It’s been nearly a year since we introduced the concept of YouTown — a mobile platform for connecting citizens and their communities — to the Gov2.0 space. At the heart of development were two questions: How would local governments benefit from the ability to publish all types of information from various agencies (from Public Works to City Hall to the Chamber of Commerce and beyond) using one simple interface?
And how would citizens benefit from the ability to receive all that data (news, maps, events, services) right to their mobile devices?
Those questions were the driving force behind several months of Beta testing by numerous cities, counties, and agencies across the US and Canada. Now we can find out just how far the benefits of mobile open data will reach . . . because YouTown is live and available for citizen download!
There is currently no platform comparable to YouTown available in the mobile government market
, and the responses from our partner cities have been enthusiastic.
Chris Matthews, eGovernment Information Officer for Washoe County, Nevada, called YouTown a “very well-designed product” and commented, “I did all my testing on an iPod Touch, so I know it works brilliantly with that as well.”
When can I get my city on YouTown?
If your agency is located in the US or Canada, you can sign-up now! Later this summer, the plan is to extend support for YouTown to agencies in Europe and Australia!
What makes YouTown different?
Many agencies do offer mobile versions of their websites, but 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.
This is a big step toward seamless, one-stop communication between citizens and their communities — and we believe YouTown
will be a huge win for open data and mobile government.