New app provides GPS campus navigation

<p>Campus map is solely used for navigating through campus. It originally started in University of Maryland and has Ball State. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JACQUI SCHLBACH</p>

Campus map is solely used for navigating through campus. It originally started in University of Maryland and has Ball State. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JACQUI SCHLBACH

An app to help students find their way across campus recently became available at Ball State, giving students the option for a potentially faster navigation app.

Vikram Bhandari, a student from the University of Maryland, created Campus Maps to help find easy ways to get across campus using GPS technology. The app has spread to 100 university campuses and most recently to Ball State.

Currently, another Ball State app named BConnected gives access to a map of campus and shows bus locations, dining facilities and parking.

Campus Maps does not include those features and is solely for navigating on campus.

“It loads the map off screen, so while you’re finding your destination, it will take your GPS and load the area around you," Bhandari said. "There's a very good chance there’s no loading of the map, it will just happen."

Bhandari is most proud of the one-tap navigation and quick response time that he said is the most important aspect of the application.

Ball State did not request to be added to the list of universities to use the application; however, Campus Maps took the initiative to include Ball State.

Stuart Sipahigil, senior strategist for Enterprise User Engagement in the Information Technology department says the BConnected app is more robust than Campus Maps.

“If speed is the answer for you, [Campus Maps] may be a little bit faster, but I think it doesn’t give you as much information,” Sipahigil said. “So if you need more information, if you aren’t familiar with campus and you know the buildings, and you want a list of where to turn, I think people would prefer the in-house app.”

It takes an average seven seconds of load time getting to one point with one-tap navigation. However, with Campus Maps, the layout will automatically be shown on the screen, making it easier for those on the go, Bhandari said.

“I think a lot of students struggle with finding their way around especially when they’re freshman," said junior organizational communication major, Austin Acel. "This is a great resource for students to have and I hope the university continues programs like this that can improve student life."

Campus Maps is designed specifically for walking directions, as a majority of users are students. The map will automatically zoom in to the desired destination, drawing a colored path of where the user will need to walk.

“I just remember being lost, and I don’t want someone to go through that,” said Bhandari.

Campus Maps does not charge the schools it offers the service to. Big schools such as Pennsylvania State have approached Bhandari offering a deal, but he said he is not interested in making money at this point.

“I was just a guy building an app to find my classes,” Bhandari said.


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