Web 2.0 Tools, Digital Memorials, and a Lego Inauguration

Government Technology's monthly roundup of IT-related news and numbers.

by / March 4, 2009

Usable Tools

More than ever, governments are tapping into the latest Web 2.0 applications to better connect with citizens. Here are a few resources that might benefit your agency:

Survs: is a collaborative tool for creating online surveys, but is currently in the private beta testing phase.

Bubbletweet: lets users add videos to their Twitter page.

Twtpoll: Need feedback from your followers? Ask them a question -- 140 characters or fewer -- with multiple-choice answers to gauge their interest in a topic. And if you are restricted by 140 characters, TwitterEyes, edits "tweets" before they're sent so you maximize your space.

1link.in: This tool converts multiple links into one, which eliminates copying and pasting individual links when sharing.

doingText: allows users to edit and write online collaboratively.

Scrumy: a project-management tool that lets users assess each stage of a plan.

Notify.me: receive instant updates about any Web site you're interested in.


Enter to Win

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), a nonprofit association of professionals who use GIS and IT to solve state and local issues, is seeking nominations for its GIS Hall of Fame. URISA honors the best in the GIS field. Previous inductees include ESRI President Jack Dangermond and Roger Tomlinson a.k.a. the "father of GIS." Nominations are due May 1. For more information, visit the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.


Digital Memorial

Technology brings people together in the best of times as well as the worst. A funeral home in central Ohio provides free live Web streaming and video archives of memorial services for overseas military personnel who can't attend, according to The Associated Press. Other funeral homes nationwide also offer similar services.


Education Pays

Congress might soon be dishing out the dough to U.S. public schools. As a part of President Barack Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus package, Congress would dole out nearly $142 billion over the next two years, but there's a catch. Schools must develop longitudinal data systems that track progress, formulate high-quality tests, and hire and retain top teachers in hard-to-staff schools. -- USA Today


Brick by Brick

More than 22 million Legos were used to re-create President Barack Obama's Inauguration. The creation had more than 1,000 mini-figures, including politicos like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush family and many more. -- Legoland


Funding Crisis

Many states are facing a funding crisis in their unemployment systems. U.S. Labor Department data from November shows more than 500,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed for the week ending Nov. 8, 2008, bringing new claims to their highest levels since the economic downturn after Sept. 11, 2001.

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.