Lost at the National Zoo? There’s an App for That

With hosts of new applications being created by the government, the Smithsonian has joined in with their new Google maps app. Now you can explore their 17 museums and the National Zoo on your smartphone, using Google maps technology to navigate from exhibit to exhibit. Each exhibit is clearly labeled, and navigation is made simple with the “you are here” feature marking your location with a blue dot. There are also step by step directions provided to help visitors find their way from one point of interest to the next.

Not only have they created and launched this new app, but also they are able to link its implementation with positive and tangible outcomes. They have seen both fewer customer complaints and fewer requests for directions. This has freed up docents and other Smithsonian employees to lead tours and respond to more in-depth questions by visitors.

Applications that increase work efficiency and allow for better customer service are increasing in number. It may also demonstrate cost savings in the long run with fewer printed maps needed within the museums. Digital maps can also be updated more frequently as exhibits and displays change.

While the Smithsonian museums may have had a more clear use for mobile apps that benefit the public and government workers, hopefully other agencies will continue to innovate new ways to utilize technology to improve services.

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