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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PITT-BRADFORD STUDENTS UNVEIL TRAIL APP AND WEBSITE

PITT-BRADFORD STUDENTS UNVEIL TRAIL APP AND WEBSITE

Tonight students from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will unveil a new interactive website and phone application they have developed for the Potato Creek Trail in Smethport in conjunction with the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau.

The unveiling will take place at 7 p.m. in the Hamlin Memorial Library in Smethport.

The app will allow visitors to the Potato Creek Trail to learn more about sites along the way, including insects, flowers, trees or historical sites such as homes in the Mansion District.

The project has been a collaboration of three different disciplines at Pitt-Bradford. Students in computer information systems and technology instructor Jeremy Callinan’s Android Programming class constructed the web site, databases and programming for the application. Students of Dr. William Schumann III, assistant professor of anthropology, provided the information about sites found in the application, and students of Dr. Reece Wilson, assistant professor of education, have created lesson plans designed around the app for use in Smethport schools.

Students from all three groups took part in mapping the area with hand-held GPS devices in September, spending a full day to survey different portions of the trail.

“For the students, the best part of it was going out and having people from three different majors get together and work on a project,” Callinan said.

Having to work with other disciplines made the project much more like the business world, he said, and students knew that this project had to get done because people want to use it.

Another advantage for students is having a project they’ve worked on that employers can see. “Coming out of school and having something you’ve worked on that interviewers can download and look at is a big benefit to them,” he said.

In order to create the site and app in a semester, Callinan and Steven Trumbull, a computer information systems and technology student from Bradford, began working on the basic structure last summer, setting up a database and creating icons.

Callinan said that now that the structure is in place, Schumann’s applied anthropology students can continue to work on the site and app to add information about other trails.

After tonight’s debut, the web site and application will still require a few more tweaks before going live in a few weeks.

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