Ball State senior software engineer major Kyle Parker and partner Mark Caravello created the Traveler app to help aid students with their study abroad travels. The app saves photos, audio and sketches as the traveler goes along his or her trip. Google Play // Photo Courtesy
App created by Ball State alumnus reaches global audience
In 2012, an app was created that followed students abroad and helped in their travels by saving photos, audio and sketches along their journey.
Kyle Parker, a Ball State alumnus and now the Senior Software Engineer, created the app, called the Traveler, with the help of his partner, Mark Caravello.
Their aim was to aid students at the university with their study abroad travels.
The app saves media according to the user's location. The app made its first debut in 2012 when the College of Architecture and Planning department (CAP) traveled to Chicago. The students were able to track what they saw and carry that back to campus, making it easier to transfer work from the field to the classroom.
The app is not only used for CAP students. It has been used for World Tour, family and consumer sciences, journalism and the Honors College.
"They were our big user base and had a measurable impact on what was added," Parker said.
Parker, using connections with Samsung, presented it in a conference with hopes simply to improve the app for students. Instead, it became much larger than that.
"It just so happened that it got picked up and it just kept going," he said.
The app spread around the world, generating 100,000 downloads. It was picked up by Google and Samsung and has been used in six continents, excluding only Antarctica. The app is currently only available on Android.
The Traveler has been mentioned on well-known blogs such as Lonely Planet, and was runner up in a Google Fitness app challenge. The Traveler has been submitted to several other challenges as well. It was Staff Pick on Google three times in 2013.
Parker got the idea while on his honeymoon in Italy with his wife. When he went, they took hundreds of photos. Months later, he could not tell the difference in the places.
He wanted to give something to the students to use their work both in and out of the classroom. The students’ needs for the app were what Parker and his business partner focused on when fine tuning the app's features.
"If they needed something that was a priority over someone in the outside world," Parker said.
Parker is also the creator of the BConnected app that provides students with tools such as looking up their schedule, connecting with classmates, and checking grades.
His job here is his main focus, and commercializing the app is just a side venture for him. He works with all the disciplines here at Ball State to create ways to help exhibit their work or better education on campus.
“I am very grateful and very happy to have the opportunities that I have here and to make the connections that I have,” Parker said.
He hopes to take the Traveler and spread it to other international programs or universities to give others the opportunities that Ball State students have.