UM Students Create iPhone App For Campus Info

When will the bus be here? What’s for dinner at East Quad? Where is Stamps Auditorium? Through a new University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus iPhone app, you can now have answers to these kinds of questions right in your pocket or purse.

The app, called University of Michigan in the iTunes store, is available free. It allows users to track buses in real time through the popular Magic Bus web application, check dining hall menus and search for buildings, among other features.

“Mobile applications are resulting in a fundamental shift in how people experience computing,” said Laura Patterson, UM associate vice president and chief information officer. “The low cost and fast adoption of smart phones makes it essential to have our university services accessible on mobile devices. The Michigan iPhone app is the first step.”

The app also enables users to:

  • Read university, student and alumni publications including the University Record, the Michigan Daily and Michigan Today
  • See the day’s events
  • Connect to iTunes U
  • Hear the fight song by clicking on the app title

Conceived of by Computer Science and Engineering students Kevin Chan and Mark Yang as “iWolverine,” the initial app was a project for Elliot Soloway’s Mobile and Web App Programming course in winter 2009. Soloway is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Information, and the School of Education.

The students, now graduates with jobs at Qualcomm in San Diego, turned to their pet peeves for some of the features. They found themselves wondering what was being served at various dining halls while they were out and about. So they included the menus.

What is now the building search on the Michigan app started out as an abbreviation directory in iWolverine.

“Everyone struggled with figuring out the abbreviations and the locations for buildings at the beginning of the new semester,” Yang said.

Information and Technology Services purchased iWolverine in March.

“Mark and Kevin had an excellent start on a general U-M app with iWolverine. Their app allowed us to jump start our development,” said Cassandra Carson, mobile applications product manager.

ITS is exploring the development of an Android version of the Michigan app. It is also developing other apps for the Michigan community. Officials expect three called Mfile, Mprint and SSO to be available later this summer. Mfile will allow users to download files from their U-M Institutional File Service home directory to an iPhone. Users can print to a campus printer from Mprint. SSO is a Cosign Single Sign-On authentication app for developers.

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About Mobile Monday - Michigan

Mobile Monday is a global community started in Finland almost a decade ago with over 60 chapters worldwide. The organization works with local and global mobile industry visionaries and developers fostering cooperation and cross-company business development through virtual and live networking events to facilitate idea sharing, best practices development, trends identification, and Mobile Industry growth locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. All Mobile Monday Chapters encourage innovation within the mobile sector and help local companies participate in mobile initiatives through the import and export of visions, concepts, technologies, know-how and best practices. By continuing to present innovative visions, trends, studies and forecasts from the mobile marketplace we facilitate and create partnerships, while contributing to the education of the broader public through publications and an online presence. The Michigan Chapter will execute on these objectives, by delivering a balanced approach of business and technical content. We will look to the Michigan business community for this content, as well as beyond our state in order to make certain the Michigan community is made aware of developments taking place outside our area that can aid their business. We also look to the Michigan community to step up and tell us what we can do to help your business. Submit ideas on content you would like to see presented at Mobile Monday meetings that you believe will be of benefit. We look forward to seeing you there! And Smile. It’s Monday!
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One Response to UM Students Create iPhone App For Campus Info

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