Smart phones are making it easier and easier to get information on the go. However, sometimes traditional websites aren’t compatible with mobile phones. A case in point was the website for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“We had a lot hits on our website with mobile phones because people were looking for information about state parks, rustic campgrounds and boat launches. But the information was not delivered properly for mobile phones,” said Tom Weston, director of the michigan.gov website with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget.
Therefore, the department decided it was time to build an application — commonly known as an “app” — to make finding information about campgrounds and boat launches easier.
Hence the birth of the MI Camping and Recreation Locator mobile app, which can be used to find any state camp site and over 1,000 boat ramps in Michigan.
“It can be used to identify a campground near you within a five-, 10-, 15-, or 25-mile radius,” Weston said. “Or you can locate a campground by location such as the northeast Upper Peninsula. You can actually find all the campgrounds listed in that area on your phone.”
So far the app has proven to be popular, with 22,000 downloads recorded since the end of June and 550 average daily users.
Weston said he believes the state will continue to expand on this app by possibly adding a listing of all hiking trails; however, he said he thinks the app will only grow to a certain point.
“We’re not looking to add a million things,” he said. “This app will most likely spawn off into another app for boaters and anglers — like a lake finder app that lists boat ramps, the size of the lake, the restrictions, fish survey reports and fish stocking, etc.”
Weston said he has been “very happy” so far with the current app, which can be downloaded for free for iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerrys at iTunes, the Android Market, and BlackBerry App World websites, respectively.
“It’s been a successful program — very well-received.”