As accountants, when we think of government apps, our minds frequently point to the IRS and state revenue agency apps. But there is so much more. I had fun this month exploring apps our government has to offer and was surprised at how much our government agencies are taking advantage of technology. Here‘s a sampling of what I found.
The Voice of America began as a shortwave network during World War II as part of the Office of War Information and continues today as a source of constant multimedia news and the official external broadcasting institution of the United States. Offered in 44 languages, the networks reach over 230 million people worldwide.
The Centers for Disease Control offer a number of games in the form of apps. You can learn about disease trivia with CED Health IQ, and even learn to achieve the level of Disease Detective while you get clues and solve for potential disease outbreaks with Solve the Outbreak. On a more serious health note, if you’re planning on traveling outside the country, you can use the CDC TravWell app to learn what vaccinations you need and get tips for healthy packing.
Soldiers use an app called Tactical Breather from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, but anyone can use this app to gain control over your heart rate, emotions, concentration, and other physiological and psychological reactions to stress. Reviews describe the app as “a life saver” and in-app tutorials help you learn the benefits and techniques of tactical breathing.
If someday you would like to be a Mars traveler, or even an armchair astronaut, check out NASA Be a Martian app from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and you can see images from our spacecraft, learn about all active missions, get the latest news, and even ask questions.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory also created Earth-Now which lets you see real-time climate data from the satellites circling our planet. View updates on weather conditions, wildfires, sea level variations, ozone, hurricane information – it’s mesmerizing if you’re a weather junkie.
Have you ever visited the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC? If you have, you know how vast the collections are. If you haven’t, you’re in for an even greater treat. If you are interested in North and South American history, download the Smithsonian’s Infinity of Nations app and you can explore collections in the National Museum of the American Indian.
Accountants should love the U.S. General Service Administrations Per Diem for Continental U.S. app which gives you the current per diem rates for city, state, and zip code regions throughout the United States and its territories.
Here additional health-related apps. If you’re pregnant or think you might be or know someone who is, you can turn to Embryo from the National Library of Medicine. This app provides you with a pregnancy calculator, imagery of early states of embryo development, and educational videos showing human fertilization. Another app, quitSTART, from the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute is designed to help teens and adults quit smoking by providing tracking and support, rewards for smokefree milestones, encouragement, alternatives to managing cravings, and the ability to share your progress through social media. My BMI Calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute calculates your Body Mass Index and then provides links to tips and risk factors that can help you be healthier.
Finally, travelers might want to turn to MyTSA from the Transportation Security Administration for security checkpoint wait times at various airports, tips for getting through security quickly, and lists of airlines and airports that support the TSA PreCheck system.