The U.S. government is no stranger the to app game: they’ve developed over 50 smartphone apps and mobile sites for everyday use, ranging from apps that find local alternative fueling stations to ones that can identify leaves you’ve photographed. The federal app arsenal runs the gamut for sure, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. The USA.gov blog has announced that until September 15, regular citizens like you and I can submit ideas for the next great government app.
This gesture of openness is now taking submissions on Google Moderator, and a few people have already thrown their hats into the ring. My favorite so far? LarryM from Baltimore has a good one:
“Collect and publish the latitude and longitude coordinates of all government office that are open to the general public (e.g., Social Security District Offices) so that mapping programs such as Bing/Google maps can display locations accurately.”
Personally, I’d like to see an app that uses a device’s location services to figure out what state and district it’s in, and display recent activity from the pertinent Congressman. Nothing like some local accountability in the palm of your hand, right?
Since Google Moderator is being used to manage all these submissions, users are essentially able to upvote good suggestions, so the inevitable vague or trollish submissions won’t make it too far. There’s already a questionable suggestion or two (including one that isn’t a suggestion at all) in the mix, which understandably haven’t garned much love.
The USA.gov blog doesn’t say that the most popular suggestions will definitely make it into the development stage, but if the “winning” choices are technically feasible and novel enough, it should stand a decent chance of becoming a reality. If the chance to have the government bring your app idea to life has you chomping at the bit, then mosey on over to the site and let loose — I’d love to see what a thoughtful audience like ours can come up with.