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Data Download: What Your Cellphone is Telling You

Hello, my name is Emily, and I am addicted to my phone. My phone isn’t just a technology that helps me keep in contact with my family and friends – my cellphone IS my friend.

It’s sad, but true. Like a trusted friend, my cellphone KNOWS me. My cellphone tracks my location, counts my calories, keeps track of the miles I run, houses my favorite music and the books I can’t live without (I’m looking at you, Nicholas Sparks).

My smartphone is smart. It has more computing power than the computers used to put a man on the moon. Seriously!

But it’s not just me that can take advantage of my cellphone’s data. Government agencies can harness the power for their devices, too.

How? Well, for example, in 2010 the Census Bureau armed its field workers with GPS-equipped tablets to prepare for the population count.

Instead of fanning the country with maps, employees used the devices to update the bureau’s master address list of 145 million residents. More than 140,000 workers were able to finish the address checking in early July, a few weeks ahead of schedule.

Instead of wasting time imputing addresses, the GPS-enabled devices used location services to automatically import the data, saving the agencies time and money.

The Census Bureau’s GPS-enabled devices are just the tipping point for how the government can optimize the data that is already being collected from smartphones.

Is your agency optimizing data? Let us know in the comments below.

And if you’re looking to purchase your next smartphone so you can take advantage of data collection, see if you qualify for Sprint’s government discount here.

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