive websites were easier to build and updating the application only requires changing one platform. “For government services that we were providing, the web is a far far better way… and still works on mobile,” Terrett said.

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Catch the Mall! With Pokemon and Public Services

“… I have never seen so many people of all ages walking around our civic spaces and small businesses interacting as I have this morning. Teens catching them. People catching them in line for coffee. Moms outsmarting their kids. Local youths teaching my toddler how to throw a ball. Full grown adults. Marines. Kids on scooters. Kids on bikes. 20-somethings walking in packs. How are other small towns faring? Awesome to be outside right now building a community over something so silly and fun.

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The Content Corner: How to Leverage User-Generated Content to Resonate With Your Audience

User-Generated Content (UGC) is a buzzword as of late, popularized recently due to the ever increasing demand for new content. To define the phrase, let’s look to a shining example of it,Wikipedia, as a source, “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats,tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements, and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites.

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NASA Space Apps Challenge: 2016 Global Winners!

We’re thrilled to announce the Space Apps 2016 Global Award Winners!! These projects well represent the best of the best innovative thinking this year. Congratulations to all the teams. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming NASA launch in Florida. Best Use of Data: Scintilla, created at the Space Apps Pasadena, California main stage event, mitigates the impact of poor air quality in the global community by democratizing air quality data collection.

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Open Data Democratizes Innovation

Americans Use Public Data to Improve the Lives of Fellow Citizens Data is one of our most important national assets. It informs our policy and our national priorities. But as we have seen time and time again, the most effective way to govern is to engage with the public directly. Thanks to the President’s Executive Order requiring that agencies make data open, we are democratizing access to data.

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Three Actions to Take Now to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Summary: The 2016 National Preparedness Report is an important guidepost in our work to build a stronger, more resilient America. Today we released the 2016 National Preparedness Report, an important guidepost in our work to build a stronger, more resilient America. The findings of this year’s report are significant. This vital information is analyzed to gauge the progress that community partners—including all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities, and individuals—are making to prepare for a wide array of threats and hazards.

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Trends on Tuesday: What Kind of Apps Will Users Return To?

Flurry Analytics, a mobile application analytics company owned by Yahoo!, released a new report about app retention. Unless your app usage is around “gambling”—with cards (game apps), with your money (finance apps), with whether or not to bring an umbrella (weather apps), or with your health (fitness apps)—user retention and re-engagement is often a steep wall to climb. The research shows that top trends across Android and Apple apps are similar, but Android users appear to be a little more choosey when it comes to re-using an app: after 30 days, Android app retention clusters around 10%, compared to 14% for Apple.

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Using Pirate Metrics to Analyze Your Mobile Application’s Audience

What Makes a Native App Successful? There are over 200 native applications in the federal government with various download numbers. Are the ones with the most downloads the most successful? Is the one with fewer users who are more engaged more successful? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. David Cooper, the Mobile Application Development Lead with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) and member of the MobileGov Community of Practice, said during a recent DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar, that while vanity metrics such as page views for websites and downloads for apps make you feel good, they don’t tell you anything about how users like your app or site.

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The Data Briefing: What Makes a Great Federal Government App?

USAGov recently released a list of six great federal government mobile apps. There were many apps released by the federal government over the last 5-6 years on a wide range of topics and services. Many are well-designed and useful to the American public. So, what are the outstanding federal government apps for 2016? The Department of State’s Smart Traveler. First launched in 2011, this mobile app helps international travelers find U.

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Check Your Refund Status AND Pay Your Taxes With IRS2Go

This tax season, it’s not just taxpayers expecting a refund who can take advantage of IRS2Go, the IRS’ mobile app, but now taxpayers who owe money are able to make payments through the app. IRS2Go offered for Amazon, Android and iOS is one of the oldest and arguably most popular government apps with over five million downloads on the Android platform alone. Every year IRS reviews user feedback and decides what new features to add.

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The Data Briefing: Mobile Websites or Mobile Apps or Both?

The increasing sophistication of mobile devices has created many opportunities for developers. Thanks to APIs* and open data, developers can build thousands of mobile apps and mobile websites to meet users’ needs. This opportunity has created one of the most contentious debates in the mobile development community: mobile apps versus mobile websites? There is, yet, no solution to the debate. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both types of mobile solutions.

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Is Your Federal Mobile App or Website in the U.S. Digital Registry?

We have received an amazing response to the U.S. Digital Registry, our new API-generating repository for official third-party sites, social media platforms and mobile apps in the United States federal government. Federal digital managers have already added over 7,300 accounts and are continuously adding and updating social media and mobile app accounts in the registry. Outside of government, private and public sector organizations have been submitting feedback and offering praise.

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The Benefits of Being Push-y: Reaching Your Audience Through Push Notifications

Need to get in touch with your audience? Give them a little push. Push notifications allow agencies to connect with their audiences for immediate communication. The Office of Personnel Management’s OPM Alert app provides a real time look at the current operating status for federal offices in the Washington, DC, area and uses push technology to alert users of status changes. While the most well-known use of the OPM Alert is for weather closings, the app can be used to alert users of other events: for example, the app was used to announce the lapse in federal appropriations in 2013 and the resulting office closures (and the later re-opening).

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Designing User-Friendly, Educational and Engaging Mobile Gaming Apps

How do you reach audiences with important health information and leave users asking for more? Is it enough to create responsive websites written in plain language or to design apps with health tips optimized for handheld devices? While those ideas are a step in the right direction, we do not live in a world where, “if you build it, they will come.” With a slew of devices and an ever-increasing array of information sources, the most desired commodity in today’s crowd communication channels is attention.

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Trends on Tuesday: Retaining Your Mobile Audience Is Critical (and Difficult!) From Day 1

Google Product Director and author, Luke Wroblewski, wrote a piece about how perfecting your Day 1 experience for users is critical because retention after that point is incredibly difficult. Wroblewski said that 25% of native mobile apps are abandoned after their first use and that the number of active users drops 77% in the first three days after installation. To combat that drop off, he suggested focusing on your onboarding and the user’s first experience with the app through things like gradual sign-ups, since many people will turn off completely when they hit that wall.

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How FEMA Delivers Anytime, Anywhere Information During Disasters

No one wants to feel helpless in an emergency situation. To provide tips and assistance anytime, anywhere, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stepped up their mobile game. FEMA developed an SMS service and an app to engage with users while they’re on the go. The app is available on Android, Apple and Blackberry. While the SMS service is limited to alerts and searches for nearby shelters, the app offers additional functionality, including the Disaster Reporter crowdsourcing feature.

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The Data Briefing: Improving the Federal Government Through Mobile Apps

Federal agencies are doing well in fulfilling the 2012 Digital Government Strategy by providing numerous mobile apps for American citizens. According to a report from IBM’s Center for the Business of Government, 76 federal agencies have at least one mobile app. As of July 2015, there are nearly 300 federal government mobile apps that provide at least one of the following: General information and news services Client services such as providing and processing government forms Crowdsourcing Health and safety information Educational services According to the report, mobile devices were one-third of the traffic to government websites, as of July 2015.

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Making Your Agency Apps Secure

It’s Saturday night: Do you know what your mobile app is doing? Securing your mobile device is hard (no matter what day of the week). And there are numerous threats that can be posed by the apps on your device: an app could be spying on you, stealing your money, stealing data or reconfiguring the settings on your device. Security and privacy are part of the six Mobile User Experience Guidelines developed by the MobileGov Community of Practice.

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A 2016 Look Ahead: What’s on the Horizon for Digital Government?

With January, and the tearing off of the old calendar, comes the annual taking stock of where we’ve been in the last year and where we can go in the year ahead. So for this month’s editorial theme, we’re taking a closer look at what we think 2016 will bring for digital government—from mobile and content, to open data and accessibility. If our “prognosticators” are correct, this year will be the year when apps become more Web-like; video could overtake social media as the preferred method to communicate; and the number of sensors providing real-time access to (government) data will dramatically increase…just to name a few.

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Trends on Tuesday: 10 Mobile, Government and Tech Trends for 2016

As we move into 2016, here are 10 trends I foresee flourishing around mobile, technology and government: The mobile-majority tipping point in government. Many agencies are already past this point, but as a whole, government websites are still desktop-majority, with 66% of people accessing federal websites via desktop and 34% on mobile. In 2016, the double-digit mobile growth will continue to accelerate and surpass 50% for almost all agencies. (Much of the Web passed this point last year or in 2014, btw).

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Trends on Tuesday: Providing Anytime, Anywhere Government Through Mobile App Competitions

Agencies have used an open data competition approach in their quest to provide anytime, anywhere government. For example, in 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted the Apps for the Environment challenge and has a hub for apps created using EPA data. Here’s an update on challenges hosted by other agencies: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hosted a nationwide Reference Data Challenge to create mobile apps through Devpost.

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The Data Briefing: Air and Space Museum Launches New Mobile App into the Frontier of STEM Education

The Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum just released a new educational mobile app, Mobile Missions. From the website: “Find out if you are cut out for a career in aerospace with our free mobile app, Mobile Missions. Take our quiz to discover the best aerospace career for you. Explore objects from our collection related to your chosen profession. Answer challenge questions to receive in-app badges and rewards. Document your journey by inserting your selfie into a historical image related to your aerospace career and share with friends.

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Challenge App-titude: A Successful Newcomer Offers a Few Tips

The Reference Data Challenge, launched this summer, was a call for innovative approaches to a long-standing role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to make “critically evaluated reference data available to scientists, engineers and the general public.” This challenge—our first-ever app contest and second prize competition as an agency—had the dual aims of improving awareness about and usability of our data. We invited submissions of mobile apps that used at least one of six eligible NIST datasets.

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Sixty Years of Tradition: Tracking Santa with NORAD

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds;… …wondering when Santa was coming? “Let’s check!” they all said; So they pulled out their smartphones and tracked Santa’s flight, and played the app’s games ’til close to midnight.

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The Data Briefing: Help #HackSuicide This Weekend

A month ago, I wrote about the White House’s call for data scientists and app developers to come together to help combat suicide. On December 12, 2015, there will be five hackathons around the U.S. to #HackSuicide. All the hackathons are free and open to the public. Even if you are not a data scientist, app developer or mental health expert, you may want to attend one of the events to learn how data can be used to solve a vital public health issue.

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Fascinating Geysers on the NPS Yellowstone Geysers App

Geological phenomena such as steaming mud craters, bubbling mud pools, hot springs and geysers are some of the exhilarating features of a geo-thermal wonderland. Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park falls into this category. If you are planning a visit to Yellowstone, you can download the National Park Service (NPS)’s NPS Yellowstone Geysers free mobile app from iTunes for iOS and Google Play for Android devices. The app is simple to use with a straightforward menu structure.

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Is There a Generic Equivalent to My Brand Name Drug? Find out with FDA OB Express

Have you ever taken your prescription to the pharmacy, the one that you fill regularly, and the pharmacist hands you pills that have a different name and look quite different from what you regularly get? As a chemist by training, I try to curb my initial anxiety by checking out the composition. However, I have always looked for reassurance from the pharmacist that he/she has dispensed an equivalent generic drug at the direction of my doctor.

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Post Office Whenever and Wherever—USPS Mobile® App

Gone are the days when you have to drive miles on a hot and humid afternoon or a cold wintry morning to your local post office to mail your letters, get your stamps or determine how much postage you will need for that package. Technology has become integral to our lives, and now many of these familiar postal services are available at our fingertips on our mobile devices. Categorized under business, the USPS Mobile® app services customers’ postal needs.

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Trends on Tuesday: Forecasting the Internet of Things

An industry group tracking the growth and production of the “Internet of Things,” a term given to Internet-connected devices and accessories, is predicting that growth will slow over the next 6 months, but then surge 3 times as fast, over the following year. The research was organized by the IoT M2M Council, which is made up of 140 executives in the Internet of Things space. MediaPost described it as “the calm before the IoT storm.

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Skin & Bones Come Alive with Smithsonian App

The night air is cool and crisp, the autumn leaves are falling, your costume is ready, jack-o-lanterns carved, lights dimmed, candy in the basket—what else do you need to make “All Hallows’ Eve trick or treat” complete? Some eerie music, a spine tingling, blood curdling horror movie? No, no—those are for yesteryears! This Halloween, let’s make the skeletons in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History come alive. Let’s try and capture that vampire bat skeleton that pulls itself off the mount to run away, or watch the horror of an extinct Steller’s sea cow materialize in the flesh.

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Building the Next Generation of Government Innovators

Innovators are made, not born. This summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began cultivating the next generation of federal innovators through a summer incubator boot camp, aimHI. AimHI is a pilot program to get high school students excited about careers in health information technology, medical devices and public service. Instead of traditional internships, which can be cost-prohibitive and focused on menial tasks, aimHI provides a free opportunity where students learn by doing and by creating their own experiences.

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The Data Briefing: Create an App for Employees with Disabilities

Have you worked with an employee with a disability? Are you an employee with a disability? Then, you know the unique challenges of the average workplace that able-bodied colleagues may never experience. Workplace challenges could be overcome with accommodations such as larger computer monitor displays, wheelchair-accessible office furniture or a voice reader. In some cases, a mobile app is a solution to a workplace challenge. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

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Trends on Tuesday: Users Spend Most of Their Time in Social Apps

ComScore released a new 2015 U.S. Mobile App report tracking native mobile app usage among adults over 18 years old, and it reinforced a lot of the trends we’ve been reporting on DigitalGov. Quartz succinctly summarized the reportwith the headline: “You really only use three apps on your phone.” The report clearly pointed out that Americans spend 50% of their time in their most-used app, and 78% in their top three favorite apps.

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Texting is Another Way to Make Mobile Moments

There are several things federal agencies need to think about in the mobile space. Is my website responsive, so that consumers can view it on any device (desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone)? Do I have mobile apps that fill citizen needs? But does texting have a place in the U.S. government, as we strive to serve citizens where THEY are? Here are at least 9 factors you need to consider, according to GovDelivery, and Forrester analysts Art Schoeller and Thomas Husson:

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Know Your Molluscs with the Terrestrial Mollusc Key

I have to admit my knowledge of slugs and snails was limited to the familiar, slimy creatures in my garden that ate holes in leaves, flowers, vegetables—almost anything, really—and left silvery traces behind. The Terrestrial Mollusc Key mobile app from the Department of Agriculture was a revelation. The app, specifically designed to assist in the identification of adult terrestrial slugs and snails of agricultural importance, includes 33 families and 128 species.

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The Data Briefing: White House Asks Data Scientists and App Developers to Help Suicide Prevention Efforts

The White House issued a call on September 30, 2015, for data scientists and app developers to help with a vital public health issue: suicide prevention. From the official announcement: “If you are a data scientist, analyst, tech innovator, or entrepreneur interested in sharing ideas and resources for suicide prevention, we want to hear from you! Please send a brief note about your ideas and resources to mbasco[at]ostp.

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Trends on Tuesday: The Rise of Apps, The Decline of TV

Move over, 60 inch widescreens—for the first time ever, U.S. consumers are spending more time in mobile apps than on TV. An article from Flurry Insights, the blog for Yahoo’s mobile analytics service, covered the recent viewing trends. Apps are now the top media channel in the United States: on average, people spend 198 minutes on mobile apps every day, while spending only 168 minutes watching TV. The article noted that the 198 minutes spent on apps does not include time spent on a mobile browser: with that time added, users spend 220 minutes on mobile devices every day (a little more than 3.

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The Data Briefing: Connecting the (Data) Dots—NASA’s NYSpaceTag App

OpenNASA has recently completed another redesign of their site. With over 31,000 data sets, 194 code repositories and 36 APIs, OpenNASA probably has the largest collection of open data of any of the federal agencies. An especially helpful feature is a set of icons devoted to five types of visitors: the Citizen Scientist, the Developer, the Citizen Activist, the Govvie and the Curious. A great feature to engage NASA’s audience is the Data Stories section where people talk about the projects they created with NASA datasets.

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Trends on Tuesday: How Much Does It Cost to Go Mobile?

A penny saved is a penny earned. But spending your pennies on mobile development is necessary to meet 21st century needs. Regardless of how you plan to create that awesome anytime, anywhere mobile experience, it’s going to cost you. While the most obvious parts of the mobile price tag for native app development are initial development and launch, the long term maintenance of the app must also be considered.

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Track Time and Wages with Labor’s Timesheet App

Believe it or not, even a couple years ago, I was using pen and paper to record and track the hours I worked. It was definitely a chore, reconciling work hours with leave, overtime and any number of other entries, week after week. However, in these times of mobile apps for almost anything, several products are available to capture and track time. While this category is quite crowded, the U.

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Trends on Tuesday: Content is King for Mobile Apps

Yahoo’s mobile analytics service, Flurry, released a new and provocative report about mobile apps versus mobile browser usage, in which they found audiences are spending almost an hour more with their mobile phones than last year. They also discussed the importance of how “content is king” in mobile apps. The top mobile app categories included mobile messaging/social applications, entertainment, and games, which is nothing new; these continue to reign as the most popular among users as repeat research from different sources continues to prove this.

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Better Air, Better Student Performance: Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools from EPA

Our children spend a lot of time at school. Multiple studies have shown a direct correlation between the learning environment and student behavior. Poorly maintained school facilities with run-down buildings, broken windows, etc., lead to disorderly conduct in students, affect their ability to concentrate and learn, affect teachers, pose health risks, and reduce overall community satisfaction. One environmental factor that can affect the performance and health of students and staff alike is indoor air quality (IAQ).

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Day 100: The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt

A long time ago in a federal agency building far, far away on F Street… the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt launched at the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit in Washington, DC. The campaign goal has not waivered from the initial launch because the USA.gov Mobile Apps Directory remains incomplete. The Directory is the authoritative source for federal mobile Web products, and federal agencies that do not have their apps registered here are losing out on valuable promotional opportunities on USA.

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“Congress Creates the Bill of Rights” from National Archives

Whether it’s the 800-year-old legacy of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution or the more recent Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, all of these documents are powerful symbols of citizens’ rights and freedom. They articulate the most important rights granted to the citizens of a country, and each has its own history. The Center for Legislative Archives, part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), houses the official records of the U.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Messaging and Social App Research Released

On DigitalGov, we frequently talk about some of the most popular app experiences, and research almost always shows that mobile messaging and social apps are the most frequently used. Pew Research released a new report specifically about these wildly popular channels for mobile engagement, specifically focused on how youth use them, with some interesting results that government agencies should pay attention to for their digital strategies. The report author, Maeve Duggan, said, “The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs.

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Mobile Content: Less is More

With 14 test cycles under our belt, the Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program has heard one recurring theme from our testers—”there’s too much information!” While both desktop monitor and smartphone screen sizes are growing, there is still no comparison. At our desks, many of us are using a 24 inch (or even bigger) monitor. How big is your smart phone? Way smaller than a desktop monitor. The user will have a radically different experience on a desktop, and they are usually expecting a different experience.

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Three New Mobile Apps Honor Fallen Veterans Overseas

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) released three new mobile apps this summer to honor fallen veterans in overseas cemeteries in Belgium, France and Italy. Information about Flanders Field, Meuse-Argonneand Sicily-RomeAmerican Cemeteries are all now accessible via mobile apps for both Android and iOS. ABMC developed these apps in line with their strategy of “providing an inspirational and educational visitor experience through effective outreach and interpretive programs.” Visitors to the cemeteries overseas are able to download these apps prior to travel or via WiFi in the visitor centers.

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USGS is Asking If You Felt It: Latest Earthquakes

Having experienced everything from little tremors to violent shaking, I know what it is like to live in an earthquake zone. Hiding below a large table or under the sturdy doorframe, and at times with the entire building swaying back and forth—it can be quite frightening and confusing at the same time. Your thoughts are flying at 200 miles an hour, flitting from one to the next, concerned about your and your family’s safety.

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Free the Data: FEMA’s New Data Visualization Tool

FEMA collects data from disasters. We look at various hazards over time, and a question we get a lot when we’re trying to talk about what can happen is what has happened previously? Providing data in its raw format and also building visualization tools allows people to look at their past history, look at what kind of hazards they are vulnerable to, and look at the frequency of disaster declarations and the impacts.

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Explore Space with Smithsonian’s Chandra X-Ray App

We continue our celebration of American history and legacy this July 2015 with the New Horizons spacecraft’s dramatic flight past the icy dwarf planet Pluto and its moons—momentous in space exploration. Just think about it—New Horizons, a NASA space probe traveled over 3 billion miles to the ninth and final planet, making America the first and only country that has sent space probes to every planet that makes up our solar system.

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Safe Travels with TravWell

Ahhh… Summer is here at last! It’s time for relaxing vacation! Whether you want to scale the peaks of Mount Everest, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, ride a camel in the deserts of Mongolia, or shop in Paris—it is time for a travel app. Gone are the days of just booking cheap flights and accommodations. Now there are travel apps for just about anything—planning, packing, pet care, parking, expense tracking, currency conversion, language translation and even optimal light and dark times to help minimize jet lags.

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DAY 50: The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt!

The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt is off to the races in both English and Spanish with David Cooper in the lead at 12 #lostapps from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, Department of Veterans Affairs in a close second with 10, and Elizabeth Perez of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration rounding out the leaderboard at Day 50. Thanks to all who have contributed in locating or updating the Directory including SAMSHA, Broadcasting Board of Governors, United States Coast Guard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Small Business Administration.

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2015 Customer Service Trends: a Mid-Year Update

Earlier this year, we published 15 Government Customer Service Trends for 2015. We’re halfway through the year now—how are these trends holding up? 1. Centralized Customer Offices A few agencies have created centralized customer offices, while others question the need for a single organization that focuses on the customer. As the public’s overall satisfaction with the federal government continues to fall, a single organization can monitor customer feedback from across the enterprise to identify and address problems with the customer experience (CX).

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Planning with a Purpose: 3 Reasons Why Agencies Created Native Apps

Mobile. It’s here, and it’s here to stay! Agencies in all areas of government meet real world needs through mobile products. Creating effective mobile products requires planning, however. Agencies who have created native apps outlined three areas they considered in the mobile development process: strategy, business requirements and measuring value. Strategy Before creating a mobile product, you must analyze how it will fit into your agency’s strategy. Not only is this information essential in justifying the need for mobile, it also will help quantify the application’s value when you examine mobile metrics.

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Using Apps for Mental Healthcare

Technology has opened new pathways for delivering health care, including mental health services. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), part of the Department of Defense, offers multiple apps that address health care for service members in a variety of ways. At a talk with the MobileGov Community of Practice earlier this year, Dr. David Cooper, a psychologist for T2, said the apps are a way to provide services and make appointments more effective and efficient for patients.

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The API Briefing: Government APIs in a Post-Apps World

Take out your smartphone and count the number of apps that you have. How many of these apps do you use daily? What about the apps you use weekly? Do you have any apps that you installed but used only once? Any apps that you have never used? What kind of apps do you have? Are most of the apps used to communicate with friends and family? How many gaming apps do you have?

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Trends on Tuesday: Native App Lessons from the CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program

The more you test, the more you know. We recently highlighted lessons learned from the CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program, discussed the mobile emulator dilemma that many agencies face, and today we’re back with a few insights on native app testing. The Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program yields a rich set of participant feedback that helps individual app creators improve their product. While the program primarily tests mobile websites created by federal agencies, the team tested early prototypes of the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Normandy App and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s CrowdMag app as a pilot.

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When Catastrophe Strikes, Provide Support: SAMHSA’s Disaster Response App

Disasters can strike at anytime, and responders now have another tool in their repertoire to aid survivors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed the Behavioral Health Disaster Response Mobile App to assist mental health responders with pre-deployment and on-the ground information and resources. SAMHSA has placed their key resource materials in this handy to use app so that responders do not need to keep track of multiple pamphlets and fact sheets.

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New Coast Guard App Streamlines Boating Safety to Maximize Summer Fun

Just in time for the summer season, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a brand new app to give smartphone users easy, on-demand access to critical boating safety information and resources. With this new app, called United States Coast Guard, users can ensure they have proper equipment, check the weather, file a float plan, and so much more. The app also features an emergency assistance button, which calls the closest Coast Guard command center if the phone’s location services are enabled.

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Trends on Tuesday: 186.3 Million People Own Smartphones in the U.S.

In April, comScore released new mobile data, and it pointed to the continuing growth of smartphones as the dominant mobile platform, especially in the United States, with almost a 77% smartphone penetration. Android and Apple continue to dominate the operating system market share with 52.8% and 41.7%, respectively. The report said that “186.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (76.6% mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in February, up 5% since November.

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Start Sleuthing with the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt

Mobile-friendliness is a must for government. We know there are a number of agencies who have mobile-friendly digital products that we don’t know about, and they deserve their day in the sun. We need your help to find them. So today, at the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit you will find the MobileGov Community of Practice Expo Table, where we are kicking off the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt. The mission of the hunt is simple—find the mobile apps or websites not listed on the registry.

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The API Briefing: Five Federal APIs for Building a Government Jobs Finder Mobile App

The spring semesters are winding down at the universities where I teach. Many students are looking for summer internships or their first job after graduation. Of course, I talk about the opportunities in government through the Pathways program, the Presidential Management Fellows, or the various agency-specific internship programs. I’ve demonstrated USAJOBS in my classes, but I often wondered how to improve the experience for job seekers, especially for job seekers who prefer to use mobile apps.

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From Startup to Veteran CEO: New BusinessUSA App Has You Covered

BusinessUSA is a centralized, one-stop platform to make it easy for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire. And with the release of a brand new smartphone app for Android and iOS devices, BusinessUSA is fully functional no matter whether you visit by desktop, tablet or smartphone. The BusinessUSA smartphone app consolidates a wide-ranging amount of business information and resources from across the U.S. federal government. The tools in the app are created to help small businesses, as well as more established businesses, navigate regulatory hurdles and gain revenue in a global economy.

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Spoiler Alert: USDA’s FoodKeeper App Helps Americans Avoid Wasting Good Food

Spoiler Alert: Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because Americans are not sure if the food is spoiled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that retailers and consumers waste 36 pounds of food per person each month. The USDA’s FoodKeeper app helps Americans avoid this problem by offering users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.

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The API Briefing: Top Five Findings for API Developers from Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center just released a report on how Americans view open government data. The following findings were based on a November to December 2014 survey of 3,212 adults. Two-thirds of Americans use the Internet or an app to connect with the government. According to Pew, 37% use the Internet to connect with the federal government, 34% connect with their state government, and 32% connect with their local government.

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Trends on Tuesday: Federal App Development Trends

Mobile apps meet real world needs. App development is not a homogenous process, however. Apple and Android devices are overwhelmingly dominant in device ownership and app development. So, we examined the Federal Mobile Apps Directory for iOS and Android offerings. We noticed a predominance of iOS applications: 170 apps were available on iOS, while only 93 were available on Android. So, we wondered: what makes federal app development iOS-centric?

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The API Briefing: Making a Difference One Microtask at a Time

I recently found an app that provides a great service through crowdsourcing. Be My Eyes connects visually-impaired people with volunteers. Using the smartphone’s camera, the volunteers can perform tasks such as reading an expiration date or helping someone navigate unfamiliar surroundings. This is not a federal app, but I wanted to highlight it to demonstrate how crowdsourcing apps can make it easy for everyone to make a difference through microtasks.

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Booking a Discount Bus Ticket? Check Carrier Safety Records with QCMobile

The new app from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called “QCMobile” empowers U.S. motorists to make safety their highest priority on the roadways this spring. This is a continued theme in DOT’s mobile strategy, as they have also recently released the SaferRide app. QCMobile (QC stands for “Query Central”) is a free download for anyone interested in reviewing the DOT registration and safety performance information of motor carriers.

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Trends on Tuesday: More Time-Consuming, Complex Tasks on Mobile Platforms

One of the leading mobile app analytics companies, Flurry, released their annual mobile app growth report with some interesting data showing how audiences are changing the way they engage with mobile applications. Overall, mobile app usage grew 76% in 2014, and the top app categories included: “Lifestyle & Shopping,” growing 174%; “Utilities & Productivity,” growing 121%; “Messaging & Social,” growing 89%; and “Health & Fitness” and “Travel” categories, both growing 89% year over year.

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Explore Iconic Overseas World War II Sites with ABMC Apps

We have not forgotten, we will never forget, the debt of infinite gratitude that we have contracted with those who gave everything for our freedom. Rene Coty, Président de la République Francaise Those are the words of Rene Coty, the president of France from 1954 to 1959, inscribed in the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center in France. The Normandy American Cemetery is one of the 25 permanent American military cemeteries in foreign countries that the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) maintains to honor the service, achievements and sacrifices of U.

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IRS2Go App Provides Multi-Symptom Relief for Tax Anxiety

The digital equivalent of a cool rag and a spoonful of Pepto Bismol, the Internal Revenue Service updated their IRS2Go app to provide multi-symptom relief for tax anxiety this year. IRS2Go lets taxpayers check on the status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. If you’re e-filing, you can check your refund status within about 24 hours after the IRS confirms receipt of your tax return. If you’re filing paper tax returns, it takes about four weeks to check your refund status due to longer processing times.

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Trends on Tuesday: Top Five Trends in Mobile App Design for 2015

Mobile user habits are a moving target, and designers have to adjust accordingly. Creative Bloq offers their Top 5 Trends in App Design for 2015 gathered from trends in changing hardware, increasing popularity of apps and the increasingly personal nature of mobile devices. Bigger Screen Sizes. As we noted in last week’s Trends on Tuesday post, the smartphone sales increase in 2014 was partially due to the growing numbers of “phablet-sized” smartphones.

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Be a Citizen Scientist with NOAA’s CrowdMag App

Citizen scientists, stand up! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) improve the accuracy of magnetic navigation by tracking changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. All you need is your smartphone, loaded with NOAA’s awesome CrowdMag app. In this era of GPS and other geospatial technologies, why is this mission important? It’s because technologies like GPS have limitations.

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The API Briefing: NASA and USPS Explore the Holographic Computing Frontier

Big news in the technology world as Microsoft unveiled HoloLens and Microsoft’s use of holographic computing in the upcoming Windows 10 release. Holographic computing or augmented reality uses computer-generated images that are overlaid on real world videos. For example, a user can view a car through their smartphone. An app can project information such as make and model, fuel mileage, and other facts onto a real-time view of a particular car.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Marketing on the Rise

Marketers are increasingly using SMS, push notifications, mobile apps, location-based functionality and other mobile-first techniques to reach constituents. That’s according to a recent article from Marketingland.com, which provided an overview of the mobile trends presented in Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing Report. The report was based on a survey of 5,000 marketers in 10 countries. Some notable survey results were: More than one-quarter of marketers have a mobile app (27%).

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New NHTSA App Uses Yelp API

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently unveiled a new mobile app to help people who have been drinking get a safe ride home. The ‘SaferRide’ mobile app, gives holiday revelers an easy way to find a ride home when they’ve had too much to drink instead of getting behind the wheel. The app encourages potential drunk drivers to stay off of the road by helping them contact a close friend, find their location, and connect directly to a taxi company to secure a safe ride.

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The API Briefing: Make 2015 the Year You Create an App

According to some experts, over 80% of Americans will make a least one New Year’s resolution. There are the usual “lose weight,” “quit smoking,” or “exercise more” resolutions. Another popular set of resolutions involves learning new skills. So, if you are looking for a way to improve yourself while helping others, think about making a resolution to learn how to build a mobile app that can be used in disaster relief.

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Trends on Tuesday: America’s New First Screen

It has finally happened: Mobile has bumped TV as America’s first screen. Recent analysis from Flurry Analytics, which included data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that time spent on mobile devices grew in the U.S. by 9.3% to 2 hrs and 57 minutes, while time spent watching TV has remained flat at 2 hrs and 48 minutes daily. So what are some of the factors that helped mobile snatch the big prize from television?

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Join the Global Climate Change Conversation with NASA’s Earth Now

Wanna join the global climate change conversation? Arm yourself with real-time facts about Earth’s vital signs from NASA’s Earth Now mobile app. Earth Now is an app that visualizes recent global climate data, including surface air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapor, as well as gravity and sea level variations. This app not only shows you the current vital signs of the planet, but also explains why each vital sign is important to monitor, and how changes to these signs affect the climate.

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ICE Expands Reach of App Designed to Locate Child Predators

Catching child predators? There’s an app for that, and it’s expanding its reach to Android smartphones. Operation Predator—the first U.S. federal law enforcement app designed to seek the public’s help with identifying and locating fugitive and unknown suspected child predators—is now available for both Android and iOS-based smartphones, and also features built-in Spanish language support. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched the initial Operation Predator for Apple products in September 2013.

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Where’s the Beef? USDA App Serves Up Inspection Information

Want to know where the food you’re eating was produced? Here’s a handy trick before you head out to the grocery store: Download the Meat, Poultry & Egg Product Inspection Directory (MPI Directory) app produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. All containers of meat, poultry and egg products must be labeled with a USDA mark of inspection and establishment number, which is assigned to the plant where the product was produced.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile App Pop Quiz

It’s time for a mobile pop quiz. How well do you know consumers and the time they spend on mobile apps? ComScore recently released the U.S. Mobile App Report which sheds light on how Americans use mobile apps. Test your knowledge with the five questions and answers below: Who is spending the most time in mobile apps? Millennials (18 to 34 year olds) spend more than 73 hours a month on mobile apps.

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Bullying: Help Prevent and Protect Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

I don’t remember being bullied as a kid, but my younger sister once was. When she was in junior high, a jealous schoolmate who ran in a small tough pack threatened to “beat up” my quiet, mild-mannered sibling at an unspecified time and day during her walk home from school. Sound familiar? Back then (in an era before text messaging and bullying awareness), a well-placed phone call to a high school football player friend of mine who knew said bully made that problem go away.

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#PrepareAthon 2014: Disaster Preparedness in the Palm of Your Hand

If there was one thing we learned on September 11, 2001, it’s that you can never be too prepared for a disaster of any magnitude. September is aptly named** National Preparedness Month** and the government’s #PrepareAthon campaign—led by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)—is under way, culminating in National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30. What better way to show your patriotism this Patriot Day than to commit to be prepared should a disaster should strike your community.

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Census Promotes Mobile Apps Front and Center!

Those cutting edge folks over at Census have raised the bar again! Not only do they have three mobile apps that use their own APIs, but now everyone who visits Census.gov is presented with an overlay promoting America’s Economy, Census PoPQuiz, and dwellr. Clicking on the overlay takes you straight to their mobile products page. Overlay advertising is just one way to promote your mobile products. Your public affairs office is key to ensure you promote to social media and other channels that will alert your users and relevant communities.

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Trends on Tuesday: Are PCs Obsolete?

We’ve seen (and experienced) a dramatic growth in mobile consumption in recent years. From app downloads to tablet ownership, the use of mobile devices continues to trend up. But, is this at the expense of desktop computer usage? Not really. The growth of mobile activity is incremental to what’s happening on existing platforms, according to comScore. Let’s take a closer look at mobile vs. PC usage over the past year:

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USDA App Helps ID Your Potpourri

Got a thing for dried botanicals? (No, not THOSE … but the stuff of fragrant sachets, decorative wreaths and glass jars filled with heavenly scents?) Before you discard your old potpourri or put some within reach of pets and children, you’ll want to take a look at this new app from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The Dried Botanicals Key app for iOS and Android was designed for professional botanists and plant-enthusiasts alike to quickly identify the variety of dried (scented, bleached or color-dyed) fungi, fruits, seeds and leaves you’re likely to find at your local craft shops and gift stores.

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How to Find Your Open Data Hotshots

How can you find the top 5 users of your open data? We were recently asked this question on the Open Data listserv, and while this information can be a good measure of success for open data programs, we also figured some of the answers shared would be of interest to the broader community. This blog post seeks to summarize and clarify those answers. What Defines a Top Third-Party Developer?

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Paper Prototyping PTSD Coach

The PTSD Coach mobile app from the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides veterans and users with information about PTSD and professional care, along with self-assessment tools and aid in finding support opportunities. The app has been downloaded over 100,000 times in 74 countries around the world, received numerous accolades and has spawned versions in both Australia and Canada. Designed for users that are both in treatment and not, this application is a poster-child for the benefits of user testing and paper prototyping.

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Census PoP Quiz Mobile App Challenges Knowledge of State Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau today released Census PoP Quiz, a new interactive mobile application that challenges users’ knowledge of demographic facts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The new app, which draws from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, aims to raise statistical literacy about the U.S. population. Census PoP Quiz provides an introduction to the statistics that define our growing, changing nation and is a great way for everyone to learn facts about all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the nation in a fun, relevant way.

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Design Sketching: The Easiest Prototype Method Ever

When it comes to Web and software design, the pen(cil) is often mightier than the Design Suite. What I mean is: Tech is cool, but don’t fall under its spell. It’s often when you remove the technological layers between you and your thoughts that the best ideas sprout. You’ve heard of great ideas that started on bar napkins, right? One way that low-tech beats high-tech is when it comes to conceptualizing early-stage design ideas.

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Parents Get a Head Start With New Mobile App

As it’s time to return to school, the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families is helping parents and teachers prepare anytime, anywhere. Head Start Resources, an app available on iOS and Android, is a gateway to tools and resources for those associated with or interested in the program. With the app, users can access: The latest and greatest in Head Start News and updates, The nearest Head Start locations with a map feature that utilizes geolocation, Links to their website via a search function, with resources pertaining to Performance Standards and information about the Head Start Act, and Help by utilizing the “Contact Us” section, featuring a phone number, email, office hours, and an interactive form.

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Safe Swimming This Summer (Can You Say That Four Times Fast?)

You don’t have to try too hard to get people into the water during summer. But swimming the healthy and safe way? Well, everyone could use help on that. Whether you are a swimmer, lifeguard, pool attendant or sun-loving spectator, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Healthy Swimming iPhone/iPad app is for you. With a simple click or two, find the most accurate information about: Where we swim: Pool or ocean?

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Customization is Key to Better Mobile User Experience

Resources like Theresa Neil’s Mobile Design Product Gallery book and Mobile-patterns.com describe, and provide examples of, common features mobile developers can implement and tailored further to satisfy their users. As mentioned in this week’s Trends on Tuesday, customizing apps to meet users’ needs is a crucial part in maximizing user experience. Today, we wanted to highlight how some agencies are implementing search, maps & geolocation and custom navigation to better their mobile product’s user experience.

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Trends on Tuesday: Avoid the “App Graveyard”

Apps that are downloaded, used a few times and then never used again, are considered part of the “app graveyard.” In fact, 95% of apps are discarded within a month of download by users, according to Smashing Magazine. By focusing on creating a great user experience, you can make sure your agency apps are used consistently and don’t end up in the app graveyard. Smashing Magazine lists some “Lessons Learned From the App Graveyard” that government agencies should heed.

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How the American Battle Monument Commission Developed its First Mobile App

The job of the American Battle Monument Commission (AMBC) is to manage all overseas cemeteries and memorials from WWI and WWII. There are over 200,000 veterans who are buried or memorialized at these cemeteries. When ABMC began thinking about releasing a native mobile application, they had two primary objectives: 1) The app should be able to serve as a “tour guide” to the millions of visitors who visit the memorials in person.

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Trends on Tuesday: FCC Finds Rise in Mobile Internet Subscriptions

Approximately 70% of American households have a fixed Internet source of 0.2 megabits per second or greater, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Measuring Broadband Across America Report that analyzes the digital divide in the U.S. Up 15% in the last decade, this increase in Internet subscription source has significant impact on how citizens are receiving, utilizing, and sharing vital information. There were two interesting highlights for mobile implementers:

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Mobile Gov Code Chop Shop: Help Department of Labor Share Their App Functionality Gov-wide

You’ve just found a great open source fed agency app on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog, and would love to use one of its cool functionalities for your own agency’s app. As federal agencies release more and more code to the open source community, this dilemma is becoming increasingly commonplace. Agencies who open-source their entire app’s code are taking an excellent first step; the next challenge is to get the really interesting and useful code reused more readily.

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The API Briefing: RealTrack – How Hackathons Help Create Apps from APIs

Once a federal agency releases an API, there are several ways they can be used in apps. The most common method is through hackathons. Hackathons are where an agency or agencies present the API(s) and invite developers to create prototype apps. The apps are then presented to subject matter experts for suggestions on creating the final app. There are many government hackathons on a variety of public issues. Visit Challenge.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Drives Time on Digital Media

Major mobile milestones in May—try saying that three times! A new mobile usage report from ComScore revealed two significant shifts to mobile in May: total time spent on digital media and time spent on apps. Here are a few highlights from the report: Mobile platforms—smartphones and tablets—accounted for 60% of total time spent on digital media, up from 50% a year ago. Mobile apps accounted for more than half (51%) of all time spent on digital media, up from 43% a year ago.

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Mobile REMM App: New Physicians’ Aid

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Mobile REMM App provides physicians and emergency medical staff with the latest and greatest information concerning radioactive and nuclear emergencies. Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry platforms, the native application showcases comprehensive information concerning dose estimators and resources to initiate a variety of triages on site without requiring mobile connectivity. After its April update to 2.0.1, users now have access to management algorithms that provide scenario-based flowcharts to help in treatment decision making.

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The API Briefing: How APIs Provide Localized Information – NOAA’s Weather Service Data and FCC’s Broadband Services Map

The two featured APIs this week are excellent demonstrations of personalizing federal government data by where a user lives. Federal agencies collect a considerable amount of community data, from the Census Bureau’s surveys to the FDA’s local agricultural conditions. Thanks to GPS, app developers can locate a user’s immediate geographical location and tailor information based on the latitude and longitude coordinates. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an API that provides current conditions and a four-day forecast by locating the nearest NOAA station to the user’s geographical coordinates.

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Have a H(app)y Fourth of July from MobileGov

Washington. You can say a lot of things about this town, but one thing is clear: Fourth of July is our holiday. No one rocks Independence Day quite like we do, thanks to the hardworking people at the National Park Service who manage our National Mall and help stage a blockbuster fireworks celebration there that rivals any around the globe. Coming to “America’s front yard” for the festivities? The NPS National Mall app is a must-download.

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The API Briefing: APIs Come In Many (Data) Flavors

This week, we will look at three different APIs that demonstrate how agencies use different technologies to serve out data. Presenting data in various formats encourages developers to build on federal APIs. As past columns have shown, the innovative apps created with federal data are quickly growing. The latest API news this week is how quickly the Department of Labor (DOL) built a Software Developer Kit (SDK) for Apple’s new programming language.

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Trends on Tuesday: Maximizing Your Mobile Moments

The rise of mobile device ownership is rapidly changing the way we, and our stakeholders, interact with organizations and information. From local weather to the status of our train, we look to our smartphones to not only provide the answers, but anticipate our questions. Forrester refers to this behavior as the mobile moment—a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.

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The API Briefing: The Census Bureau’s Discovery Tool – Find the Right API for Your App

The Census Bureau recently released a “machine-readable dataset discovery service” that lists 41 Census data sets. It’s in spreadsheet form and gives a description of the datasets along with links to the API and developer documentation. What makes the discovery service machine readable is that’s based on Project Open Data’s “Common Core Metadata Schema” that uses a standard way to describe and index government information sources. The discovery service makes it easier for developers to find and mix different APIs together to create sophisticated apps.

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Trends on Tuesday: Are Mobile Devices The “Center” of Social Universe?

Mobile devices are moving closer to the center of the social universe, according to this Sproutsocial article. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are overwhelmingly used on the go. Comscore predicts that there will be increasing monetization via social in the coming years. In the banking industry, where data shows many people have stopped going to brick and mortar banks, tying mobile and social together is critical. Organizations are increasingly adopting a SoLoMo approach in which they leverage the interplay between social, local and mobile.

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The API Briefing: Department of State’s Model App – Education USA

Not only does the Department of State have a great set of APIs, State also has an excellent example of how to build an informative and useful app. EducationUSA is a network of State Department advisers who help international students apply for U.S. university programs. The EducationUSA app has the most popular resources and services from the EducationUSA website, such as the ability to: Search for EducationUSA advising center information Follow the primary social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube) View Frequently Asked Questions (in 8 languages) Discover new financial aid opportunities, and Utilize the Ask an Adviser (in five languages) function The EducationUSA app is an excellent example of designing for multiple-device experiences.

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Three Ways Agencies Are Using Social Media in Mobile Products

As highlighted in this Trends on Tuesday post, time spent on mobile phones—about 3 hours per day—has surpassed that of daily PC usage. This yields a significant opportunity for consumer interaction with federal agencies’ mobile apps, not just websites, and social media outlets. To take advantage of new opportunities for consumer interaction, federal agencies are implementing social media as part of their mobile products. We surveyed the mobile products submitted to the Federal Apps Registry to see how agencies are incorporating social media into their mobile products.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends

Since 2001, Mary Meeker has developed a knack for highlighting what’s currently happening on the Internet and how this information may impact technology and business in the future. Last week she released her 2014 Internet Trends and it reveals some interesting digital trends. Here are the highlights: Marketing: Social messaging is changing from broadcasting a few messages to a large audience (like Facebook) to frequent interactions with targeted groups (like Snapchat).

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Arlington National Cemetery’s Updated App Brings You Closer to Nation’s Fallen Veterans

While many of us were planning for barbecues or heading to lakes and beaches on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend, the digital team at Arlington National Cemetery was busy doing what they do best: honoring the sacrifices of America’s veterans with the launch of an upgraded mobile app that helps the public to engage with the history of this sacred site and the fallen who rest there. Released in time to mark the Cemetery’s 150 years of military burials, the ANC Explorer 2.

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Data Innovaton with Census at #HackForChange

Do you want to build an application, product or business that uses Census Bureau data? There are opportunities to give feedback and get involved. Two years ago, the Census Bureau launched its application programming interface (API), giving developers access to a variety of high value data sets, including our flagship 2010 Census and American Community Survey five-year estimates. These estimates provide statistics for every neighborhood in the nation, allowing developers to create new tools to help better understand their communities and solve real world issues.

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How to Make a Mobile Paper Prototype

What if a single piece of paper could make your mobile app work 20% better? It’s hard to imagine something as unimpressive as paper influencing our 21st century smartphones, but it’s true. Well before we get into the design and coding phases, we can show customers a mockup of an idea of what our product might look like. It’s called a prototype (or a wireframe)—it’s a model of a design that’s still in development.

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Mobile Gov Apps for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is Monday and we wanted to let you know about some mobile products available for the holiday. As you’re visiting Arlington National Cemetery, Pointe du Hoc or the National Mall this Memorial Day to pay your respects to our fallen military service members, there are three mobile apps that will provide you with in-depth information about your visit. Arlington National Cemetery’s ANC Explorer mobile app allows the user to locate gravesites, events, or other points of interest; generate front and back photos of a headstone or monument; and receive directions to those locations.

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Ignite with Us

Have a DigitalGov success?—published an API? Got buy-in from leadership? Changed a part of your customer-service paradigm? Developed a cool dashboard? Got the app out the door? Heck! Have you prototyped a wearable, drivable or flyable? Have a DigitalGov opinion?—think we should be focusing more or less on something? Have an idea on how to improve development? Want to share your digital gov mantra? Internet of things? You are doing and thinking a lot, and we have a place for a few of you smarties to share with other agencies.

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Trends on Tuesday: Apps Dominate Mobile Web Usage

“There’s an app for that.” New data from app analytics provider Flurry on mobile app usage reveals that smartphone users are taking this trademarked slogan to heart. Of the 2 hours and 42 minutes per day that a typical user is on a mobile device, mobile app usage accounts for 2 hours and 19 minutes of that time. In other words, app usage accounts for nearly 86 percent of time spent on a mobile device.

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CDC’s New App Answers the Question: ‘Can I Eat This?’

I’ll be honest: When I had only heard the name of the new mobile app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I thought, “Interesting — another dieting app to add to my phone.” So wrong was I. In fact, the only way you’re going to lose weight with this traveler’s app is if you don’t use it. And by “lose weight” I mean involuntary weight loss from retching over a large porcelain bowl—or worse, from being hospitalized for severe dehydration—having contracted food poisoning or a spectacular case of diarrheal disease while traveling abroad.

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Architect of the Capitol’s Guide to National Statuary Hall Collection

The Architect of the Capitol’s new app gives users the ability to view the collection of statues donated by the 50 states in its Guide to the National Statuary Hall Collection of State Statues, available on iOS. Visiting the capitol? The app gives you the location of your state’s statues so you can make sure you have your photo taken with your state’s favorite son or daughter. Want to find out more about the 100 Americans who are included in the collection?

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Trends on Tuesday: How Contact Centers are Adapting to the Mobile User

While it does provide challenges, anytime, anywhere digital government provides numerous opportunities for contact centers to do business more effectively. According to this study by Compare Business Products, one of the most important impacts for contact centers is that smartphone users can now connect with contact centers via voice calls, SMS messages, Internet pages, social media video chat and native apps. While mobile is changing user habits, the study states, “those contact centers that are able to embrace these channels and make it easy for customers to contact them through any of these at their whim will naturally be those that rise to the top of the pile and impress their customers.

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EPA Mobile Projects Update

Earth Day is next week, so today instead of featuring one mobile product like we do every Thursday, we’re highlighting how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is tackling mobile to help empower citizen environmental decisions. Currently, you can access EPA’s mobile website, a number of EPA apps, and the agency has a dedicated team working on mobile product decisions. Last month, EPA reported on the status of current mobile projects.

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The Official U.S. Navy App: Powered by API

As a “warfighting-ready force,” the U.S. Navy can bring it wherever and whenever it’s needed around the globe. Now this armed force is bringing it—the latest news, video, photos, multimedia, special events and more—to sailors and their families through a slick new app that effortlessly crosses borders and software platforms. The official U.S. Navy app curates content from a variety of Navy assets and offers users a mobile experience that includes:

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Why Go Responsive? Here’s What Feds Are Saying

Responsive Web design implementations in the federal government have members of the Mobile Gov Community of Practice asking what is responsive Web design and how do we do it? In February, the Mobile Gov Community of Practice hosted a workshop with more than 40 feds from 19 agencies to answer these questions. This article is the first in a series of articles and events to highlight what we learned at the workshop and explore related topics agencies need to consider when implementing this technology.

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Get a grip on injury, death rates with new mobile app from CDC

Need to make a pitch for injury prevention? About to give an impromptu public health presentation that can benefit from a few sobering data points about leading causes of death in your state? (Or maybe you just have a keen interest in the macabre while waiting for the bus.) Well, go grab your iPads: The Center for Disease Control’s national Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System or WISQARS has now been packaged into a portable mobile app for iPad users that performs when and where you need it.

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HHS Uses Crowdsourcing in Booming mHealth Industry

The mobile health (mHealth) market is projected to become a $50 billion industry by 2020, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been actively contributing to the rise of the mHealth applications. The agency uses public prize competitions like the recent “Game On: HIV/STD Prevention Mobile Application Video Game Challenge” to crowdsource a variety of health apps for the public in addition to creating mHealth apps in-house.

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Open Payments Apps Help Healthcare Professionals Track Reporting On The Go

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bringing lots of change to the traditional healthcare landscape as practitioners and healthcare companies gear up for an influx of patient demand. There are also changes to the way healthcare companies and doctors will track and report reimbursements. And not only is the healthcare changing but also are the mobile habits of healthcare practitioners — especially doctors. According to InformationWeek, 86% of physicians and “mid-level” clinicians now use smartphones in their professional activities, up from 78% in 2012.

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Double Digit Crowdsourcing Competitions Launch in February

This is a phenomenal month for federal challenge and prize competitions with 12 new programs launched in February. The challenge.gov platform usually averages four to six new challenges a month, so we’re excited to see the year start off with a big push to engage citizens in creative problem solving. Take a look and see what these agencies are doing to drive innovation: White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

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IRS Offers Updated ‘IRS2Go’ App

There’s no way to sugar-coat it. It’s that time again. Tax time. And just in (tax)time, the Internal Revenue Service has updated its handy IRS2Go Mobile App for iPhone/iTouch and Android phones. The 2014 version of the app offers a more elegant and streamlined visual experience — and a few convenient new features including: The Refund Status tab now has a “status tracker” for users to see the status of their tax returns.

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Alternative Fueling Station Locator App from the Department of Energy

So: You decided to purchase a car that takes advantage of more environmentally friendly fuel. Congratulations! Now, you need to find a place to fill the tank that offers more than just regular gas. The new Alternative Fueling Station Locator app from the folks at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a must-try. The new iPhone app will find and map the 20 closest stations within 30 miles of your location that sell alternative fuels such as natural gas, biodiesel, E85 ethanol, propane and hydrogen.

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Rail Crossing Locator App from DOT

Mobile apps have the power to grant us access to data beyond our expectations, help us get things done easily and quickly, and have some fun, too. But what about apps that can potentially increase our personal and the greater public safety in our neighborhoods and communities? That’s the reason to get behind the Rail Crossing Locator, a mobile app from DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration for iPhone and iPad users.

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FEMA App adds ‘Disaster Reporter’ feature

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking the well-known slogan, “See something, say something,”__ to the crowd. Consider it more “See something, submit something.” Harnessing the power of citizen intelligence to understand and respond to disasters, FEMA in late 2013 launched a new feature in its iOS/Android app that crowd-sources photos of disasters and extreme events. “Disaster Reporter” enables people to upload photos of disaster scenes with short captions, which, after a quick vetting process, are then plotted by location on an interactive map.

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Trends on Tuesday: The Future of Mobile Data

This infographic from Light Reading addresses recent trends in mobile data use. We are struck by how much data was transferred via a WiFi connection vs. cellular. People are using WiFi connections way more than cellular ones. Some other quick highlights: In Q2 of 2013, 4x as much data was transferred over a WiFi connection vs. Cellular connection. Top 5 States with WiFi Bandwidth are VA, DE, NJ, MA, and NH.

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FCC’s Speed Test App

Feeling the need for [more] speed? Well, so is the mobile team at the Federal Communications Commission. As part of the agency’s Measuring Broadband America Program, the FCC is looking to the crowd (that means you!) to help them assess America’s mobile broadband performance on a national scale. Their hope is to use the data they collect anonymously through their new FCC Speed Test app—Android-only for now—to create a detailed picture that could improve both the cellular and WIFI speeds you experience on your mobile device.

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Your Art App Now on Android

Earlier this year the National Gallery of Art released their “Your Art” app on iOS and now they have released an Android version. The Your Art app allows users to explore more than 130 works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and others. Along with the new Android version, the iOS version has been updated to be available in French, English, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish.

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The 2013 NORAD Tracks Santa App

Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus, Right Down iOS/Windows/Android Lane… What started out as a misdirected phone call to NORAD’s predecessor agency in 1955 turned into a much anticipated holiday tradition for kids and adults alike. Fifty-eight years later, NORAD is still tracking the now 1600-year-old Santa’s whereabouts, but this year the agency is offering children and their parents a visually enhanced mobile app on 3 platforms and website (non-mobile) experience to follow along.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Shopping Increased for 2013 Holiday Shopping

Mobile shopping increased significantly this year for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But by how much? A lot says this report from IBM: Online Sales Set New Record: Thanksgiving Day online sales grew by 19.7 percent year-over-year followed by Black Friday, with sales increasing 19 percent over 2012. Average order value for Black Friday was $135.27, up 2.2 percent year-over-year. Top Five Cities for Online Shopping: New York City took the top spot for online sales on Black Friday.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Gaming Habits

We’ve reported before that playing games is one of the most popular activities on mobile devices. A recent study by App Annie and IDC dives deeper into the traits and use habits of mobile gamers. For the most part, gamers tend to like tablet gaming experiences. Specifically, Nearly half of iOS game players preferred the iPad, with the rest split fairly evenly between the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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U.S. Census Bureau Dwellr App

The pursuit of happiness for many of us might mean a fresh new start and a new place to call home. But where? In such a large and diverse country as ours, the choices can seem endless — and overwhelming. Now, your data friendly U.S. Census Bureau has harnessed the power of its vast trove of demographic, neighborhood-specific and housing information into a new smartphone app on both Google Play and iOS called, aptly, dwellr.

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Census Mobile App Showcases Local Statistics

America has always been a nation on the move. Whether you are looking for a career change or a new neighborhood to call home, life decisions affect each of us every day. With roughly half of Americans now owning smartphones, everyone should be able to access the wealth of statistics the Census Bureau collects to make informed decisions on the go, whether at home or on the road.

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Surviving Thanksgiving With Your Smartphone

Oh, Thanksgiving! If you need to take a time-out from the dinner table for a little of your own (cyber)space, give these apps a try: Does a holiday with your extended family put your nerves on edge? The Breathe2Relax and TacticalBreather mobile apps are specially designed to help you control physiological responses to stress through the simple yet scientifically proven act of guided deep breathing. Both offer customizable settings. Just lighten up on the onion dip before trying them out.

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Coast Guard HSWL App

Are you active or retired Coast Guard — or related to someone who is? If so, you’ll want to spread the word about the United States Coast Guard’s Health, Safety and Work Life (HSWL) app from USCG’s Office of Work-Life Programs. The app, available for iPhone and Android phones, is a one-stop information portal for many of the support services Coasties and their dependents might need. Among its broad offerings, the app helps users:

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Mobile Product Compatibility and Functional Testing 101

As covered in the Mobile Product Testing Guidelines article, there are various approaches to mobile testing. This article is a resource of the Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program and focuses on two common test types are compatibility testing and functional testing. Compatibility Testing The Wikipedia article on compatibility testing states the “Compatibility testing, part of software non-functional tests, is testing conducted on the application to evaluate the application’s compatibility with the computing environment.

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New Outbreaks (but No Zombies) on CDC’s Solve the Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control recently added three new outbreaks to their Solve the Outbreak app. CDC released the app earlier this year to teach users how CDC’s disease detectives save lives everyday. There are now nine outbreaks that players can solve to earn points. Since it’s Halloween, I’ll note that a zombie epidemic is not one of the outbreaks. Most Digital Gov experts might expect some zombies since CDC has a habit of using the living dead as an aid for teaching us about public health awareness.

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Dolphin and Whale Apps from NOAA Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries to help you identify and aid stranded or injured dolphins and whales. The Dolphin & Whale 911 app (Android and iOS) will enhance accurate and timely reporting of stranded marine mammals in the Southeastern U.S. This app will allow you to Report dead, injured or entangled marine mammals by connecting you to the nearest stranding response hotline, so that trained responders and veterinarians can treat the animal (App only works in Southeastern US- stay tuned for expansion to additional geographic areas).

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Mobile Products from HUD

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has two apps that can help citizens learn about their housing rights, locate housing counselors and file housing discrimination complaints. The HUD Counselor Locator App allows smartphone and tablet users to locate housing counselors in their own area who can help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure and obtain more favorable modifications. home buyers determine if they are ready for homeownership, and connect them with safer and more affordable mortgages.

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Constitution App from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress recently released The U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation app, an iOS version of the “Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation.” This is a comprehensive analytical legal treatise prepared by attorneys of the Congressional Research Service at the direction of the United States Senate and issued as Senate Document No. 112-9. The new app and improved web publication makes the nearly 3,000-page “Constitution Annotated” more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis three or four times each year.

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Mobile Gov User Experience Guidelines and Recommendations: Content

Content refers to the various types of material in different formats, such as text, images and video, that provide information to the user (it also fits into a mobile product’s information architecture). From the 42 Mobile Gov User Experience guidelines and recommendations released last week, you deemed 7 ‘critical’ around the content element. Specifically, it is critical that mobile gov products; Provide user-centered content Eliminate unnecessary elements Use analytics to identify content priorities (e.

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National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators App

The National Science Foundation’s National Science Board has developed Science and Engineering Indicators for iPad. The application provides full content of the Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) 2012 report –the latest edition available. From NSF, The biennial SEI report is a comprehensive source of high-quality, quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and technology enterprise. SEI is essential for policymakers, researchers, journalists, or anyone in search of high-quality, policy-neutral data, trends, and analysis on the U.

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Making Mobile Gov: User Experience Recommendations

How We Did It Last November, as part of revisiting the state of Mobile Gov, government mobile innovators identified a need for guidelines to help create amazing and engaging mobile user experiences. We convened a group to workshop around elements of mobile user experience with the goal to develop user experience practices for government. We then asked you to set priorities and help hone a set of useful, actionable user experience guidelines and recommendations that agencies could adopt.

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SSI Mobile Wage Reporting

Following up on their mobile website, the Social Security Administration recently released the SSI Mobile Wage Reporting app for Android and iOS devices. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. The app allows SSI recipients and their families to report their monthly wages to Social Security from their finger tips.

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Trends on Tuesday: Why You Should Be Accessible on Mobile

MobileMarketingWatch released an article explaining why it is important for the workplace to be making the move to mobile. When it comes to marketing, it is essential to understand your customer and be easily discoverable or else your product will go unseen. It is all about “place, place, place.” It is no secret the use of smartphones and tablets is increasing all the time, so being easily discoverable on these devices is absolutely essential.

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Mobile Product Testing Guidelines and Resources

You have started developing your mobile product, but you may be wondering what and how to test. As with any form of software development, mobile testing should be done intermittently throughout all development stages. This article was developed as part of the Mobile Application Development Program to provide agencies with some general testing strategies, types, tools and testing scripts. The information on these testing pages has been pulled from the Mobile Gov Community of Practice and private sector resources.

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NASA Space Place Prime App

In May, NASA released the Space Place Prime app for both iPhone and iPad. This app’s target audience is not only kids, but for teachers, parents, and all space enthusiasts. Based on NASA’s website, The Space Place, this app presents some of the most recent and best offerings of NASA: Timely educational and easy-to-read articles from the website Daily updates of NASA space and Earth-from-space images and the latest, informative videos and articles Interface is a slidable, looping grid of images with icons indicating whether they represent an image, a video, or an article Alternatively, a list mode and a carousel mode present images, videos, and articles sorted separately Content is updated daily and favorites can be tagged and permanently saved You can check out other fun apps like Space Place Prime on the USA.

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Mobile Product Performance Testing

Performance testing is used to verify that an app or web page will display quickly to the user and will continue to function as the number of users increases to peak loads. Performance is an important consideration for mobile applications because the connection speed of users is often slower and more variable for mobile users than desktop users. Surveys have shown that users will often stop using applications or web sites that load slowly.

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Mobile Product Accessibility Testing Resources

Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing and is the inclusive practice of making websites and mobile applications usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. You do this by testing mobile websites and/or applications on all leading browsers, mobile devices and screen readers. This article was developed as part of the Mobile Application Development Program. See our general guidelines to testing article for more resources on mobile product testing.

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NOAA’s Whale Alert – Ship Strike Reduction for Right Whales App

Mariners now have an anytime, anywhere resource to aid in the reduction of ship and right whale collisions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in collaboration with other groups in both the private and public sector, has developed an app for the iPhone and iPad which helps to reduce collisions between ships and the endangered right whales. By providing existing NOAA data and information in one easy to access location displayed on NOAA nautical charts, in addition real time GPS position tracking, vessel operators are more easily able to avoid collision with whales.

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Department of Labor: Download Their Apps, Fork Their Code, Check out the Webinar

The Department of Labor’s DOL Timesheet, OSHA Heat Index Tool and LaborStats apps are available anytime and anywhere for the public. Now their code is available for agencies to leverage for mobile development. All the apps’ code are available on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog –a resource for developers that can help them find source code for native and web projects from a variety of sources. DOL Timesheet allows users to keep track of the amount of hours worked in a week and calculates an estimated income.

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To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis Exhibit App

The 2013 JFK Library and Museum exhibit “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” now has a virtual partner on the iPad. Anytime, anywhere, people will be able to experience this extraordinary moment in history. With “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has made its JFK Library and Museum 2013 exhibit virtual, bringing the app to iPad. This app brings the Cuban Missile Crisis exhibit alive, providing a video series timeline, portraying the events of the historic presidential moments.

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Mobile Gov for Independence Day!

Gearing up for the Fourth? Here are some anytime, anywhere government apps that can help make celebrating the United States easier and more fun. If you’re worried about the weather you can check out the National Weather Service mobile website. If the heat is a concern, the OSHA Heat Index Safety Tool will tell you the heat index of your location and list the precautions you need to take in order to stay safe.

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NPS Chesapeake Explorer App

The National Park Service (NPS) developed an app for people looking to explore the historic Chesapeake Bay area and travelers now have an anytime, anywhere tool to tell them where they can go and how to get there. The NPS launched the Chesapeake Explorer App last October. This app has over 400 different sites to visit. It helps travelers discover places to experience the beauty and history of the Chesapeake Bay region.

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Veteran’s Affairs PTSD Coach

Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Veteran’s Affairs. PTSD Coach is a mobile application developed by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in order to help veterans and military service members who have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This app was released in May 2011 and is available on both iOS and Android.

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CDC’s Solve the Outbreak App

Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched a free, educational iPad app called “Solve the Outbreak,” which lets users play the role of Epidemic Intelligence Service agents – the “Disease Detectives” who are on the front lines of new outbreaks wherever they occur.

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OPM Alert App

Did that snowstorm (or thunderstorm as the case may be) affect DC feds’ operating status? Now you’ll know even faster with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management‘s newest mobile app OPM Alert. The app features: Real time data on the current operating status for the Federal Government Optional push notifications to alert you whenever status changes occur The ability to review an archive of previous status updates. Don’t know what to do if the Government is closed?

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Responsive Design Overview, Resources and Tools

Responsive Web design refers to a fluidly constructed Web page layout that scales from handheld device displays to large, high-resolution computer displays using flexible typography, flexible images, fluid grids, and CSS3 media queries. For years, most Web teams designed for the desktop. Branding, navigation, work flows – the overall look & feel of online applications – were all considered reasonable areas to distinguish one’s online presence from others. Things have changed so dramatically over the past few years that starting with the desktop may now be the backwards way of creating a web site.

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Social Security’s Mobile Website

The Social Security Administration recently announced their new optimized mobile website which is compatible with Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows devices. The mobile website offers a user friendly tabular icon driven navigation, which makes it very easy to find information anytime, anywhere. This mobile website was developed with intelligent back end business processes that assist users with identifying documents needed for a new/replacement Social Security number (SSN) card. Mobile users can also access many of Social Security’s publications in both English and Spanish.

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NASCIO Launches Mobile Apps Catalog

The federal government’s Mobile Code Catalog has company! This month, NASCIO released a new State Mobile Apps Catalog, a collection of over 160 state and territory native mobile apps that users can browse and download for smart phones and tablets. The apps are searchable by state/territory, by category and through an overall browse function. Visitwww.nascio.org/apps to look through the topics or upload your state’s native apps. “This tool offers a convenient way to see what other states are producing in terms of mobile apps, and allowing states to generate ideas for their own state or territory,” said Brenda Decker, NASCIO president and Nebraska CIO.

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CDC Mobile Tools

The Center’s for Disease and Control has developed a mobile website and a mobile app so users can access information anytime, anywhere, on any device. The mobile website was developed to allow users to access a subset of CDC’s content on mobile devices. These sections include Health & Safety, Vital Signs and Videos. This mobile website is very user friendly and it was developed using JQuery, HTML and Ajax.

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Federal Mobile Code Sharing Catalog Is Here

Federal agencies have a new resource to help them make content and services available anytime, anywhere, and from any device–the federal Mobile Code Catalog sponsored by the Digital Services Innovation Center. This catalog is hosted on GitHub (more on why that matters in a moment). Here, agency developers looking to jump-start their efforts can find source code for native and web projects from a variety of sources: federal agencies, other governments, and third-parties in the private sector.

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USPS Mobile App Updates

The U.S. Postal Service Mobile app can help you find a post office, calculate shipping prices and track packages. Since we last featured this app, the USPS has added the ability to schedule pickups and order supplies. Last month, USPS Mobile version 3.8 was released. The new version allows users to see special hours for various USPS locations and has a “Coupons” feature that allows users to scan bar codes on mobile phones.

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Planning an Apps Challenge

Apps challenges are a great way to spur innovation and help your agency meet its mission. But before you jump in, learn about how apps challenges work, to ensure yours is successful. Design Concept or Functioning App? What kind of product do you want from your apps challenge? A working app; or A concept for an app To widen the pool of entries and participants, don’t put limits on submissions.

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Your Art, the National Gallery of Art’s Mobile App

The National Gallery of Art has released a free mobile application about the treasures in the permanent collection. Your Art app, available for iOS, enriches the experience of on-site visitors and expands the Gallery’s reach by bringing its masterpieces to art lovers across the globe. Some of this app’s features include: Audio content, previously accessible only on Gallery-supplied headsets, is now available on personal devices. App users can explore the permanent collection through browsing by artist name, nationality, and theme.

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NASA’s Be A Martian App

Solar System fans, space shuttles are not the only way you can visit a planet! In July 2012, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA developed a mobile app called “NASA Be A Martian”, which allows you to become a Martian citizen on planet Mars. A Martian citizen can explore images, videos and animations on an iOS, Android or Windows mobile device. The images, videos and animations deliver an epic view of the rocky terrestrial planet, known as the Red Planet.

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The SaferCar App

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a new iOS app that provides real-time vehicle safety information to consumers from NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov site The new SaferCar app gives consumers immediate access to key safety information to help them make informed decisions, with features including: 5-Star Safety Ratings: Consumers considering vehicle purchases can look up crash test ratings and compare them across different makes and models.

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National Park Service Apps

The National Park Service offers 3 mobile apps to create mobile experiences at 3 specific parks available for both the Android and iOS platforms. NPS National Mall App – As cherry blossom visitors give way to the summer travelers, visitors can download the NPS’s National Mall App providing visitors with a handheld map and customizable tour plans based on the length of your visit. Using your device’s geolocation capabilities and camera, the app uses augmented reality to identify the landmarks around you.

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DOSCareers App

The U.S. Department of State has released a mobile app that informs and educates potential foreign service officers about a diplomatic career. The app provides access to more than 500 retired Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) questions that test your knowledge of U.S. government and culture, world history, technology, economics and many other topics. In addition you can find information about the opportunities and experiences of those who have chosen this career, recruitment events and how to contact a Diplomat in Residence near you.

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American Red Cross Tornado App

The American Red Cross Tornado App gets your family and home ready for a tornado. The app, which is available on the Android and iOS platforms, puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. The app includes an audible siren that goes off when a tornado warning is issued in your area. In addition, it provides:

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NCI QuitPal App

NCI QuitPal is a free smartphone app developed by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to support smokers working to become smoke-free. This interactive app, available on the iOS platform, was developed using proven quit strategies and tools to help change behavior and assist people with giving up smoking. NCI QuitPal’s features include: Set a quit date, financial goals, and reminders Track daily smoking habits with an easy-to-use calendar See graphs tracking money saved and number of packs not smoked Receive health milestones and craving tips to stay motivated Connect with social networks to give milestone updates Create a video diary, and watch personalized video messages from loved ones Access NCI’s Cancer Information Service by toll-free phone line or live chat You can find more mobile products like NCI’s QuitPal on the USA.

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USAID, HHS & DOL Mobile Gov App Challenge Winners

One way federal agencies create Mobile Gov products is through third party development. Some agencies use platforms like Challenge.gov to get the word out to developers and there have been 3 mobile app challenge awards so far this year. Last week the mWomen Design Challenge announced winners. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), it asked developers to help redefine mobile user experiences for women in resource-poor settings.

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USDA’s Amber Waves App

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has developed a tablet app for their Amber Waves magazine which showcases research and analysis on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America. Available as a free download for both Android tablets and Apple’s iPad, the magazine will be updated quarterly on the app. Each issue of Amber Waves provides: Informative articles—indepth Features and brief Findings Engaging infographics and timely data Indicators illustrating the state of the American food and fiber sector, along with U.

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CDC’s Solve the Outbreak App

The Centers for Disease Control has launched a new table app Solve the Outbreak designed to teach users how CDC’s disease detectives save lives everyday. In this interactive, engaging app, you are a disease detective who gets to decide what to do when an outbreak occurs: Do you quarantine the village? Talk to the people who are sick? Ask for more lab results? Using gamification, Solve the Outbreak is a great way to study epidemiology by

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Mobile Gov for Valentine’s Day!

Need a last minute Valentine’s Day gift idea? We’ve put together some last minute anytime, anywhere government Valentine’s ideas for your special someone. Need a card? Send a Valentine’s greeting and a handy health tip (like the one pictured) with CDC’s Mobile Health e-card App! Want to dazzle, but your bank account’s not cooperating? Introduce them to some to the finer things by downloading Smithsonian’s Set in Style app which features jewelry designed for Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor.

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You’ll Have Them at Swipe: Making An Awesome Mobile User Experience Webinar

Learn how to create amazing and engaging Mobile Gov User Experiences by watching this webinar. Anytime, anywhere government will be used in numerous contexts and requires developers to think about more than just content, security and privacy during implementation. In fact, Smashing magazine has listed 12 elements to consider for building good mobile user experiences. In this webinar, Mobile Gov developers from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Veteran’s Affairs talk about how mobile user experience is different from traditional channels, discuss how to approach user experience during mobile implementations, and demonstrate their successful practices.

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Pointe du Hoc Battle Site Mobile App

The Pointe du Hoc mobile app serves as a tour guide and learning tool for this World War II D-Day landing site in France. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) developed both Android and iPhone versions, which take advantage of your smartphone’s GPS features to provide a walking tour of the battle site in Normandy and allows you to experience how U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, destroyed a critical German battery and took control of the coastal highway, playing a crucial role in the Allied success of D-Day.

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Mobile Gov Resources for 2013!

With mobile use growing exponentially and federal agencies implementing customer-facing mobile services for the Digital Government Strategy, we decided to put together a Mobile Gov resource “cheat sheet” with concepts and information we think will be helpful for agencies implementing Mobile Gov in 2013. Here’s what Mobile Gov implementers need to know! APIs Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been called the “secret sauce” for digital services. They help open information (content and data) so it can be reused inside and outside of government.

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NORAD Tracks Santa App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by NORAD._ The NORAD Tracks Santa apps provide a countdown to Santa’s Christmas Eve flight, interactive games and live tracking of Santa’s progress on December 24th. Why We Did It The NORAD Tracks Santa program began in 1955 by accident , and the program has evolved into a large volunteer effort that includes military and civilian personnel, as well as national and local companies and organizations.

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Smart Traveler App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Department of State._ Secretary Clinton often talks about using “21st Century Statecraft” at the State Department. For us in the website office, this equates to using new tools to get information to the American people. Having a Secretary who understands the power of such innovative tools has definitely helped us move forward.

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Mobile Apps Life Cycle Webinar

Are you creating a mobile website or app for your agency? On Tuesday, October 30, at 11 a.m. we will host a webinar to get agencies thinking about how they can prepare for the entire life cycle of their mobile products—from planning–to implementing—to continually updating and upgrading. This webinar will feature 3 agencies giving their stories in these 3 “phases” of the cycle. First, the U.S. State Department will discuss the issues around planning mobile app development.

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IRS2Go App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the Internal Revenue Service._ The IRS2Go app lets taxpayers check on the status of their refund, sign up for helpful tax tips or get the most recent IRS Twitter feeds. Why We Did It A number of factors including the eGov initiative, a mandate from the Commissioner to provide new services to individual taxpayers, as well as other social media efforts provided the catalyst for developing IRS2Go.

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OSHA Heat Safety Tool App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info._ This entry is a story shared by the Department of Labor. The Heat Safety Tool provides the heat index for your work site and precautions to prevent heat illness. Why We Did It OSHA developed the Heat Safety Tool smartphone app as part of a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather.

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How to Improve an Apps Challenge

The contest is over, but your work isn’t finished. Maintain a positive relationship with the community you’ve developed around your challenge. You will want to reach out to them in the future. Close the challenge and present awards Hold an awards ceremony to draw attention to the winners and to your challenge. The team behind the HHS myHealthyPeopleChallenge partnered with a prominent health conference to demo the winners’ applications.

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How to Implement an Apps Challenge

Recruiting the right judges, writing clear rules, and ensuring the public can find your apps challenge online will help ensure success. Recruit the judges Reach out to those who have expertise in your topic or are influential in the area. Well-known judges will help you draw attention to your challenge, and the judges are likely to announce their participation through their networks. Judges for the HHS myHealthyPeople Application Developer Challenge included top officials at HHS, CDC, and NIH, and executives from influential health foundations and organizations.

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USDA’s Ask Karen

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture._ _ _ Mobile ‘Ask Karen’ is an extension of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s 24/7 virtual representative Ask Karen. Ask Karen is a web knowledge base, populated with answers to questions pertaining to food safety. Ask Karen provides answers to consumers via an automated response system.

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Eyenote

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info.__ This entry is a story shared by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing._ _ _ The EyeNote application scans paper money and tells the user the denomination, making U.S. paper money accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Why We Did It The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing was ordered by the U.

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RIM/Blackberry Mobile Development Webinar Recap

The Mobile Platform Development Series was developed to help government agencies learn how to deliver government content–information, data and services–anytime, anywhere and on any device. One way to deliver content to citizens is via applications on mobile devices or native mobile apps. Government agencies need technical expertise on developing apps on the various platforms. Today we bring you a recap of the Blackberry webinar from this series. The Blackberry webinar featured Richard Balsewich who provides application development guidance and technical architecture expertise for RIM/Blackberry.

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NOAA’s Release Mako App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)._ The Release Mako App was created for fisherman to report their catch and releases of shortfin mako sharks in real time. Why We Did It The NOAA Fisheries Shortfin Mako Live Release Program started as a website. The idea was to create a public outreach campaign to have fisherman submit their shark catches to promote the live release of shortfin mako sharks.

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NARA’s DocsTeach

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by National Archives and Records Administration._ DocsTeach is a mobile application developed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that allows teachers to create and share lesson plans built on the DocsTeach website with their students. The DocsTeach App was created so students could access teacher lessons.

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USA.gov Mobile Apps Gallery

In April 2012, the U.S. General Services Administration launched a “full stack” responsive redesign of the federal mobile apps galleries: apps.USA.gov and apps.GobiernoUSA.gov. The full stack includes both a REST API and a complete redesign of the site using responsive design techniques. Responsive web design allows the content on a website to respond to the screen size and device it is being viewed on. So, while the app galleries are rendered one way on desktop browsers, the same website adapts and rearranges content when viewed on a tablet or smartphone.

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MyDS Web App

Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institute of Health has developed a free mobile app for consumers called My Dietary Supplements (MyDS).MyDS gives the user an easy, portable way to keep track of the vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products they take; access to science-based, reliable information on dietary supplements; and general information about ODS—who we are and what we do.

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DOL Labor Stats App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info._ The Labor Stats Application presents the most up-to-date numbers and news releases for top employment statistics published by Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Why We Did It The Labor Department created the app to better share important information using the fastest, simplest, most wide-reaching means available, and this app increases the accessibility of Labor’s statistical data.

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My TSA Mobile App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This__ entry is a story shared by the Transportation Security Administration._ The MY TSA mobile app and website developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is designed to help passengers better prepare for security so they can get through TSA airport security checkpoints more efficiently. The app has multiple functions to help travelers and uses information from TSA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NOAA and users.

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EPA Indoor airPLUS App

_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the Environmental Protection Agency._ The Indoor airPLUS app provides home builders and verifier partners in the field easy access to the tools and resources of EPA’s Indoor airPLUS program, which is designed to help builders meet the growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

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Battle Royale: Mobile Web Versus Mobile Apps

When agency folks gather together to talk about mobile gov, the number one question asked is, “Should we do a mobile app or a mobile web site?” To help people with that question, we became fight promoters and sponsored THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY!! Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Apps Two champions debated this hot topic: Neil Bonner, from the Transportation Security Administration, is a proponent of mobile websites.

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