Computer science students create campus map application
A group of students have begun building a Brandeis-specific navigation app as part of their Justice Brandeis Semester, Voice, Mobile and Web App Development. They predict the app, called “Discover Deis,” will be completed by the end of the semester.
Unlike other navigation apps, Discover Deis will include mapping within buildings and across shortcuts on campus.
Jessica Huynh ’16, Tianjie Zhong MA and Ziyu Qiu ’18—the students behind the app—hope that it will help visitors and incoming first-years who are still learning the campus.
Huynh elaborated in an interview with the Justice that while “Google maps does have some of the buildings on campus,” it doesn’t “do routing inside buildings, and it won’t tell you about, like, the path in the woods beside Heller and the chapels.”
“There’s just a lot of little things that if you don’t go to Brandeis, you don’t know about, but are like really helpful shortcuts that our app aims to have and other apps can’t have,” she added.
The course, taught by Prof. Tim Hickey (COSI), concluded with several final mobile apps being developed by students.
These included an app for playing chess exclusively with your voice, a voice-based personal training app and a geolocator-based social media app. The course ran from June 1 to July 31, meeting five days a week, according to the course’s webpage.
In an interview with the Justice, Huynh said, “Our app started its life as a tour app for campus, and I think we realized that people aren’t really going to use a tour app, you know, and it’s mostly the same logic if you’re doing a tour app versus a navigation app, so we just decided that a navigation app was the way to go.”
Currently, the app includes “data points” across campus and routing through south campus and much of the science complex, as well as East quad, according to Huynh.
Due to time constrictions in the course, the team was unable to completely map the campus in their app.
However, Huynh plans on “finishing up and polishing our app and putting it out on all of the app stores.”
“We have most of them [the locations] but we just haven’t connected them,” Qiu added in an interview with the Justice.
For those locations that are connected, the app functions well, according to Huynh.
She hopes to complete the app during an independent study with several of the other students who were part of the JBS, including those outside of the initial Discover Deis group.
Because Hickey is going on leave in the spring semester according to Huynh, the group hopes to complete the app by the end of the fall semester. “It’s definitely doable,” said Huynh.
“We just need to keep working on it, and we still want to add some other features on to it,” noted Qiu.
—Abby Patkin contributed reporting