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iPhone apps: Find your town's ASBOs, weather or MP's expenses claim

Public sector and political apps under the spotlight - from booze watching to playing armchair admiral
By Nick Heath, Contributor on
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1 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Public sector and political apps under the spotlight - from booze watching to playing armchair admiral

With the iPhone OS now the world's third most popular mobile platform, even the UK government is creating its own iPhone apps.

silicon.com has rounded up some of the apps to come out of the public sector along with others with a political bent - from an app that lets you check how anti-social your neighbourhood is to one that lets you find out how much your MP is claiming on expenses.

Shown above is the ASBOrometer, an app that displays the levels of reported anti-social behaviour at any location in England and Wales.

ASBOrometer can plot reports of anti-social behaviour on a map or a graph, as well as rating how serious a yob problem an area has by comparing the number of ASBOs issued to an area's total population.

The information is pulled from data collected by the UK government that is linked to by data.gov.uk, a Cabinet Office initiative that aims to link to all non-personal data held by government.

Photo credit: Apple

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2 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This Royal Navy app tasks would-be recruits with completing five games - each of which is "based on realistic Royal Navy training tasks".

The player assumes the role of the commander of a navy destroyer that urgently needs repairs.

Players must decide how to best protect the ship, choosing between options such as fixing the engine, preparing for a missile attack or rewiring the radar system.

After each challenge a video is played revealing the impact of their decisions in the mission. The app also includes a game that puts the player in charge of a submarine.

The app was produced to give younger people a taste of life as a Royal Navy engineer officer and to encourage more people to sign up.

Photo credit: Apple

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3 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This NHS Drinks Tracker app is aimed at those worried they are a bit too fond of an evening tipple.

The app allows people to work out how many alcoholic units there are in a glass of wine or a pint of beer and keep track of how much alcohol they have drunk over a set period.

It can also be used to get personalised feedback on drinking habits or to find local NHS clinics and advice centres.

The app was launched by public health minister Gillian Merron during the 2009 Christmas holidays to try and cut down on excessive drinking during the festive break.

Photo credit: Apple

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4 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This app from the Highways Agency gives motorists advance warning of heavy traffic and allows them to steer clear of traffic jams.

The Live Travel Info app provides updates of traffic flow on England's motorways and major A roads.

In the first few days after its launch more than 50,000 people installed the app, taking it to the top of the iPhone App Store travel chart.

The app pulls data from the Highways Agency's National Control Centre - which monitors traffic data using vehicle sensors buried in the road, CCTV cameras and reports from its own patrols.

Photo credit: Apple

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5 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

The Met Office weather app provides a weather forecast for the next five days.

Users can save a number of locations to get forecasts for that particular area, as well as accessing daily national and regional weather maps.

The app can also issue national severe weather alerts.

Photo credit: Apple

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6 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This app helps people who are new to an area find out where their nearest GP surgery is located.

The Find GPs app plots nearby surgeries on a map and lists the distance of each surgery from a chosen location.

Photo credit: Apple

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7 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Not a government app but a political app, the Conservative Party app is designed both to spread the party's message and gauge how the public will vote in the forthcoming General Election.

The app features a map of the UK that will change colour to reflect which political party has won the seat in the General Election.

It will also provide party activists with a reporting tool for relaying their friends' voting intentions back to the Conservative Party.

Other features include links through to the latest WebCameron videos and a guide to the Conservative policy.

Photo credit: Apple

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8 of 8 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Following last year's furore around MPs' expenses, this app allows users to scrutinise how much their local politician is claiming.

The MP Expenses app allows users to view individual MP's claims, or sort them by party or the highest claims.

Photo credit: Apple

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