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Curious whether the restaurant you are heading to has passed the county’s inspection? There’s an app for that.
Do you need to check game from a recent hunting trip? There’s an app for that, too.
Now that about 45 percent of adults in the United States own smartphones, citizens are constantly equipped with an Internet connection, GPS functionality and a digital camera. Governments are taking advantage of that fact by using apps to ease the burden of providing services, such as 311, to residents.
Apps that simply deliver information can be useful, but some governments are pushing apps to new heights. Boston, for example, is working on Street Bump, an app that uses a mobile device’s accelerometer to measure potholes and tag GPS coordinates. The app is not available to the public yet, but the city may soon have an army of citizens gathering data about roadway conditions nearly free of charge.
In other cases, governments are driving small business by opening up data to third-party developers, who can then build useful apps for citizens. Developers can charge for the apps or support them with advertisements to monetize the initiative. The Routesy app, which allows users to plan their routes and see real-time schedules for public transportation in San Francisco, is an excellent example. It does cost $4.99, but users have praised it. Of the 101 ratings in the Apple App Store, 82 people have given the app five stars, and 18 have given the app four stars.
The infographic below highlights some of the best and most innovative apps serving citizens in the United States today. If your local government is developing apps or working with outside developers, we want to know about it. Leave us a comment below, or send us a tweet at @StateTech.