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  • InsideTrack
  • August 01, 2012

    Would You Like an App With That? Mobile Apps From the Federal Government

    It seems that everyone is in the app development business. Now, even the federal government is developing apps covering iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys, and Androids.

    Barbara Fritschel 

    Barbara FritschelAug. 1, 2012 – There are several apps that provide easy access to government information, whether it is for work, travel, and personal interest. Government apps are free, but there may be a charge if purchased through an app store. This article provides information about several travel, law-related, and personal interest apps offered by the federal government.

    Law-related Apps

    Congressional Record (Library of Congress/iPad) – This app allows you to either browse or use a key word search on Congressional Records from Jan, 4, 1995, through the present. You can email the results.

    GAO (GAO/iPhone, iPad) – This app includes GAO reports, testimony before Congress, and GAO legal decisions. You can also view podcasts and videos.

    Charge! (Office of the UnderSecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness/Android) – While it may not replace Angry Birds, this is a crime-fighting game based on your knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

    Would You Like an App With That? Mobile Apps   From the Federal Government

    Travel apps

    SMART TRAVELER (Department of State/ iPhone app) – Get country information, updated travel alerts and warnings, and embassy locations. You can also add personal itineraries, organize your trip, and add notes.

    MYTSA (TSA/iPhone) – This app offers tips on how to get quickly through airport security screenings and what items are allowed in carryon luggage. One interesting feature allows you to check the security wait times at airports across the country. You can even check out the wait times by individual concourses.

    Personal Interest Apps

    FCC Mobile Broadband Test (FCC/iPhone/Android) – Find out how fast you can upload or download on your mobile device from your current location.

    National Weather Service (NOAA) – Most weather apps get their information from the National Weather service so why not go directly to the source. This app provides weather information, forecasts and warnings.

    U.S. Postal Service Tools (USPS/iPhone, Android) – This app allows you to access some of the most popular tools on including package tracking, finding collection boxes, and looking up zip codes. (Department of Energy) – This app searches more than 50 databases and 2,100 websites to provide authoritative science information from the government. Results are clustered into relevant topics for easier identification.

    Breathe2Relax (DOD/iPhone, Android) – This app is a portable stress management tool that offers practice exercises to help learn stress management skills.

    These apps may lack some of the glitz and glamour of privately developed apps, but they do allow you to access a great deal of government information from your mobile device. For more information and the newest government apps, go to

    About the Author

    Barbara L. Fritschel, U.W. 1980, is the U.S. Courts Librarian for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

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