SIAT students create app GI Smart to educate users about green infrastructure sites

December 03, 2020

For their IAT 359 Mobile Computing course, School of Interactive Arts & Technology students Eric Lee, Quince Bielka, and Sachin Raturi created GI Smart, an app that targets green infrastructure (GI) sites in the city of Vancouver and helps to educate people about those sites.

“The app is to help engage people in volunteer activities,” says Quince of the app. This is done by providing GI Smart users with information about green infrastructure in the city, an interactive map indicating those sites, a reporting system for problems with GI sites, and a volunteer system for locals to help maintain GI sites.

The project began through a collaboration between CityStudio and Simon Fraser University. 

CityStudio, an innovation hub that bring together city staff, students, faculty and community to co-create experimental projects, partnered with IAT 359 Mobile Computing course during the Fall 2020 semester. Students in the course, led by instructor Helmine Serban, worked closely with CityStudio to create mobile apps that target the various green infrastructure around the city.

The first step of the project was a brainstorming session where Eric, Quince, and Sachin considered the guidelines and requirements sent by their clients, in this case CityStudio.

“The solution’s initial design was based on various existing apps that already solve some parts of the problem, like Google Maps,” says Quince, and throughout the process, Quince and his team went back and forth with CityStudio to get a better understanding of the needs of the client to modify the app to address problems that existing apps do not.

“We added many smaller functions on top of what we had to fine-tune the app to their needs. We want to attract more users that are active on the streets of our beautiful city so we designed the overall aesthetic to feel more bright, energetic, and simple to use.”

Eric, Quince, and Sachin were invited to participate in HUBBUB15, the final live project showcase event taking place on December 4, 2020 from 11:00am-12:00pm. The HUBBUB15 showcase event highlights the innovative solutions created for the city of Vancouver created by staff, faculty, and students through the collaboration.