Mobile application simplifies campus navigation

By: Adrian Suarez Avila/ News Director

Working on campus, Jenyer Paez often finds it difficult to give directions to people navigating throughout campus.

“Since I work here on campus I have a lot of people ask me how to find certain buildings [and] certain departments, and it’s not always easy to give them directions,” Paez said.

Luckily for the senior English major, a solution is available in the tip of his fingers.

Campus Maps, a mobile application launched in summer 2012 by Vikram Bhandari, has recently added Florida International University to its server.

However, although the application features a map of the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, it doesn’t provide one for the Biscayne Bay Campus.

The application, which features campus maps for over 85 colleges and universities in the country, allows users to get directions from one point on the selected campus to another.

According to Bhandari, the idea for the application was sparked from his personal frustration with trying to find his way throughout the University of Maryland College Park campus.

Although his class schedule only provided a three-letter acronym for the building in which the class would be held, the campus map provided by the school featured the building’s full name, a mismatch that Bhandari found to be inefficient.

He then set to work on the application, which he hoped would make the process of finding a building more streamlined.

“I’d be happy if [the application] got ten downloads,” Bhandari said.

He initially created the application specifically for UMD College Park.

The application achieved around 1500 downloads during its first year, a number that tripled during the following year.

For some students, being on time is critical.

“Time is of the essence, and students are moving around,” Paez said. “We have a schedule to keep up with and [Campus Maps] is gonna save us time, and I think that’s the most important element.”

According to Bhandari, the most common feedback from students is, “Wow, you’ve saved my life.”

After the application’s success with the UMD College Park community, Bhandari decided to expand to the University of Virginia and University of Pennsylvania, gradually adding other college campuses as time progressed.

At the moment, Bhandari considers Blackboard as Campus Maps’ main competitor, along with Guidebook, a program that charges schools to have their campus maps featured on the server, according to Bhandari.

Unlike Guidebook, Campus Maps is offered to students for free on the iTunes and Android app stores.

According to Bhandari, what sets Campus Maps apart from other mobile applications is the quick speed at which it provides directions to users.

But why add FIU to the server?

Bhandari’s aim was to reach the hundred largest college and university campuses within the United States.

“I had students’ interests at heart [when creating the application,]” Bhandari said.

What sets Campus Maps apart from the map available on the FIU Mobile app is its ability to provide students actual directions from one building to another, while the FIU Mobile app just features a localizer and a compass that points students to the desired location.

Bhandari has other apps under construction.

Among them is Campus Jobs, which allows users to identity job openings available near their college campus.

Bhandari encourages feedback from students.

Those interested in providing suggestions or asking questions are welcome to contact him at Vikram@getcampusmaps.com or founder@getcampusmaps.com.

adrian.suarezavila@fiusm.com

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