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My application, named Bear Locater, is an application similar to Google Maps personalized for UC Berkeley. It will give in-depth, clear directions from any of the various buildings on campus to any of the other buildings on campus. The idea for this application came from the fact that while it is very easy to travel to the UC Berkeley campus and to find directions to do so, it is very difficult to navigate the campus itself if you are not familiar with it.

Target User Group

The target user group for this application are any individuals who are required to move from building to building on the campus of UC Berkeley who are not familiar with the campus. In particular, freshmen students who are just entering UC Berkeley would have the characteristics of a typical user. This is because these students are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the campus as well as the most efficient routes to move from one point on campus to another. They are also probably in a time crunch and will not know about the various transportation options that are available for traveling around campus. With an average of 4000 freshmen a year, this target user group is already extremely large, but other possible users would be visitors to the campus such as parents, international students, and visiting professors as well as more experienced students looking to optimize their travel routes around campus.

Problem Description

As interesting and lively the UC Berkeley campus is, there is no denying that it is also extremely confusing and frustrating to navigate. While finding the larger and more obvious buildings on campus is no problem at all, it is extremely difficult for even the most experienced of Cal students to find the smaller, tucked away buildings on campus. The crux of the problem also lies in the fact that most directions to various events such as classes and club meetings are given with names of buildings rather their locations. An individual might know the building by sight and description, but might not be able to recognize the seldom used name. The goal of this application is to solve this problem by providing a method of identifying the locations of buildings as well as clear and concise routes on how to go to specific buildings.

Problem Context and Forces

Imagine being scared and surrounded by many strange buildings with no idea of which way to go. Your only hope is this crumpled up piece of paper containing a map that you can barely read. How are you ever going to make it to your first class in college on time? This is not an unlikely or even abnormal description of a freshman at UC Berkeley's first day. While students do carry around maps of the campus, those maps are limited by paper's physical capabilities. A truly smart freshman would pull out his iPhone and find the application that allows him to navigate the huge campus of Cal with ease. The application contains a map that can be manipulated to either show a larger, holistic view of the campus or detailed paths on a concentrated portion. Time will be of an issue during the usage of the application so it is important that the user be able to quickly pinpoint a building he sees and enter in his destination. A text box appears with highlighting which paths he should take as well as convenient buildings that serve as landmarks to ensure that the student is on the correct path. Since it is very likely that the user will be nervous and frustrated with not being able to locate their destination, the directions must be clear and to the point. They also must lead the user to the correct destination in shortest possible route. To further facilitate the freshman, the map shows pictures of the buildings when particular buildings are selected. Before the freshman can blink, he arrives at his destination and takes his first steps to getting a college diploma.

Solution Sketch

The process that a user would go through in order to find the route would be: 1. Click on the application 2. Enter in their current location and confirm this choice from a list of locations. 3. Enter in their destination and confirm this choice from a list of locations. 4. Follow the directions that appear on the screen, accessing the map if necessary.

Image:homescreen.jpg Image:enter_directions.jpg Image:final_screen.jpg

Swapnil Ralhan - Jan 27, 2010 09:39:08 pm

I think an amazing addition would be directions INSIDE buildings. I remember inside Dwinelle this one girl spent about 20 mins trying to find the right room. This would not only make your app more useful, but would increase the target group, as even seniors do not know the inside layouts of all buildings. Though a difficult aspect would be incorporating existing blueprints of buildings to the normal Google map.

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