February 29, 2012 By Chad Vander Veen
In growing numbers, citizens want access to government services on demand. To help agencies meet this need, Michael Riedyk of government cloud services developer DotGov created YouTown, a group of prepackaged apps that gives agencies a ready-made mobile platform for public data. YouTown’s brilliance is in its simplicity — governments supply the data, YouTown provides the apps, and agencies simply toggle an array of settings to create a customized, near-instant mobile environment.
“We were discussing what would happen if you put mobile technology, social media and open data together,” Riedyk said. “That resulted in the idea to build a mobile platform on a cloud that allows agencies — cities, counties, state agencies, federal agencies — to sign up and, with a just a few clicks, create a mobile presence.”
Riedyk hopes that YouTown will be an automatic destination for government data. Governments wanting open data apps can get them without launching app development contests or using internal resources.
In June, he was one of 16 citizen software developers honored at a White House Champions of Change event, showcasing the potential of Web apps using government data sets.
“We thought it was a unique idea to bring mobile government and social media together as a cloud solution,” Riedyk said. “We’re trying to seriously cut down costs and make government more effective by providing cloud solutions.”
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