This is one in a regular series on the latest innovation in mobile apps and mobile technology in the federal government.

With secure mobile technology for federal workers and innovative citizens services via mobile devices, the Environmental Protection Agency aims to increase its public profile and incorporate mobile applications into daily operations.

“We are currently piloting tablets across a diverse user base, including workers in the field,” EPA Chief Information Officer Malcolm Jackson said. “The tablet pilot will allow the EPA to gain experience in using tablets while protecting Agency information assets, increase productivity, and assist in meeting Administration Executive Orders to reduce costs.”

The tablets will allow data to move with EPA’s mobile workforce. And the agency’s Mobile Apps Directive called on agency workers to ensure that new applications are developed “smartly” for both web and mobile device use, as well as making sure that new records-management tools work just as well on mobile devices as they do on desktop computers.

The EPA is also working to make more of its data publicly available and accessible in a variety of formats. The agency has instituted a Developer Central program to provide agency data to web developers, so that they can incorporate the data into apps such as the Energy Star Rebate Finder, Fuel Economy Finder and My Environment.

As part of this effort, EPA’s Developer Central provides environmental data in formats popular among developers, along with code samples and other resources that may lower the barriers to developing apps using EPA data.

Also as a part of the Developer Central program, the EPA announced the winners of its “Apps for the Environment Challenge” late last year. First place was “Light Bulb Finder” by Adam Borut and Andrea Nyund of the EcoHatchery company in Milwaukee, Wis. The app helps consumers select the correct energy saving light bulb.

The challenge produced 38 mobile apps for public use, incuding “Hootroot,” a travel app that allows travelers to find the most energy efficient way to get from here to there, and EarthFriend an environmentally-themed game-playing app (see video above).

According to the EPA’s website, the contest demonstrated that federal data can be useful to the public if it is presented in a smart, friendly, and enticing way.

“It shows that federal agencies can successfully engage developers and other stakeholders to leverage their data assets. EPA hopes to grow from this challenge and help others use their data for the public good. If we can help others tap into the creativity of our citizens, lasting benefits can be shared by all,” the website said.