Frederick government app offered

Posted: January 9, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Information on government services in Frederick County can be accessed more easily now that the locality has made available an application that works with computers, smartphones and tablet devices.

My Government Services is an app that can help users find everything from post offices and government buildings to county parks and recycling centers, according to Andrew Farrar, a county geographic information system (GIS) technician who worked on the app.

He believes that Frederick is the first county in the region to provide such an app and that the locality could put out additional ones in the future.

The free app is “basically designed to give people a general idea of what the government provides around them and near them,” Farrar said Tuesday.

Patrick Fly, the county’s GIS manager, said that — with the increasing use of mobile electronic devices — an app is more helpful than a traditional website for helping residents learn about local services.

“The point behind doing the application was to provide more information to citizens, to help them realize what services there are, [what services are] available around them and find the services closest to them,” Fly said.

It took county staff, working with Frederick County’s GIS software vendor ESRI, about three months to finish work on the app. The only cost to the county was staff time, and no extra expenses were incurred, Fly said.

Future versions of the app could include ways to locate county schools and other government services, Fly added.

My Government Services is available by going online at gis2.co.frederick.va.us/MyGovernmentServices_Fall2012/. The county’s GIS department can be contacted at 540-665-5614.

Fly said that while the service functions more like a traditional website than a downloadable app, it can be accessed freely using any Internet browser.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com