Location, location, location — and we don't mean real estate. California has its own Office of Geographic Information Systems that has recently launched a handy app for citizens to reach their elected representatives.
"Find Your California Representative" Web app lets residents quickly find both state assemblymen and senators by entering their address, city and ZIP code. The resulting map includes links to representatives' websites.
Instead of designing separate apps for iPhone, Android and those that prefer to use their browsers — both mobile and desktop — the agency designed a Web app. This approach means programmers won't be plagued with adjusting the app as new phones are released with different screen sizes and as operating systems are updated. Instead of downloading an app, users can access it through browsers. Read more: Common App Glitches and How to Avoid Them.
“Everything that we’re building is really going to have a slant toward the Web because we know that with the proliferation of smartphones, mobile devices [and] tablets — that’s the next computing paradigm,” Scott Gregory, the state’s geographic information officer, said in a statement.
The legislator app is just the beginning of a statewide effort to include geographic mapping into many government services. Gregory held a Google Hangout last November to outline the state's plans for a Geoportal, a site where the public can access government data by location, which now includes broadband coverage, earthquake faults and health care facilities.
Gregory said that his agency can provide a visual location-based view of data that helps expose trends and patterns not otherwise available. For instance, data could tell developers how many people live within a flood-plain boundary, or what vegetation is likeliest to provide fuel to wildfires .
As for apps, more are in development, Gregory said, but the agency has not yet released details. California residents can visit Find Your California Representatives here.