Real Online Democracy Tools for Washington

The Chief Technology Officer for Washington, D.C., government ran an "Apps for Democracy" contest for online tools that really help people with getting help from the government and getting on with their lives. This is a crowd sourcing model that has real, useful results that can be generalized throughout the country and maybe beyond.

Normally, in real life, it would take far longer and been much more expensive to have developed these. Check out dps.dc.gov for the list. Here're a few good results from the contest.

Point About (iPhone app) Do you find yourself in a hurry, walking down Connecticut Avenue wondering where the closest Metro is — Dupont Circle or Farragut North? — and what time the train is coming? Point About is a real-time, location-aware D.C. alerting tool for the iPhone, which includes crime reports, building permits and more, all from where you are standing.

DC Historic Tours, for folks ready to tour our nation's capital. You can create a custom map, for example Inauguration Route, and identify the walking distance and points of interest. Planning for lunch on the way, you can research restaurants, etc., in the area, and save it and reference it later when you're ready to tour the city. DC Historic Tours is a Google Maps mash-up that combines custom tour creation with Flickr photo feeds and Wikipedia entries.

iLive Enter your address and iLive.at will present you with information tailored to that exact location, cleanly organized into categories. The "Errands" category indicates how far the nearest shopping center, post office and convenience store are, among other things. "Crime" tabulates recently reported offenses in your area, and "The People" displays colorful pie charts giving demographic information that includes age range, ethnicity and marital status.

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