Inside Champlain College's Emergent Media Center, students are hard at work on a new iPhone application that could change the way people explore Vermont.
"This project is sort of for people to discover places and make a day out of the travel trip," student Taylor Hadden said.
The team of 11 is working to design and program ViewBoost. The app will use GPS technology and other tools to identify popular tourism spots and hidden Vermont gems like dairy farms and specialty shops across the state, while folks are on the move.
"We're surrounded here by faculty and staff that have been working on applications for years and they have a lot of experience. There's a lot that we can learn from them, but there's a lot that we can bring to the table here at the school, as well," student Alex Tardif said.
The application is the idea of ViewBoost co-founder Doug Allbee who started the venture with his dad. The Allbees had explored partnering with a number of developers both here in the U.S. as well as overseas. In the end, they chose the team from Champlain, citing their skills, enthusiasm, and local ties in making the decision.
"The students are just extremely innovative extremely excited. They understand Vermont and want to work in Vermont and are perfect to develop this application," Doug Allbee said.
The project is already four months in the making. What started as drawings on a white board is now starting to take shape on the screen.
Allbee admits there are a number of travel applications already on the market, but says ViewBoost will fill a valuable niche.
"Vermont is a perfect place to launch an app like this. We have such a wonderful world destination here that's world-renowned. We need to get that exposure out there," Allbee said.
The team is slated to complete the app's prototype this month. They'll then start reaching out to locations that want to be included in its bank of destinations.
"After a while I'm pretty confident that they'll be coming to us; after a while they'll say, 'I want in on this application,'" Tardif said.
A soft launch for ViewBoost is scheduled for this fall, just in time for foliage season.
Champlain is under contract with ViewBoost. The arrangement is paying students for their work.