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By Africa S. Hands

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Abstract

According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the number of US adult cellphone owners who have downloaded an app to their phone has nearly doubled over the past two years. We can all agree that there is no shortage of apps available in the marketplace.

Item

According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the number of US adult cellphone owners who have downloaded an app to their phone has nearly doubled over the past two years. We can all agree that there is no shortage of apps available in the marketplace. With such a wide variety of apps on the market and untold numbers of developers, it’s important that information workers use quality, reputable apps especially when relying on the app for data, news and information to be reported to clients.

The US government has put together an eclectic mix of apps with a concentration on health and medical information (BMI Calculator, MedlinePlus Mobile and My Dietary Supplements), safety (FEMA, OSHA Heat Safety Tool and UV Index), and the environment (EPA Waste Reduction, EPA AirNow and a mobile version of FuelEconomy.gov). Mobile versions of several Smithsonian museums are available as is a curious app showcasing art and objects by Van Cleef and Arpels.

One interesting app is Smart Traveler. This app is essential for world travel information professionals as well as those tracking international incidents which may affect travel and safety. The app offers information on most major countries with information categorised into three areas: “Know Before You Go”, which informs users of entry and exit requirements, safety and security concerns and areas of crime, traffic safety, accessibility, embassy location and emergency phone numbers; “Country Background”, which has regularly updated information similar to that found in the CIA World Factbook; and “U.S. Embassies and Consulates” which provides links to the external mobile version of the Embassy website while staying within the app.

Users may email the full text of information found in the “Know Before You Go” and “Country Background” sections. In addition to the specific country information, users will find travel warnings and alerts, and access within the app to the U.S. Department of State Facebook page and Twitter feed providing users with all-in-one access. Users may also add RSS feeds to be read within the app. Entertaining for the curious user; informative for those wanting quick country facts, Smart Traveler isn’t just for travellers.

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