Georgia Tech Launches Student-Designed iPhone App

Students, faculty and alumni with an iPhone can now find the precise arrival time for a Tech Trolley, reserve a library book and even plan a meal down to a nutritional nugget with a quick swipe of their thumb.

iPhone app
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In addition to viewing maps, news and video, users can reserve library books, see where the campus shuttle is and buy tickets to games with the app. They can also use the Usable Health feature to plan their next meal.

Following months of development, Georgia Tech’s Communication and Marketing department is pleased to announce the arrival of Georgia Tech’s official iPhone and iPod Touch application, a tool which aims to enhance the campus experience with function and style while providing a showcase for dynamic student research and design.

“Georgia Tech’s new iPhone app is a communications tool that puts many of our everyday resources in the palm of your hand,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson.  “Users will be able to do everything from getting personalized healthy dining recommendations to knowing in real time when the next Tech Trolley will arrive.  It was designed by a Tech student working with our Communications and Marketing team, and is a reflection of our Institute’s innovative environment.”

The app can be downloaded directly from the iTunes App Store or by going to www.gatech.edu/iphone .  Plans are currently underway to develop a similar app for the Android mobile operating system.

Designed with function as a primary tenet, the many services accessible through the app include:

  • An interactive campus map that utilizes Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to identify specific campus buildings by location and visuals.
  • A NextBus trolley schedule that pinpoints bus arrivals to the minute and by location.
  • Direct access to the campus library catalog that allows users to search for and reserve books and determine available computers.
  • Calendar and news feeds from Georgia Tech’s newsroom.
  • Phone listings for campus and emergency services.
  • Usable Health, a student-designed function that allows users to access menus at campus and local dining establishments and plan meals using specific nutritional guidelines.
  • An electronic version of the Technique.
  • Videos on Georgia Tech’s YouTube channel.
  • Links to directly purchase tickets to athletic events.

The app was envisioned as a venue to exhibit the talented work of students, with the Usable Health utility a testament to this goal. But the app itself was made possible thanks to the talents of one enterprising undergrad.

Noah Witherspoon, who will be entering his senior year as a computational media undergraduate at Georgia Tech this fall, worked directly with Communications and Marketing to design, develop and refine the application. Employing a student viewpoint during this process helped ensure the app would offer abilities with appeal and relevance.

“I think that as a student I could get a better idea of what people wanted out of it,” Witherspoon said. “Working on the app as a student here meant I already knew people who I could talk to for ideas. I think that resulted in the app being pretty well rounded. If you’re on Tech’s campus, you’ll find something useful in it.”

The app endured a rigorous testing process and was vetted by a group of students from various campus disciplines before being finalized for download.

But the app is far from a tool exclusive to students. Faculty, employees, alumni and campus visitors can all utilize the apps myriad capacities, whether it’s listening to WREK radio, adding cash to a Buzzcard account or viewing maps to locate the most convenient parking.

As the app is downloaded onto iPhones and iPod Touches across campus, Communication and Marketing is seeking feedback from users. Whether it’s suggesting a new function or highlighting ways to refine an existing one, users can send their input by emailing app@comm.gatech.edu. Students who would like to have their application included in future versions are also encouraged to share details about their research at the same address.