Just in time for the summer season, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a brand new app to give smartphone users easy, on-demand access to critical boating safety information and resources. With this new app, called United States Coast Guard, users can ensure they have proper equipment, check the weather, file a float plan, and so much more. The app also features an emergency assistance button, which calls the closest Coast Guard command center if the phone’s location services are enabled.
Armed with a smartphone instead of a badge, ordinary Americans are helping law enforcement officers capture child predators. After exhausting all investigative leads, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents turn to the public for help to locate fugitive child predators through the Operation Predator smartphone app and social media outreach. And it’s working. Since Operation Predator launched for iPhones in September 2013 and Android devices in Oct 2014, the app has assisted in 6 arrests on charges related to child exploitation.
BusinessUSA is a centralized, one-stop platform to make it easy for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire. And with the release of a brand new smartphone app for Android and iOS devices, BusinessUSA is fully functional no matter whether you visit by desktop, tablet or smartphone. The BusinessUSA smartphone app consolidates a wide-ranging amount of business information and resources from across the U.S. federal government. The tools in the app are created to help small businesses, as well as more established businesses, navigate regulatory hurdles and gain revenue in a global economy.
Spoiler Alert: Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because Americans are not sure if the food is spoiled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that retailers and consumers waste 36 pounds of food per person each month. The USDA’s FoodKeeper app helps Americans avoid this problem by offering users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.
We’re switching our style up this week in salute to our military friends across the Department of Defense. Faithful readers of DigitalGov know that each Thursday we profile an awesome app from the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory. This week we’re getting familiar with the DoD Mobile Apps Gallery to highlight some of the great apps available for servicemembers and the general public. First up is a collection of apps from the Air Force, since they’re first on this alphabetical list.
iPlover is a new app from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for data collection about habitats on coastal beaches and the environment surrounding them. That sounds like a really difficult and important task, but luckily for us, the app is designed for trained and vetted professionals. It is an example of another federal crowdsourcing app, but for experts. The app is actually intended for use by USGS officials and partners and will not function without an approved log-in.
The new app from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called “QCMobile” empowers U.S. motorists to make safety their highest priority on the roadways this spring. This is a continued theme in DOT’s mobile strategy, as they have also recently released the SaferRide app. QCMobile (QC stands for “Query Central”) is a free download for anyone interested in reviewing the DOT registration and safety performance information of motor carriers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new “DrugShortages” app gives the public access to important—and sometimes critical—drug shortage information easier and faster than ever before. Drugs in short supply can delay or deny needed care for patients. Shortages may also lead health care professionals to rely on alternative drug products, which may be less effective or associated with higher risks than the drug in shortage. The app uses a searchable database to provide real-time information to key stakeholders, including health care practitioners and pharmacists.
We have not forgotten, we will never forget, the debt of infinite gratitude that we have contracted with those who gave everything for our freedom. Rene Coty, Président de la République Francaise Those are the words of Rene Coty, the president of France from 1954 to 1959, inscribed in the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center in France. The Normandy American Cemetery is one of the 25 permanent American military cemeteries in foreign countries that the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) maintains to honor the service, achievements and sacrifices of U.
Scoping the fed scene for the best match to apply your very formidable skillset? Use your smartphone to cast a wider net on your job search with help from the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory. Federal job hunters are no longer confined to desktop websites, so check out some of the great mobile job search apps and websites listed in the USA.gov directory. If you get hired through one of these apps, my commission is a reasonable 15 percent.
The digital equivalent of a cool rag and a spoonful of Pepto Bismol, the Internal Revenue Service updated their IRS2Go app to provide multi-symptom relief for tax anxiety this year. IRS2Go lets taxpayers check on the status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. If you’re e-filing, you can check your refund status within about 24 hours after the IRS confirms receipt of your tax return. If you’re filing paper tax returns, it takes about four weeks to check your refund status due to longer processing times.
For those of us who need to get our diet under control—and keep it that way—we surely have noticed the recent explosion of health apps and wearable fitness trackers. No doubt we’ve all thought about buying one of those at $100 to $150 bucks a pop even if we didn’t know for sure exactly what it did. My personal two-week obsession in wristband form came in sporty neon orange and provided me plenty of numbers to keep me busy making sense of it all.
Citizen scientists, stand up! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) improve the accuracy of magnetic navigation by tracking changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. All you need is your smartphone, loaded with NOAA’s awesome CrowdMag app. In this era of GPS and other geospatial technologies, why is this mission important? It’s because technologies like GPS have limitations.
One death every 52 minutes. That’s how frequently someone died in crashes involving a drunk driver in the U.S. in 2013—10,076 deaths in total. While that number represents a 2.5% reduction in deaths from the previous year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering a new mobile app—called SaferRide—to save more lives. Simply put, SaferRide helps people who have been drinking to get a safe ride home.
The new Border Wait Time app from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a one stop shop for cross border travelers, displaying estimated wait times and open lane statuses at U.S. land ports of entry. Travelers can also locate ports of entry closest to their location, and then map the best route to the crossing of their choice. For example, the app allows travelers in the Buffalo, New York, area to compare wait times at the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and Lewiston Queenston Bridge and will then direct them to whichever crossing they chose.
NORAD’s Santa Tracker is available for download again! Here are five things I learned from the magical NORAD Tracks Santa app to keep my nieces, nephews and neighborhood children entertained this holiday season, even if I don’t remember how many of them I should buy presents for: Santa’s big night out usually starts in the South Pacific, covers New Zealand and Australia, shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the U.
Have a potential future cadet in the family? Deciding whether the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program is right for you? Already in the program? Study up on the Army ROTC program before you or someone you know steps foot in the classroom in a crisp uniform. Download the ROTC Handbook from the U.S. Army Cadet Command to help learn this new culture—acronyms, Army-isms and all. This app serves a wide audience, including those who are looking to join the program, current cadets and anyone who is interested in cadet life.
Who to call? Where to meet? What to pack? How to find fuel? Make sure your personal disaster preparedness plan includes how to quickly find functioning gas stations in your area with help from the Department of Energy’s Lantern Live app. The app crowdsources the ability to find fuel during an emergency through user-generated status reports of local gas stations. It also allows users to check for power outages in the area, and includes useful tips and guidelines for emergency situations.
Are you like me? Do you consistently eat too much on Thanksgiving to avoid invasive family conversations that have a high probability of 1) turning awkward and 2) forcing you to abandon a sworn blood oath to never again reveal details of your private life to loved ones? Don’t be like me. It’s your holiday, too, and there’s no need to sit quietly at the table with a full belly and sweating.
Wanna join the global climate change conversation? Arm yourself with real-time facts about Earth’s vital signs from NASA’s Earth Now mobile app. Earth Now is an app that visualizes recent global climate data, including surface air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapor, as well as gravity and sea level variations. This app not only shows you the current vital signs of the planet, but also explains why each vital sign is important to monitor, and how changes to these signs affect the climate.
Catching child predators? There’s an app for that, and it’s expanding its reach to Android smartphones. Operation Predator—the first U.S. federal law enforcement app designed to seek the public’s help with identifying and locating fugitive and unknown suspected child predators—is now available for both Android and iOS-based smartphones, and also features built-in Spanish language support. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched the initial Operation Predator for Apple products in September 2013.
You don’t need to be a rail buff to want to download the Federal Railroad Administration Rail Crossing Locator app. Parents, outdoor enthusiasts, emergency responders, school officials, motorists and many others will find value in locating area highway-rail crossings. The aim of the app is public safety and the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently added an Android version of the app. The Rail Crossing Locator app uses your current location to display nearby points on a map where a railway line crosses a road or path, as opposed to when a railway line crosses over or under a road via a bridge or tunnel.
Want to know where the food you’re eating was produced? Here’s a handy trick before you head out to the grocery store: Download the Meat, Poultry & Egg Product Inspection Directory (MPI Directory) app produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. All containers of meat, poultry and egg products must be labeled with a USDA mark of inspection and establishment number, which is assigned to the plant where the product was produced.