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UW’s official iPhone app – a free, useful campus resource

Mobile UW, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s official iPhone app, is now available for free download from the Apple App Store.

The app contains eight key tools designed to put information and resources at the fingertips of busy students, faculty and staff. It functions on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. An Android version is expected to follow in early 2011.

The app covers the basics of campus life for users on the go. Stay up to date on news, events and sports and find your way around campus on foot, by car or by Madison Metro bus. A directory function provides quick information about faculty and staff. Video content about research, teaching and student life is also available.

The app is a new way to serve a fast-growing segment of the campus population. As of spring 2010, 45 percent of students and 36 percent of faculty and staff reported using a “handheld web device,” such as a smart phone, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, iPad or other device.

“Ownership and use of smart phones is growing exponentially on campus,” says Brad Leege, lead developer of the app for the Division of Information Technology’s Academic Technology Group. “It’s our goal to put essential campus information in a format that is easily accessible to the iPhone and other devices.”

The app was jointly developed by staff at DoIT and University Communications.

More information and demo videos are available at mobile.wisc.edu/.

The app’s features are:

  • Campus map: A map function is available to help users navigate campus. View all locations of a type, such as libraries, parking (campus and public) and visitor attractions. Or see detailed information about a location, including walking and driving directions from your current location (requires GPS functionality). For buildings, find a list of departments and offices located within or find your way to the office of a person in the campus directory.
  • Campus buses: Partnering with Madison Metro, members of the campus community and residents of Madison can find route and schedule information on the go. Find stops near your current location (requires GPS functionality) or by bus stop number and see when buses are scheduled to arrive at a specific stop (real-time bus locations are not available yet). You can also view bus routes and stops by route number.
  • Directory: Look up campus directory information on your phone. Search for a person by first or last name and save that person’s contact information in your iPhone’s contacts app. You can call, e-mail or view a map of that person’s office location.
  • News: Stay up to date with campus news while on the go. Read features, news for students, news for employees or news by topics such as research, learning or student life.
  • Events: Look up events by category, date or map location. For example, see what’s happening near you by viewing the day’s events highlighted on the campus map. Get the details for any event, as well as walking or driving directions from your current location (requires GPS functionality).
  • Athletics: Stay up to date with the latest news and results from UWBadgers.com. View news and blog updates, team schedules and scores and video features.
  • Video: The video application delivers campus YouTube content to your iPhone. Featured videos include Big Ten Network academic programming, teaching and learning stories, and research profiles and projects.
  • Campus safety: Safety and emergency contact information has been collected in one place, along with numbers for SAFEWalk, SAFERide cab and SAFEride bus programs; UW Police (non-emergency); University Health Services Crisis Line; and the Division of Student Life.

The Mobile UW initiative is a joint project of the offices of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Vice Chancellor for University Relations. A team made up of representatives from the CIO office, the Division of Information Technology, the Office of the Registrar, University Communications and UW Libraries has been providing leadership and overall strategy for the initiative.

Mobile UW is just the starting point for what is expected to be a longer-term venture into mobile applications designed to serve the campus community.

In addition to the Android version, the team is hopeful that students, faculty and staff will benefit from collaboration and access to open-data services to begin to create their own apps, tailored to their own needs and interests. Some of the future apps could eventually live in a campus app space and become widely accessible to the entire community.

Visit mobile.wisc.edu for complete details about Mobile UW along with information for developers.

The initiative is interested in feedback and ideas for future mobile apps and websites on campus via e-mail at mobileuwfeedback@lists.wisc.edu.

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