Services for learning about NASA missions, finding a job with the U.S. government, or staying informed about the latest in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations are among the White House's picks for top federal mobile applications
In a White House blog post last week, the Obama administration listed 10 "must-have" mobile applications it's made available on its USA.gov mobile applications site.
The site, launched in July as part of a redesign of USA.gov, supports the administration's Open Government Directive, which aims to improve how the government can use technology to better engage with its citizens.
Some of the applications on the list are accessible only on the iPhone, some only on mobile web browsers, and some available via both.
The applications on the list serve a variety of purposes. Some are purely informational, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's iPhone app and WhiteHouse.gov. The former provides information about current NASA missions, complete with images and videos, while the latter -- available on both the iPhone and mobile web -- provides the latest news and blog posts coming out of the White House, including live streaming of events with President Obama.
There are also applications on the list that facilitate communications with the federal government. The USA Jobs iPhone app allows people to search for employment with the federal government, while USA.gov -- available both on the iPhone and the mobile web -- lets people search federal, state, and local government sites and contact the government by phone or e-mail.
Travel applications also are listed among White House favorites. Find Your Embassy, available on the mobile web, helps people locate the nearest U.S. embassy -- something anyone who's lost a passport while traveling knows can be an invaluable resource.
Another app -- My TSA -- aims to make a traveler's journey through the airport smoother by providing the latest information about carry-on and ID requirements, or the real-time operating status for U.S. airports, according to the post. The app is available on both the iPhone and mobile web.
Still other applications on the list provide practical services for people that don't necessarily include interacting directly with the government at all. FuelEconomy.gov, for example, allows people to calculate gas mileage, annual fuel costs, annual petroleum use, and the carbon footprint of their automobile. The application is available on the mobile web.
Along the same lines, the Alternative Fuel Locator helps people find fueling stations for vehicles that run on biodiesel, electricity, E85 or ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, propane, or other alternative fuels. The app -- available on the mobile web -- serves up information from the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fueling Station Locator.