While there are plenty of apps that can help the harried business traveler, with everything from a virtual concierge to programs that can help you read and even edit documents, I figure the President of the United States probably has enough aids that these apps aren’t entirely necessary. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of apps for the POTUS, or for Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra to pay attention to as the country works to get the economy rolling for the 21st century.
Actually, the government has taken some steps forward. Already there is Data.gov, a depository for open government datasets that users can access to help in creating applications, as well for conducting research. Beginning with just 47 datasets, there are now more than 169,000 available. Additionally, there is also the Apps.gov Web site, which is hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration. This clearinghouse for hundreds of cloud-computing apps (free and paid) from private vendors.
Of course there are apps that maybe President Barack Obama or Kundra should consider and follow as well. Here is a look at a few apps in use that even the most powerful man in the world should follow:
National Debt Tracker
This free Palm webOS app from LukeWalker lets anyone (even the Prez) see the amount of the U.S. government’s national debt, using official Treasury daily-published figures. This gives users the ability to see up-to-the-penny total of the National Debt, and it even includes an option to send these figures via a text or e-mail.
Citizen of Portland Citizen Reports
Yes, there is an app for city planning. In fact, a free iPhone app was created by city project manager Rick Nixon to let citizens request service on public infrastructure issues, such as calls for park equipment, fixes to street lights and potholes, cleaning of sewer basins and graffiti. The app, which is currently in use, has seen resolution of many problems within 24 to 48 hours. City of Los Angeles councilman is rolling out an iPhone app with the same functionalities this month. While the POTUS probably couldn’t use such an app, nor respond directly to the 300-plus million Americans, this app could allow all in government to see how technology is helping at a community level.
Connectivity with Voters and Fundraising in the iPhone Era
Some critics of the POTUS have complained he’s never really stopped campaigning and with a re-election coming just around the corner, it is never too early to think about reaching voters. Paul Everton of Chicago-based tech start-up Visible Vote, has created a free smartphone app that connects voters with their representatives in government. This week the app was also upgraded to allow users to contribute to a lawmakers’ campaign with credit card payments! Imagine, a new twist in fundraising in the digital age!
Apps for Healthy Kids
One set of apps we’re sure the POTUS has seen are those that are part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to end childhood obesity. This includes Michelle Obama’s Apps for Healthy Kids competition, which challenges software developers, game designers, students and others to help develop fun and engaging tools for kids – notably tweens – to eat better and be more physically active.