A new one-stop spot UGA app is launching April 15 in the Apple App Store, thanks to the work of a group of students and their collaboration with university staff.
The app, available to anyone using iPhone, iPad or iPod devices, will allow users to track campus buses, plan their meals at dining halls and catch the latest athletic scores, among other features.
The Student Government Association, working with the university’s central information technology department and coordinating with a number of other UGA units, planned and designed the new app to encompass several key services on campus.
“We always knew we couldn’t do it ourselves, so it was a strong collaboration with Enterprise Information Technology Services,” said Will Burgess, SGA president.
Unlike the existing app, which is aimed at prospective students in the admissions process, the new app includes functions that will benefit more people.
“It can help you get through your day on campus by finding a bus or learning which dining halls are busy,” Burgess said. “Then, once you graduate, it can help you keep in touch with the university.”
About a year ago, a group of SGA students decided it was time to offer an app for the university that featured more functionality. But, the students didn’t know who could provide the technical work on the app or how to pay for it.
For help, they turned to the staff at EITS.
“They gave us full reign of content decisions on the app,” said Brittany Robertson, a senior graphic design student from St. Louis, who worked on the project. “They also gave me full reign of visual designs, and they helped make that a reality.”
SGA members first asked their fellow students what they wanted in an app. Those comments led to some of the features in the app and plans for future versions.
EITS helped earmark funds from the student technology fee for the project.
Patrick Klibanoff, a junior from Norcross majoring in finance, international business and public relations, said the app represents the culmination of a lot of work that SGA is proud to offer the university community.
With the new app, users will be able search for campus buildings, find others on the UGA People Search directory, learn about majors offered at UGA, call Designated Dawgs and customize their campus locations and calendar.
One of the most anticipated functions of the UGA app is the campus bus tracker-a feature coordinated through Campus Transit that allows users to pinpoint the next arrival time of buses by routes to their location, based on GPS.
Using a third-party vendor, Route Shout, Campus Transit installed a GPS tablet on all of its 56 buses for tracking.
The new app also integrates features from an existing Food Services app that allows users to track real-time capacity of dining halls and build their own virtual plate with nutritional information at their fingertips.
In addition to the new features in the app, future functions also are in the works-such as the ability to check grades or register for classes.
Future versions of the UGA app will include Desire2Learn, a learning management system that will replace Blackboard Vista in early 2014 as the university’s eLearning Commons. It will also include Banner, a student information system that will replace OASIS for course registration.
Dave Crouch, director of the EITS Web and Mobile Technology group, said the app has been a unique opportunity for collaboration among multiple groups on campus.
“It’s been great to see this app come to UGA,” he said, “but also to see what we can do if we all work together.”