July 10, 2009 By Matt Williams
California launched a free application this week for the Apple iPhone that helps users find and contact government offices. The program was developed at no cost in partnership with Symsoft Solutions.
The government services locater utilizes the iPhone's built-in GPS to automatically detect a user's location and the closest government offices. Users can also search by ZIP code even when out of range of Internet connectivity. Plotted buildings include public libraries, department of motor vehicles offices and more.
California isn't alone in climbing aboard the iPhone phenomenon. In recent months, Boston and Utah have released free applications that give iPhone users access to government services. By doing so, those governments are reaching tens of millions of iPhone consumers. Though Apple doesn't release exact sales figures for the iPhone, MarketWatch estimates 10 million to 20 million of them have been sold in the last year.
California's app was made available in conjunction with the announced launch of a new design for the state's Web portal for mobile devices. The application is free to download on that Web site or on the iTunes store.
Earlier this year, Government Technology reviewed the mobile version of all 50 states' Web portals. See a brief review and screenshot of every state.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.