The GVSU Mobile Applications and Services Lab (MASL) is pleased to announce the availability of GVSU Laker Mobile – an iPhone application that puts all things GVSU right into your pocket! This project was originally conceived in a brainstorming session during Fall semester involving Prof. Jonathan Engelsma and a group of his students. We decided that this would be a great way to learn the iPhone and Android mobile platforms and at the same time provide something useful to the GVSU community. The application is free and provides access to the campus directory, interactive maps, a campus zeitgeist via real-time tweets, campus webcams, campus videos, photos, news, etc.

The project quickly grew beyond the confines of our lab in the School of Computing and became sort of a GVSU community effort. We realized early on that while we could write and debug code; we weren’t as skilled at designing other important parts of a mobile application, such as the icons, artwork, etc. In light of this, we reached out to Prof. Chitra Gopalakrishnan in the GVSU Dept. of Art and Design and soon help was on the way. Early on, we also felt that integrating the “people finder” service available on the university website would be a “killer feature” for a campus mobile app. This became a reality when Ben Rapin and his team in GVSU Institutional Marketing got involved and helped us integrate with the directory service.

One obvious question you might have is will the application become available on other mobile platforms? We do have an Android version in the works, and hope to have that available on the Android Market as soon as possible. These two implementations cover the largest mobile application ecosystems in existence today and make the application widely available on a significant proportion of application/data capable mobile handsets in use at the present time. That and the fact that this is a volunteer student project means we don’t have plans to support Blackberry or Windows Mobile in the near future.

While this was a team project and involved a number of people, there are several students who went way beyond the call of duty and made significant contributions to the project. Greg Zavitz and Alejo Montoya (students in the GVSU School of Computing) were largely responsible for writing the final iPhone version of the app that eventually launched. Gina Caratelli (student in the Dept. of Art and Design) along with her faculty mentor (Prof. Gopolakrishnan) designed the gorgeous set of custom tab bar icons as well as the app’s information screen. Thanks and congrats to all of you, the rest of the MASL team who were involved in various ways, our beta testers, and everybody else who offered us feedback/suggestions along the way.

Now the that the application is out there, we are really looking forward to hearing from our users! Please add your comments below and/or on the App Store. Thanks in advance!