As a team, it was clear that we wanted to create a solution for a problem affecting as many students on campus as possible. We spent a fair amount of time brainstorming ideas, by speed writing for two minutes as a team (for each challenge) and sharing our ideas. Finding a book in one of the five libraries on campus can be overwhelming, especially as a new student. We decided to create an app that made finding library resources an easy and fun process. Although it was out of our expertise, we decided to tackle the project anyway, and learned a lot in a short amount of time.
What it does
Good Bull Books is an app to find library books by using GIS geocoding software, 3D modeling, and library databases. When you open the app, you have three options: viewing library maps, finding directions to a specific book using a library call number, or browsing by topic. Next, you choose what floor you are located, so the GIS software may properly provide directions based on elevation. After starting navigation, you are provided turn-by-turn directions within a 3-D rendering of the location. This allows you to easily navigate the building.
How we built it
We used the Github repo to find a 2-D layout of the library. We focused on only one floor and building to avoid scope creep (Evans Library Annex, 5th floor). We built a 3-D model around the initial drawing. We learned how to overlay a custom layer using ArcGIS Pro, and uploaded mock data for some books to create data functions on the map. This included the mock call number, longitude and latitude coordinates for the bookshelf, and other useful data such as subject matter. We then prototyped possible user interfaces for the mobile app.
Challenges we ran into
No one on our team had used GIS software before, so it was a difficult and exciting project. We ran into challenges with certain functions. We also had issues with crashing software to add to the frustration. However, we learned a lot and believe we could complete this app if we had more time. We focused on a prototype with realistic expectations for practical use. We are confident that the process is manageable, if given more time for implementation.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were extremely happy when we successfully created the 2-D overlay using ArcGIS. We also have a complete 3-D model for the same area. Our biggest accomplishment was the successful accumulation of ideas from a very diverse group, and we are proud of what we designed as a whole.
What we learned
We learned not to limit our ideas based on our current abilities. We would never have pursued this project if we didn’t dream big! Encouraging team members to push themselves outside of their previous experience with technology was an incredibly rewarding aspect of the event.
What's next for Good Bull Books
Our goal is to implement a mobile interface that is easy to use. We would incorporate turn-by-turn voice directions. We would need to collect reliable data for layout of books for each library floor and assign latitude and longitude coordinates depending on a range of values for a group of call numbers. Additionally, we would want barcode scanning, to assist librarians to determine book location quickly, if the call number is not readily available.