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DukeMobile adds DukeCard access

Need to know on-the-go exactly how low you’re running on food points?

Programmers for DukeMobile, a free mobile application for iPhones and iPod Touches, said they just may be able to help.

A selection of new applications became available under DukeMobile Version 1.3 Aug. 26 that allows students to search the locations and hours of campus eateries and stores, compare the users’ location to events profiled on the Buzz and Events@Duke calendars, search the library, chat with a librarian, manage DukeCard accounts and use an interactive map. The first version of DukeMobile originally premiered in March 2009.

The Office of Information Technology, the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations and TerriblyClever Design­—a programming company out of Stanford, Calif.—collaborated over the summer to ready the latest version for the Fall semester.

“It was specifically created to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile campus since more and more students, faculty and staff are relying on mobile hand-held devices,” Ginny Cake, assistant chief information officer for OIT and one of the primary collaborators for the program, wrote in an e-mail.

There have been 33,000 unique downloads of DukeMobile since it debuted in March, Cake noted. Junior Michael Ansel, an undergraduate representative of the Information Technology Advisory Technology Council, worked with the professional groups on the project.

“The primary goal of DukeMobile is to find things for students when they’re on the move and don’t want to worry about ,‘Where can I go right now?’” said Ansel, who created the application “Places” for Version 1.3.

“Places” allows DukeMobile users to search the operating hours of campus eateries and stores, as well as compare their current location to that of their destination by pairing GPS and WiFi databasing technology.

Ansel, an electrical & computer engineering and computer science double major, came up with the idea for the application last Spring when he designed a Web program to organize the hours and locations of his favorite dining locations for his personal use. The Web program ultimately became the template for DukeMobile’s “Places.”

After finals, Ansel sought out Dining Services to work with them to keep the data updated. John Board, associate chief information officer at OIT and associate professor of computer science, helped Ansel with DukeMobile. Ansel perfected the program through an independent study.  

In addition, OIT employees worked to add the interactive map, events calendar and library access applications to DukeMobile before the start of the semester as well as the operating hours of the library, gym and Duke Stores for “Places.”

Students users, especially those from the Class of 2013, gave the new additions to DukeMobile primarily positive reviews.

“Mobile lets you find your way around campus without obviously carrying a map,” freshman Breann Tisano said.

Others noted that Duke seems to be ahead of the curve among its peers when it comes to technology.

“I’m really impressed by how much the application is able to make life easier in the first weeks of college,” freshman Jeremy Ruch said. “I think its indicative of the caliber of the school we attend that the administration cares about its students enough to have a mobile application.”

Further plans for the program involve making data entry easier and administration more manageable, Cake said.

Cake added that she hopes to solicit further student input in upcoming versions of DukeMobile. Last Spring, OIT sponsored a student application contest for the next version. Contest winners senior JP Cafaro and junior Matthew Isabel both submitted applications associated with generating walking tours on DukeMobile and will be working with OIT over the semester to make their ideas a reality.

“I thought what Duke did with 1.3 was really cool and what they plan to do with GPS is pretty innovative,” Isabel said. “Duke is really on the cutting edge.”


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