15 February 2012
Monash University students and staff now have access to one of the most advanced smartphone applications offered by a university.
What started as one student’s pet project has developed into a full-scale iPhone app that features building locations, unit entries from the official University Handbook, events, shuttle bus timetables, the staff directory and the latest University news.
During his last year of his degree, Computer Science graduand James Eunson created an application that would allow him to more easily access information on his timetables and the location of lecture rooms.
“From there, I shared it with my friends and they made further suggestions on what information it could provide. I was really excited about the possibilities but was limited by the format some of the information was in,” Mr Eunson said.
During this time, the University became aware of the work Mr Eunson had been doing and, with the encouragement from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Adam Shoemaker and crucial support from Mike Scott from the University’s Facilities and Services Division, explored ways to create an app that would benefit all students at Monash.
Mr Scott said one of the greatest challenges in creating the app was integrating the University’s detailed mapping data with Google Maps.
“James has had to come up with some ground-breaking coding to overlay the mapping information Facilities and Services Division had,” Mr Scott said.
“We have been able to utilise emerging technologies to create a new style of mapping during development - based on our previous Google maps work - which has enabled the map component of the app to load significantly faster and contain more detail than previously available, while containing multiple levels of interactive information not seen before.
“The app has been designed so the user can locate themselves on a campus, then track their movement using their device, towards their destination identified on the map,” Mr Scott said.
With mapping of all Australian campuses complete, Facilities and Services is looking forward to developing the same level of information for Monash University’s campuses in Malaysia, South Africa and Prato. Additional features including student timetables are in development and access to the Library catalogue is being considered for future releases.
The Monash University app can be downloaded for free from the Apple app store.
An Android version is currently in development.