New mobile app to help fishers and boaters in the Gulf of Mexico
A new mobile app from the Alabama Water Institute and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium provides a fast and interactive way to find important information about weather, navigation, safety and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
A project led by students in the University of Alabama’s Management Information Systems program, the app gives users instant access to information about weather, tides, buoy stations, water safety and regulations fishing based on the user’s location. The app is available by searching “MAPP-AWI” on iOS and Android.
“You would normally look for all of this information separately, so it’s really a one-stop-shop,” said Presley Gobbell, marketing manager for the MIS team in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, who graduated in December 2021.
The app’s home page provides a quick overview of the user’s location and features easy-to-read navigation buttons.
The weather zone provides current temperature, precipitation, humidity, and wind speed, as well as hourly and seven-day forecasts. The regulations section contains information provided by Fish Rules LLC, a third party that provides quick access to up-to-date, location-specific fishing regulations such as season openings and catch limits for a variety of species . It also contains information on obtaining saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses.
The safety section covers several crucial topics for boaters on the water.
“Users can see important safety features of their boat, as well as access emergency procedures, such as how to contact the US Coast Guard in the event of a problem,” said Abbie Merker, a senior citizen. of Marietta, Georgia, and one of the project leaders. student developers.
The map allows the user to choose from several tide and buoy stations that provide current information on high and low tide times, tide height, wave height and more. Coast Guard stations are listed on the map along with radio frequencies for marine safety information broadcasts and distress calls. This information will be available even without cellular service.
“It stores your last viewed location locally on your device, so just like dive flags, equipment or what to do in an emergency is saved in the app,” said Sam Barnes, project team leader and Owens MIS graduate student. Cross Roads, who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at UA.
In the regulations section, users can pinpoint specific locations on the map to help plan a fishing getaway.
“If you’re planning to go to Tampa or Gulf Shores, for example, you can drop a pin on those locations and all the fish relevant to that area will show up,” said Griffin Turner, Delta’s project technical manager, who has graduated last month. “You’ll see a screen full of information ranging from the size of the fish, how many you can catch, and even what gear you can use.”
Although the app is only available for the Gulf of Mexico, there is room for growth in other parts of the country.
“If Fish Rules decides to expand to the east and west coasts, as long as the way they provide information doesn’t change too much, the app could potentially expand to cover those areas,” said Garrett McGiffert, a student developer. from Tuscaloosa who will graduate in 2021.
The app started as a partnership project between AWI and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant in 2019.
“I’ve become a huge fan of undergraduate capstone projects,” said LaDon Swann, director of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. “I’m amazed what a dedicated group of students can do in a semester. As a fisherman, I’ve always looked for ways to reduce the number of phone apps I have to check when planning a fishing trip. This app has the potential to be the go-to app for me.
The first team of UA MIS students developed the framework before delivering it after graduation.
“The team before that was able to get an initial version deployed on Android, and this team was able to build it and install it on Apple as well,” said Gary Spurrier, faculty sponsor and assistant professor of information systems, statistics and management science.
Students completed the first version of the application before the end of the fall 2021 semester. Most graduated, but left a wishlist as updates and developments continue .
“We would like to see a citizen science feature where you could upload information and photos of fish you’ve caught in a certain area to help with data collection for fisheries around the Gulf,” Turner said.
Turner said working with AWI and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant has been a rewarding experience, and UA has prepared him for the next steps in his career.
“One of the companies I interviewed with was very impressed with how UA’s MIS program specifically implements a program that prepares us for success in life after the college environment,” he said. -he declares.
By presenting this project to the public and partnering with the MIS program and its students, AWI is helping to reinforce one of AU’s strategic goals of increasing innovation in research, scholarship and creative pursuits. that affect economic and societal development.
A version of this story was originally published by the Alabama Water Institute. This story then appeared on the University of Alabama website.