JATC Students Win Best Of State For Mobile AppJan 23, 2015 09:18AM ● By Marci Heugly
Melinda Mansouri and her students proudly present their award-winning “Trails of Utah” app for mobile devices. From left, Ashley Allen, Tanner Dailey, Ian Mills, Gavin Trujillo, Kennedi Kikel, Danielle Thueson and Melinda Mansouri
Utah is home to some of the best outdoor recreation in the country, not to mention countless hiking and biking trails throughout the state. It can be overwhelming to choose one trail from the many, but students at Jordan Applied Technology Center have created a new mobile app that can help simplify the process.
The “Trails of Utah” app was submitted at the end of last year to Verizon’s national Innovative App Challenge. At the beginning of January, the students were informed that they had won Best in State, which means that their app will advance to a regional competition later this month against students in the western United States.
“If we win at regionals, then Verizon will actually send programmers to work with us on building out our app,” said Melinda Mansouri, web/mobile app development teacher. “The app will then be released into the store and it would be available, which is really cool.”
The students were constrained to strict parameters, which meant the app submissions had to fit into one of three categories: environmental, educational or health care.
“Since we’re in Utah, there are so many trails out there, you never know which one to go for,” student Kennedi Kikel said. “When the app first comes up, it shows all the trails that are nearest to you.”
The user can then filter through the options based on criteria such as length and difficulty of the hike, pet friendliness, rating and features on the trail.
“We researched apps like this, and they didn’t really have one for Utah. We couldn’t find anything with these capabilities,” student Danielle Thueson said. “Our idea for this app was to find information about the trails of Utah.”
A group of six students in Mansouri’s class worked together to come up with the concept and basic function of the new app.
“Most of what we did here was the planning,” Mansouri said. “My students don’t get to mobile apps until fourth quarter because, to be honest, they’re hard.”
Each of her classes came up with a concept to submit, and she plans to build out each app even if they don’t win.
“But it would be a huge bonus if we did,” Mansouri said. “It’s funny because in most contests, Best in State is the end, but for this one, it’s kind of the beginning.”