About this idea

mappademia would be a an easy to understand piece of software which would allow students or researchers with little or no previous programming experience to create mobile mapping applications and share them for free with the public.

Currently any small groups of students or researchers working on a project in which they would like to disseminate information using interactive mapping or gather geographically-linked data face the choice of either having to build an app from scratch, which requires considerable expertise and staffing and financial resource, or the purchase of a commercial platform. Both of these options impose significant limitations on the potential of small and innovative projects.

Apps created using mappademia would use the same general platform and format but would be easy to programme and easy to customize for whatever mobile mapping needs a specific project had.

Mobile mapping applications have a wide range of potentially innovative uses in virtually all academic subject areas, from projects which seek to distribute original research, stories, information, or images in an interactive manner to projects which seek to provide social benefits to users by disseminating important information and collecting user generated data and content.

The software would act as a toolkit as well as inspiration to projects which involve small groups of students and researchers working with local community groups, charities, cultural and heritage institutions, and local government to provide solutions to social or cultural issues and problems.

If the software could be accompanied by training schemes in universities across the country, online training materials, and importantly promotion to groups of students and researchers, perhaps through university-specific or national competitions for project teams which would award prizes for the most innovative, impactful, and publically-beneficial mobile mapping applications, it could potentially lead to hundreds of original ideas from students and researchers across the country and from all disciplines.

The software would also save thousands of pounds worth of staffing time and software purchase for UK universities over the coming years, as projects which would previously have needed an original app creating or comercial app purchasing could now be catered for by mappademia.

The benefits for students would be considerable in increasing the opportunity for them to find real-world uses for their subject knowledge and research, gaining firsthand skills in programming and design, learning how to devise and manage their own innovative projects, and alos in forming relationships with external institutions to the university.

For universities this software would provide an avenue to greater engagement with local communities, local institutions, government, and the public at large, an excellent platform to showcase research and demonstrate the positive social impact of universities, and save staffing and financial costs of future projects.