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Gov 2.0 Roundup (March 12 Edition)

The State Department visualizes data, the FBI has an app for that, the First Lady offers prizes to get kids moving, and the Department of Homeland Security sniffs out a unique mobile application, all in this week’s version of the Rock Creek Roundup.

–Earlier this week, the State Department, in conjunction with the University of California at Berkeley, launched Opinion Space, a website that is very cool, and very hard to describe—but I’ll give it a try. It’s basically an innovative way to visualize data related to opinions on foreign policy and to put all opinions, at least initially, on a level playing field and then to let participants vote and interact based on the similarities in their points of view. Confused yet? Spend a few minutes engaging with Opinion Space on your own, and then leave us a comment letting us know how you would describe it.

–Uncertain if the guy sitting across from you on the Metro is on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list? Now, there’s an app for that. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s iPhone app allows users to immediately access photos of the top 10 fugitives, as well as the ability to instantly e-mail an FBI office closest to their current GPS location. But the app is only one way that the Bureau is using the power of social media to inform and empower citizens—they are also employing Twitter, Facebook, and a 150,000+ recipient e-mail list to get the word out.

–Do you have a idea for a tool that will get kids to eat more vegetables, or for a video game that gives more than your thumbs a workout? The First Lady is calling on software developers, game programmers, hobbyists, and others to help combat the problem of childhood obesity. The Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge, part of Mrs. Obama’s larger Let’s Move! initiative, offers $40,000 in prizes for organizations and individuals who can develop games and applications that get kids to eat better and become more physically fit. Submissions are due at the end of June, so start brainstorming and programming now!

–The Department of Homeland Security announced this week that they are developing a mobile application designed to detect and report potential chemical threats. Though still entrenched in the research and development phase, the Cell-All cell phone app would make use of a sensor embedded in the phone to sniff out toxic or chemical threats, then notify the phone user and/or an emergency operations center, depending on the threat detected and its size. DHS is currently working with four major phone manufacturers and hopes to develop 40 prototypes within the first year.

This item is cross-posted on the Rock Creek Strategic Marketing Blog.

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