Parking matter leads to development of app

Although parking remains as a major problem on campus, an iPhone application has been created to provide students with real-time maps of parking lot availability based on vacancy percentages.

The free “UHGuide” application was created by a group of undergraduate computer science students for a course project that used software that focused specifically on the iPhone.

“This project was one of the course projects and probably the most successful one,” associate computer science professor Ioannis Pavlidis said.

The UHGuide is a utility application for students that provides full maps of the campus with directions on how to get around either by foot or car, Twitter and weather updates and a restaurant guide. The inventing team consisted of Kaleb Fulgham, Andre Navarro, Nick Prescott and Hussain Abbasi.

“I threw out some ideas for an application and encouraged students to come up with their own ideas of things that happen around campus and something that would benefit UH as a whole,” Pavlidis said.

The application took four months to develop, from late August to mid-December.

Pavlidis also worked alongside research assistant professor Pradeep Buddharaju to create the Walk n’ Play iPhone application that focuses on health and fitness activity around the world.

“The Walk n’ Play app motivates you to be more active by calculating how many calories you burn in a day by doing normal activities,” Pavlidis said. “It also has a virtual competition that allows users around the world to compete with one another.”

The UHGuide differs from the Walk n’ Play application in that it specifically pertains to the UH campus and students.

“The utility app helps find ways around campus where otherwise you would have to use a map to navigate around and physically go through parking lots one by one,” Pavlidis said.

Business major Jesus Quiros said he found the app helpful.

“I downloaded the app not thinking that I would ever really use it, but I actually found it really helpful when running late to class and trying to find a parking spot,” he said. “I can see how the campus map would be really helpful to incoming freshman when trying to locate their classes.”

Pavlidis said the application only applies to the UH campus, but a business opportunity is possible by creating the same application for other campuses. However, that is something that will be left up to students.

Texas A&M has also developed its own version of the application, but not as a course project.

“We are unique in a sense that we developed it with a school project,” Pavlidis said. “I’m really happy that projects like this happen inside the classroom at UH.”

UH President Renu Khator praised the creation of the application in a UH news release.

“We have pledged to provide our students with an educational experience that is top tier and to offer them training that is globally competitive,” Khator said. “The development of this application is a wonderful example of innovative thinking and creativity that supports top-tier student success and achievement.”

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