Gov 2.0 Hero: Rob Rhyne

Rob Rhyne

On September 8 at the Gov 2.0 Expo, Rob Rhyne will present “Invisible City” as part of the Government as a Provider section.

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

I’ve worked in Knowledge Management as a designer and developer 8 years for a government contractor. I’ve redesigned numerous systems, increasing user buy-in simply by increasing the feedback loop for the design and construction of those applications. It became obvious that user trust was directly linked to their understanding and control of the application.

Specifically to Gov 2.0, I’ve developed a concept I call Invisible City (no relation to Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”) that is a vision for an Augmented Reality that utilizes data services provided by a local municipality in a mobile application. It’s a natural combination of current mobile technology with a government that opens the doors to its data storage and collection procedures. I see the government becoming a data platform that provides application developers a rich set of information and information collection resources to facilitate citizen interaction with government.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?

All the areas that rely on accurate and current reporting from its citizens. Specifically: Census, Internal Revenue, Transportation and Law Enforcement. All of these government entities provide better services when they have more up-to-date information. The challenge for citizens is knowing when, where and how to update this information. Finding a way to integrate this information into the day-to-day activities of average citizens is the biggest opportunity I see for improvement by traditional Web 2.0 tools.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

As I mentioned before, I think the basis for this killer app lies in a service platform that provides comprehensive access (as well as input) to data collected by the government. The killer apps will come from application developers that use this platform to make our lives easier.

If a concrete example is what you desire, I think no greater one exists than the mythical Electronic Health Record. The government should provide a platform for citizens and their doctors to input, extend and disseminate their health history to interested parties. The government would provide security, validation and trust to the electronic record. All while the citizen controls what information and how detailed a communication of information is made.

The use of applications built upon this platform, along with the contributed cost savings to the medical community would drive insane interest in the application of Gov 2.0 principles towards other parts of government.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

The potential to extend democracy and the interaction with government down to the individual citizen.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

1 Response

  1. Anonymous

    I would really like to see any data on costs to open up transit data and what the major cost components are to take data into Gtfs? This may help with the business case on the cost side to justify investment for smaller muni’s.

    Pls tweet me up at @Nik_G if you can share some data with me for a local initiative



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