BY NICHOLAS LOPEZ
There’s no doubt that the Brooklyn College campus is beautiful, but navigating it can cause a headache for incoming freshmen or transfer students who are unfamiliar with its grandeur.
But now there’s a new tool to guide inexperienced students around the more than 2 million square-foot campus—and it fits right in the palm of their hands: an iPhone app tailor-made for the Brooklyn College students, fitted with a map that includes a building directory and a section to list your class schedule.
“That’s something that’s really convenient to have in the palm of your hand,” said Moshe Berman, the creator of the app, “iBrooklyn,” which arrived in Apple’s App Store in February 2012.
Berman has kept himself busy as an iOS developer (with over a dozen apps in the App Store), working towards a degree in computer science and staying involved with the BC Tanger Hillel.
The app, free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users, allows students to map out their schedule by listing where each class is located according to building. Students can also choose to view their complete list of classes, or just the classes they have that day, as well as see a building’s name and its letter abbreviations.
“Students come to campus and they start here as a transfer or a freshman, and they don’t know anything,” said Berman. “They don’t know where to go, don’t know where the buildings are or anything like that, so that’s what this can help you with.”
Another big feature is that you can send feedback within the app to have features created, which Berman adds to his ever-expanding “to-do list.”
Berman has created about 14 other apps and runs an online blog called “Apps. School. Life.” The idea for iBrooklyn was spawned upon his first days at the school when he noticed there was no app for the college.
“I basically pulled out my smart phone and said, ‘why can’t I get information about my classes on my phone?’ And so the idea really came from the situation of wanting to have it. It came from necessity. It’s like the old saying, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’” Berman said.
“Nobody needs a game,” Berman said. “People want to play games, but it’s a desire and not a necessity, so I’d say iBrooklyn would go up there in terms of utility.”
Berman said he believes that the app’s potentially well-defined user base and reliability for campus navigation sets it apart from his other apps, which include “The Schmuz” and “Shomrim.”
One of the app’s problems is its relevance in the long run for students, who will have no use for the app after they find out when and where their classes and buildings are.
“It was useful the first day I saw it and I could figure out where the buildings are, but that’s it,” said student Rebeca Ibarra. “You don’t need a map to guide you to the buildings after the first week.”
Berman said he always looks to add more to the app, but because of his status as a full-time student and a businessman with client work as well as his own, time becomes an issue. Some elements Berman said he would like to add include showing users where bathrooms and vending machines are and how to find offices of professors and other faculty.
Berman feels that with the app’s basic features being well-defined and more about convenience than practicality, there’s no better place for it than on the iPhone, where huge attention is always paid to the little details.
“I would say it’s not my most popular app,” said Berman. “It’s not Angry Birds, but it’s getting there.The wide potential that apps have is if you have an app on the store, it can potentially reach billions of people.”