This link was sent to me by Joel Myhre (thanks)!
I think this is indicative of where we are going as data providers – not just providing downloads (like our GIS Data Portal) but providing data as a service so developers don’t need to build the platforms to access the data in applications. ESRI is doing this with their ArcGIS Online, but we’ll see how well that works.
See the quote from the article below.
In the long run, Buckner said, he wants the bureau to be a source for mobile data, not an app builder.
“We can’t be in the business of developing mobile apps forever,” he said. “That’s not in the government’s interest. The creativity about the way people want to use our data is outside government, not inside. So we want to expose core things that show the range of things you can do with our data.”