We have heard many times about the role of mobile devices in rescuing people during natural disasters by following tweets, reading Facebook updates, looking at pictures on Flickr. We have also heard very often how crowdsourcing the solution to problems through idea or application contests can save money or improve quality of government services or operations.
But the example of the San Ramon Valley, Calif., Fire Protection District, is different. As reported by Government Computer News, they developed a free iPhone application that
notifies people who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if someone nearby might require the lifesaving technique. The app can direct responders, via Global Positioning System signals, to the closest publicly available Automated External Defibrillator. […] Alerts are sent out by 911 dispatchers via a computer-aided system, which notifies first responders as well as those signed up to receive CPR alerts via their iPhone or iPad.
This is a great way of blending crowdsourcing, resource location, and mobility. This can help save lives and reduce costs. And a great example that you do not have to wait for third parties and passionate developers to develop an AppFor(NameYourJurisdiction) based on open data: good idea can and do come from government too.
A longer description is available on O’Reilly Radar’s blog, where it is dubbed as an example of government as a platform. Maybe, but I’d rather say that citizens are the platform, and government is building an application using that platform.