This month, the students at Boulder Digital Works partnered with IxDA ’11 to bring a better conference experience to this year’s Boulder-based event. At the conference, the students unveiled “Shuttle Tracker,” an innovative digital tool to help conference attendees navigate public transportation shuttles around the Boulder community.
Throughout the conference, the Shuttle Tracker lived on the IxDA website and on a complementary mobile version of the site: www.ixda.org/interaction/xmarks/.
In response to attendee feedback about transportation issues at previous events, the technology was designed to let conference attendees know how and when they can get to their next conference destination at all times. The Shuttle Tracker monitored nine different conference locations throughout Boulder, including hotels.
How it worked: Shuttle Tracker used prepaid cell phones as GPS devices, a database of latitude/longitude coordinates for each hotel and conference venue, and the Mapquest API. Every 60 seconds, Shuttle Tracker would request directions from a vehicle’s current position to each stop around its route. The system would then add up the leg times, plus an optional waiting time at each stop, to calculate the estimated arrival times. Attendees at the St. Julien Hotel, for example, could check the site and see that a shuttle would be there in 3 minutes.
Additional elements of the program included:
• Twitter: conference attendees could monitor @ShuttleTracker on Twitter for real-time transportation updates throughout the event.
• Mobile: “X Marks the Spot” signage at each shuttle stop directed attendees to the Shuttle Tracker mobile site by displaying the map and URL, as well as a Microsoft Tag linking to the URL for smart phone users.
The students are currently exploring opportunities to make this technology viable for other uses, including events, tours, public transportation and food.
BDW Creative Credits*
Lead Developer: Josh Kadis
Project Lead: Emily Smith
Key contributing students include: Jesse Weaver, Brad Dechter, Max Miner & Charlotte Myerberg
*Every current BDW student touched this project at some point during research & prototyping.