Incoming UCSB freshmen struggling to discern the difference between Girvetz Hall and Gevirtz Graduate School of Education can now locate their classes through the recently-released iPhone and iPod application Blueprint Maps.
UCSB alumnus John Brecher and his brother Jim Brecher launched the program through their company JB Enterprise LLC on July 30 and recently added a UCSB campus directory to its collection of over 100 maps of various locations across California including malls, ski resorts, city districts, national parks and airports. The software — downloaded over 1,000 times in its first month — incorporates interactive features allowing users to search within various areas and add place markers.
According to John, who majored in business economics at UCSB, the app provides a database of maps for certain businesses and colleges that are immediately accessible and contain accurate information.
“When you open up the map, you can use filters to search different categories such as libraries, food outlets or parking lots,” John said. “We’re getting the most accurate information we can and try to be as up-to-date as possible.” John said his personal experience as a freshman struggling to locate and gain access to the university’s buildings inspired the program’s development.
“Having to find places on campus would always take a long time because I would have to go to the school website and then download the map and I always wished there was a simpler way,” John said. “One day much later, I was in a mall and I thought of the idea of having a central hub for maps of malls and various places for the iPhone.
Although the brothers’ long-term goal aims to incorporate a nationwide map service for various businesses and resorts, Jim said the company is currently focused on building primarily a student following.
“Originally, the app was much more business oriented but we began thinking about how hard it was to navigate through campuses as freshmen, and now the main emphasis is on colleges,” Jim said.
John said the company plans to allow businesses and colleges to manage their own maps and pay a subscription fee for the app’s services.
“I really hope that eventually enough users demand it that colleges and hotels will manage their own content,” John said. “We’re also looking to expand our categories to include things such as sports arenas and hotels.”