May 13, 2013 (10:05 AM EDT)
NASCIO Creates Catalog For State Government Apps

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10 New Mobile Government Apps
10 New Mobile Government Apps
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The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has published an online catalog of more than 160 state government mobile apps that can be downloaded for free on smartphones and tablets.

The State Mobile Apps Catalog is searchable by U.S. state or territory. Alternatively, users can find an app by browsing a variety of categories, including business, education, voting registration, legislature, public safety and more. The majority of the apps are intended for devices running Apple's iOS or Google's Android operating system. Developers can also upload their apps directly to the catalog by filling out a submission form.

One example of an app created by New York State is 511NY, which provides statewide traffic and transit information, and also offers a trip planner, camera views, weather forecasts, and road conditions for winter months. On the West Coast, DMV Now is a tool that helps California residents prepare for the written driver's license exam by taking sample tests, or it can be used for receiving important alerts from the DMV. Additionally, the collection contains apps like Watch Utah Legislature Bills and Florida House, which offer residents government-specific news and updates.

[ Blackberrys and Samsung Galaxy smartphones are the approved mobile devices for government personnel. Read more at BlackBerry, Samsung Get Pentagon Nod Of Approval. ]

The State Mobile Apps Catalog is intended not only for mobile users, but also for state governments that want to generate app ideas. "Some states lead the way in mobile app development and can pose as models for those growing their mobile app capabilities," NASCIO president and Nebraska CIO Brenda Decker, who oversaw the special project, said in a written statement.

The catalog appears to be a work in progress, as developers continue to add apps to the list. It currently covers the majority of the U.S., although some states -- including North Dakota, Arizona and Oregon -- don't list any apps, and apps are missing in a few significant categories, such as employment assistance.

The government's official Web portal, USA.gov, which houses more than 130 apps created by federal agencies, was the inspiration for the State Mobile Apps Catalog. Apps on USA.gov are available for Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices in categories such as medicine, health and fitness, news, finance and travel. Just this month a brand new app called Space Place Prime was added to the portal by NASA.

The move toward mobile apps is part of the White House's Digital Government Strategy, introduced last May. It sets out to accomplish three goals: Provide the American public with high-quality digital government information and services; procure and manage devices, applications and data in secure and affordable ways; and unlock government data to encourage innovation and improve the quality of services for U.S. consumers and workers. The next challenge for agencies will be to optimize at least two existing customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content for mobile use.

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