Thursday, March 5, 2015

New ExploreCentral App

This quarter my Museum Studies students and  I have been partnering with a group of Computer Science seniors to create a mobile app, called “ExploreCentral” that will allow smart phone users to access material on art and other sites of historical and environmental interest on campus and in town. In contrast to the mobile phone tours we’ve done in the past, which only consist of audio material, the new app, embedded in a GoogleMaps environment, will allow people to call up text, audio, still images and videos. We are hoping the app will drive traffic to the Museum of Culture and Environment and will in turn encourage Museum visitors to explore the campus and the wider community.

Users will be able to select for a menu of categories, such as:
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • History
  • Mysteries
  • Nature
  • Social Services
  • Sports
Initially at least, the app will open with a GoogleMap centered on Ellensburg, WA with different colored pins indicating “points of interest.”  The user can filter all these points of interest, by selecting a category, such as “Architecture” and the map on their smart phone screen will display pins for all relevant locations in the immediate vicinity; I believe there will also be an indication how many meters the user is from each attraction.

At this point, the app only works on smart phones running the Android operating system, and will shortly be available through the Google Play Store at

It  is our hope that we will in time be able to run an IOS version of the app on iPhones  (this will involve some expense for a licensing fee, I gather.)

Following suggestions from students in my class, my grad student Nicolas has created a Facebook public page, “CWU’s Explore Central,” at
 so that users can easily share feedback on the app, and post helpful content (including commentary and images) that we might add to the app over time.

The plan is the app will be available  in beta form by March 13 (we have been loading content in advance of this); we’re eager to “test” it with students and community members in the coming weeks.  So please stay tuned!

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