Communication between governments and citizens is being channeled with the release of YouTown, a mobile app that allows agencies to publish local news, events, maps, calendars, and services straight to the smartphones 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 was recently tested by more than 25 cities, counties, and agencies across the U.S. 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.
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 and shopping.
Derrick Silas, Web developer for the City of Enid says that “YouTown allows us to be on the forefront of government mobile technology. 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 for citizens is currently available for free download at iTunes, with support for Android and other mobile devices to follow soon.