SEATTLE, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Communication between governments and citizens is being revolutionized with the release of YouTown, a new platform that allows agencies to publish local news, events, maps, calendars, and services straight to the mobile devices of residents. "This is a big step towards mobile government," said Michael Riedyk, founder and CEO of DotGov, the Seattle-based company that created YouTown. "Cities won't have to worry about developing their own apps for different departments and agencies. They can now sign up at YouTown.com and go mobile within a few hours without any costs."
YouTown has been under development for the past year and recently tested by over 25 cities, counties, and agencies across the US and Canada. The options for data publication range from Facebook and Twitter feeds to nature trails and parks maps, from holiday sanitation schedules to local cultural events. Agencies are encouraged to use YouTown for their unique requirements; the app is versatile enough to accommodate a wide variety of feeds and data.
For agencies aiming to increase their use of technology to promote a culture of transparency and participation, YouTown fits the bill. The City of Enid, in northern Oklahoma, participated in the development process of the app and found it valuable as an avenue of connection to citizens and potential visitors alike. Enid is publishing local news and event feeds, descriptions of city services (like public transit information), and an impressive variety of maps that chart locations for family fun, fire stations, schools, dining, shopping, and beyond.
Derrick Silas, Web developer for the City of Enid, OK, was able to establish the city's mobile presence within a few hours. He says that his community is dedicated to involving citizens in the governing process "by any means necessary," and YouTown provides that interaction in a form that people already use often -- the mobile device. "YouTown allows us to be on the forefront of government mobile technology," commented Silas. "It allows Enid to maximize its dedication to providing current and prospective citizens, visitors, and businesses a means of two-way communication with the city."
YouTown is unique within the mobile government market. While some agencies do offer mobile versions of their websites, YouTown has several unique advantages in that the platform:
- Is location-based; users can choose a city or get real-time directions on maps within the app.
- Combines information from multiple agencies (i.e. Public Works, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) so residents can enjoy a one-stop shop for complete community information.
- Allows even agencies without websites to inform and interact with citizens.
- Supports open-data tools (i.e. RSS, iCalendar, KML) that governments are already using for publishing local information.
- Is available in a free version that agencies can sign up for and begin using in just minutes.
YouTown for citizens is currently available for free download in iTunes, with support for Android and other mobile devices to follow soon. Government agencies from the US and Canada can sign up for the service at http://YouTown.com. The app will be made available to cities in Europe and Australia this summer.
DotGov, Inc. is a Seattle-based company dedicated to bringing affordable technology solutions to local governments. In the spirit of the "Gov 2.0" movement, DotGov provides tools that help agencies become more transparent, collaborative, and participatory.
For more information, contact Michael Riedyk at 778-996-6063 or email@example.com.
SOURCE DotGov, Inc.