The Content Corner: Using Social Media to Promote, Enhance Preparedness for the Public We Serve

September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA’s Ready.gov is encouraging everyone to plan how they would stay safe and communicate during disasters that can affect their communities. Additionally, Ready.gov is encouraging full participation in America’s PrepareAthon! and the national day of action, National PrepareAthon! Day, which culminates National Preparedness Month on September 30. These days, you probably use social media to update your audience on what you are doing, share an interesting article or two, and catch up on the day’s news.

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Check Your Refund Status AND Pay Your Taxes With IRS2Go

This tax season, it’s not just taxpayers expecting a refund who can take advantage of IRS2Go, the IRS’ mobile app, but now taxpayers who owe money are able to make payments through the app. IRS2Go offered for Amazon, Android and iOS is one of the oldest and arguably most popular government apps with over five million downloads on the Android platform alone. Every year IRS reviews user feedback and decides what new features to add.

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Is Your Federal Mobile App or Website in the U.S. Digital Registry?

We have received an amazing response to the U.S. Digital Registry, our new API-generating repository for official third-party sites, social media platforms and mobile apps in the United States federal government. Federal digital managers have already added over 7,300 accounts and are continuously adding and updating social media and mobile app accounts in the registry. Outside of government, private and public sector organizations have been submitting feedback and offering praise.

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Texting is Another Way to Make Mobile Moments

There are several things federal agencies need to think about in the mobile space. Is my website responsive, so that consumers can view it on any device (desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone)? Do I have mobile apps that fill citizen needs? But does texting have a place in the U.S. government, as we strive to serve citizens where THEY are? Here are at least 9 factors you need to consider, according to GovDelivery, and Forrester analysts Art Schoeller and Thomas Husson:

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The Data Briefing: Highlights from 300 Federal Mobile Moments

DigitalGov’s theme this month is mobile moments, which explores the impact of mobile applications in the federal government. For this post, I am examining the more than 300 mobile apps created by the federal government. An updated list of federal mobile apps is on USA.gov. According to the list, 73 federal organizations have released mobile apps on a wide variety of topics. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has the most mobile apps with 31 releases.

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Track Time and Wages with Labor’s Timesheet App

Believe it or not, even a couple years ago, I was using pen and paper to record and track the hours I worked. It was definitely a chore, reconciling work hours with leave, overtime and any number of other entries, week after week. However, in these times of mobile apps for almost anything, several products are available to capture and track time. While this category is quite crowded, the U.

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Day 100: The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt

A long time ago in a federal agency building far, far away on F Street… the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt launched at the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit in Washington, DC. The campaign goal has not waivered from the initial launch because the USA.gov Mobile Apps Directory remains incomplete. The Directory is the authoritative source for federal mobile Web products, and federal agencies that do not have their apps registered here are losing out on valuable promotional opportunities on USA.

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“Congress Creates the Bill of Rights” from National Archives

Whether it’s the 800-year-old legacy of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution or the more recent Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, all of these documents are powerful symbols of citizens’ rights and freedom. They articulate the most important rights granted to the citizens of a country, and each has its own history. The Center for Legislative Archives, part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), houses the official records of the U.

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Three New Mobile Apps Honor Fallen Veterans Overseas

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) released three new mobile apps this summer to honor fallen veterans in overseas cemeteries in Belgium, France and Italy. Information about Flanders Field, Meuse-Argonneand Sicily-RomeAmerican Cemeteries are all now accessible via mobile apps for both Android and iOS. ABMC developed these apps in line with their strategy of “providing an inspirational and educational visitor experience through effective outreach and interpretive programs.” Visitors to the cemeteries overseas are able to download these apps prior to travel or via WiFi in the visitor centers.

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USDA Puts Hunger on Vacation This Summer

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is helping to put hunger on vacation this summer with their Summer Meal Site Finder, a Web and mobile tool that will provide the location of summer meal sites to ensure low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals while school is out. Having this information in a mobile format is key considering that lower income families are more likely to be mobile only.

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USGS is Asking If You Felt It: Latest Earthquakes

Having experienced everything from little tremors to violent shaking, I know what it is like to live in an earthquake zone. Hiding below a large table or under the sturdy doorframe, and at times with the entire building swaying back and forth—it can be quite frightening and confusing at the same time. Your thoughts are flying at 200 miles an hour, flitting from one to the next, concerned about your and your family’s safety.

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Safe Travels with TravWell

Ahhh… Summer is here at last! It’s time for relaxing vacation! Whether you want to scale the peaks of Mount Everest, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, ride a camel in the deserts of Mongolia, or shop in Paris—it is time for a travel app. Gone are the days of just booking cheap flights and accommodations. Now there are travel apps for just about anything—planning, packing, pet care, parking, expense tracking, currency conversion, language translation and even optimal light and dark times to help minimize jet lags.

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DAY 50: The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt!

The Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt is off to the races in both English and Spanish with David Cooper in the lead at 12 #lostapps from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, Department of Veterans Affairs in a close second with 10, and Elizabeth Perez of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration rounding out the leaderboard at Day 50. Thanks to all who have contributed in locating or updating the Directory including SAMSHA, Broadcasting Board of Governors, United States Coast Guard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Small Business Administration.

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Celebrating American History with Federal Apps

Summer is here, which means it is time for the biggest holiday of the summer—Fourth of July! Independence Day is a happy time of year: BBQs, picnics, pools, sunshine and fireworks. Of course, the foundation of our celebration is American history, and there are plenty of excellent federal apps focused on this area. The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 25 overseas military cemeteries that honor the service and sacrifices of U.

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Using Apps for Mental Healthcare

Technology has opened new pathways for delivering health care, including mental health services. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), part of the Department of Defense, offers multiple apps that address health care for service members in a variety of ways. At a talk with the MobileGov Community of Practice earlier this year, Dr. David Cooper, a psychologist for T2, said the apps are a way to provide services and make appointments more effective and efficient for patients.

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When Catastrophe Strikes, Provide Support: SAMHSA’s Disaster Response App

Disasters can strike at anytime, and responders now have another tool in their repertoire to aid survivors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed the Behavioral Health Disaster Response Mobile App to assist mental health responders with pre-deployment and on-the ground information and resources. SAMHSA has placed their key resource materials in this handy to use app so that responders do not need to keep track of multiple pamphlets and fact sheets.

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New Coast Guard App Streamlines Boating Safety to Maximize Summer Fun

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.

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ICE Wields Smartphones in Fight Against Child Exploitation

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.

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Start Sleuthing with the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt

Mobile-friendliness is a must for government. We know there are a number of agencies who have mobile-friendly digital products that we don’t know about, and they deserve their day in the sun. We need your help to find them. So today, at the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit you will find the MobileGov Community of Practice Expo Table, where we are kicking off the Great Federal Mobile Product Hunt. The mission of the hunt is simple—find the mobile apps or websites not listed on the registry.

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From Startup to Veteran CEO: New BusinessUSA App Has You Covered

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.

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Checking in on the DoD Mobile Apps Gallery

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.

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New USGS App Helps Save the Piping Plovers!

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.

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Booking a Discount Bus Ticket? Check Carrier Safety Records with QCMobile

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.

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DrugShortages App Accelerates Public Access to Drug Shortage Information

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.

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Explore Iconic Overseas World War II Sites with ABMC Apps

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.

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Keep a Strong Job Search Game with USA.gov’s Federal Mobile Apps Directory

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.

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IRS2Go App Provides Multi-Symptom Relief for Tax Anxiety

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.

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Focus on Nutrition with DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals App

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.

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Be a Citizen Scientist with NOAA’s CrowdMag App

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.

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Rail Crossing Locator App Now Available on a Second Platform

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.

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Open and API-Driven Federal Mobile App Registration

Thanks to the power of open data and APIs, federal agencies can now register their mobile native apps and websites on the Federal Mobile Products Registry and have them appear on the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory (formerly USA.gov Apps Gallery) almost immediately. When we launched the USA.gov Apps Gallery in 2010 there were less than 15 apps. To register an app, an agency would contact us with app info, download screenshots and create a “page” for that app.

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Bullying: Help Prevent and Protect Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

I don’t remember being bullied as a kid, but my younger sister once was. When she was in junior high, a jealous schoolmate who ran in a small tough pack threatened to “beat up” my quiet, mild-mannered sibling at an unspecified time and day during her walk home from school. Sound familiar? Back then (in an era before text messaging and bullying awareness), a well-placed phone call to a high school football player friend of mine who knew said bully made that problem go away.

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No More Beta in Congress.gov’s Responsive Website

Congress.gov ushered in the new fiscal year by removing the beta label from its URL two years after it launched. During this period, the Library of Congress not only extensively tested how the site would display on any device, but in a series of releases and enhancements, completely transformed the ability to find legislative information as the successor to THOMAS. With Congress.gov you can now find information via: A resources section with an A-Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress An improved Advanced Search capability with 30 new fields available to construct increasingly detailed and intricate searches that you can then save.

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CDC App Aids in Prevention of Neonatal Disease

The Centers for Disease Control has added another tool to its suite of mobile applications for healthcare providers and clinicians. The “Prevent Group B Strep” app provides specific, timely guidance to obstetric and neonatal providers to aid in the prevention of perinatal Group B Strep disease. The app’s simple interface delivers, through a series of yes/no questions, recommendations based on programmed algorithms underlying the current guidelines. With this app, healthcare providers and clinicians can:

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#PrepareAthon 2014: Disaster Preparedness in the Palm of Your Hand

If there was one thing we learned on September 11, 2001, it’s that you can never be too prepared for a disaster of any magnitude. September is aptly named** National Preparedness Month** and the government’s #PrepareAthon campaign—led by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)—is under way, culminating in National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30. What better way to show your patriotism this Patriot Day than to commit to be prepared should a disaster should strike your community.

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Census Promotes Mobile Apps Front and Center!

Those cutting edge folks over at Census have raised the bar again! Not only do they have three mobile apps that use their own APIs, but now everyone who visits Census.gov is presented with an overlay promoting America’s Economy, Census PoPQuiz, and dwellr. Clicking on the overlay takes you straight to their mobile products page. Overlay advertising is just one way to promote your mobile products. Your public affairs office is key to ensure you promote to social media and other channels that will alert your users and relevant communities.

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USDA App Helps ID Your Potpourri

Got a thing for dried botanicals? (No, not THOSE … but the stuff of fragrant sachets, decorative wreaths and glass jars filled with heavenly scents?) Before you discard your old potpourri or put some within reach of pets and children, you’ll want to take a look at this new app from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The Dried Botanicals Key app for iOS and Android was designed for professional botanists and plant-enthusiasts alike to quickly identify the variety of dried (scented, bleached or color-dyed) fungi, fruits, seeds and leaves you’re likely to find at your local craft shops and gift stores.

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Census PoP Quiz Mobile App Challenges Knowledge of State Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau today released Census PoP Quiz, a new interactive mobile application that challenges users’ knowledge of demographic facts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The new app, which draws from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, aims to raise statistical literacy about the U.S. population. Census PoP Quiz provides an introduction to the statistics that define our growing, changing nation and is a great way for everyone to learn facts about all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the nation in a fun, relevant way.

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Safe Swimming This Summer (Can You Say That Four Times Fast?)

You don’t have to try too hard to get people into the water during summer. But swimming the healthy and safe way? Well, everyone could use help on that. Whether you are a swimmer, lifeguard, pool attendant or sun-loving spectator, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Healthy Swimming iPhone/iPad app is for you. With a simple click or two, find the most accurate information about: Where we swim: Pool or ocean?

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Mobile REMM App: New Physicians’ Aid

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Mobile REMM App provides physicians and emergency medical staff with the latest and greatest information concerning radioactive and nuclear emergencies. Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry platforms, the native application showcases comprehensive information concerning dose estimators and resources to initiate a variety of triages on site without requiring mobile connectivity. After its April update to 2.0.1, users now have access to management algorithms that provide scenario-based flowcharts to help in treatment decision making.

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Have a H(app)y Fourth of July from MobileGov

Washington. You can say a lot of things about this town, but one thing is clear: Fourth of July is our holiday. No one rocks Independence Day quite like we do, thanks to the hardworking people at the National Park Service who manage our National Mall and help stage a blockbuster fireworks celebration there that rivals any around the globe. Coming to “America’s front yard” for the festivities? The NPS National Mall app is a must-download.

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Broadcasting Board of Governors Use “Relay” Tool to Cover the World Cup

World Cup fever, everyone’s got it—even the Broadcasting Board of Governors‘ (BBG) Voice of America has reporters covering the event. For this year’s World Cup, VOA has teamed up with the Office of Digital and Design Innovation (a digital team inside the BBG) to create two new sites: one in English and one in French. These mobile-firsts sites are light-weight, responsive and built to meet the needs of the network’s African audiences, which are increasingly turning to mobile for news and information.

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DOT’s SaferCar App Goes Android

With the start of “astronomical summer” later this week on June 21, that means two things: road trips and car buying. If you’re doing either or both, best be sure to grab the app for the SaferCar program from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We blogged about the SaferCar app last year when NHTSA launched the app in iOS, and we are pleased to report that Android users have been brought into the fold with their own version for download on Google Play.

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CDC’s New App Answers the Question: ‘Can I Eat This?’

I’ll be honest: When I had only heard the name of the new mobile app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I thought, “Interesting — another dieting app to add to my phone.” So wrong was I. In fact, the only way you’re going to lose weight with this traveler’s app is if you don’t use it. And by “lose weight” I mean involuntary weight loss from retching over a large porcelain bowl—or worse, from being hospitalized for severe dehydration—having contracted food poisoning or a spectacular case of diarrheal disease while traveling abroad.

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‘Operation Predator’ App from ICE Developed to Help Rescue Children, Capture Sexual Predators

It’s disturbing to think about, but essential for all of us to know about: The sexual abuse and exploitation of children. When it comes to rescuing those children and investigating, locating and arresting suspected child predators, “it’s a race against the clock,” says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Acting Director John Sandweg. Luckily there’s a mobile tool to help beat that clock back a bit. Touted as the first of its kind in U.

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EPA Mobile Projects Update

Earth Day is next week, so today instead of featuring one mobile product like we do every Thursday, we’re highlighting how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is tackling mobile to help empower citizen environmental decisions. Currently, you can access EPA’s mobile website, a number of EPA apps, and the agency has a dedicated team working on mobile product decisions. Last month, EPA reported on the status of current mobile projects.

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Department of Treasury’s HelpWithMyBank.gov Goes Responsive

As the rapper Notorious B.I.G. aptly noted in his hit song, “Mo Money” brings “Mo Problems.” Especially when you run up against confusing policies or questionable actions by large national banks and financial institutions. Now it’s easier than ever to get your questions answered and troubleshoot your banking issues on-the-go with the mobile-optimized www.HelpWithMyBank.gov from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The site, which has been formatted into responsive design, serves a variety of screen types—from smartphones to tablets to laptops and desktop monitors.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Launches New, Mobile Friendly Website

There’s a LOT going on at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and you don’t want to miss it: Seizures of illegal drug and counterfeit cash. Arrests of human smugglers. Even the interception of imported “pests” (most recently, a new slug found in the Washington area that goes by the name of Pallifera sp) by CBP agriculture specialists. Who knew? Thanks to a mobile-optimized and redesigned www.cbp.gov, now you can get all the latest CBP news, videos, photos, pest interceptions and more—30,000 pieces of content in all, so far—from any smartphone or tablet.

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/Developer Kit

These are the elements that make up a well-rounded developer hub. Homepage The API efforts of any agency should all be accessible via one easy to reach developers hub. This Web page should provide a path to all public APIs and any associated resources. Once an agency has begun to publish multiple APIs, certain resources may make sense to be specific to each API whereas others may make sense to be provided more generally for all of the agency’s APIs.

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