Rooms with a view

Josh Smead

Josh Smead

You’ve been accepted to James Madison University. You’re psyched about moving to campus. You’re searching for a roommate, and you’re wondering if your flat screen or your favorite lounge chair will fit into your room. In fact, you’re wondering what your room will look like.

Now you can get an early look via a cool new app that’s free and downloadable.[UPDATE: The app is now available. Here's the link:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jmu-res-life/id631516853?mt=8 ]

Josh Smead (’12), coordinator of social media and marketing for the Office of Residence Life, has spent this year working on an app that will allow incoming students to see what their residence hall rooms look like before they arrive on campus.

“The app will let new students virtually tour every single residence hall on campus,” Josh says. Some colleges and universities offer similar services, but “nothing like this. As far as we can tell, this is the first app like this anywhere in the country.”

Students will not only be able to view a residence hall room, but they will be able to navigate through the 3-D image for a realistic “walk” through their room.

If you follow this blog, you’ll recognize Josh’s name. Last year, he and a couple of other seniors designed an iPad app that allows visitors to tour JMU’s Lisanby Museum virtually and also provides an enhanced experience by giving them access to additional information.

Double room in Shorts Hall

Double room in Shorts Hall

The residence hall app was “a little more challenging,” Josh says. The Lisanby app had a single room to navigate, while the new residence hall app has 28 navigable environments, one for each of JMU’s residence halls. (The “Tree House” residence halls are all identical and thus are grouped together; Greek Row is not included because it is not designated for first year housing.) Plus, Josh adds, when he created the Lisanby app, he had the help of fellow students Peter Epley (’12, engineering) and Matt Burton (’12, physics).  This time around, however, “I had to teach myself programming to create the app,” he says.

In addition to navigating individual rooms, Josh figured out a way of integrating a campus map into the new app. The built-in map function has all the major campus landmarks and will allow users to see where they are on campus.

And soon Josh, ever the explorer, will start a new personal venture. He’s leaving JMU and enrolling in a graduate program at Syracuse University to become an architect.  “I have wanted to become an architect nearly my whole life,” he says, “and I finally had the opportunity, so I took it.”

The new app, which is called JMU Res Life, has just been submitted to the Apple store and should be available shortly. 

About grahammb
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

12 Responses to Rooms with a view

  1. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems?
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    Like

  2. Chris Gatesman says:

    ORL, you’ve come a long way, baby! I remember when we sent a computer card (for those who know the term) in the mail with a room assignment and a roommate’s name. Way to go JMU!

    Like

  3. Lauren M. says:

    I wonder if the Treehouses will be included in this app since doesn’t tell people about the Treehouse unless you get stuck living there.

    Like

  4. Great App. Unfortunately, those dorm rooms look like incoming students are about to be incarcerated or have just joined the Army.

    Like

    • grahammb says:

      Of course, but remember Gerald, they don’t yet have the students’ creative talents applied yet. In fact, I like them this way….kind of a blank canvas ready to be personalized!

      Like

  5. Nice! Wonder what the Bluestone dorms look like on it?

    Like

  6. Mark Thomas says:

    Wow! This is very impressive and a great idea for students. Accomodation is by far the biggest concern of most students when thye study in a new university and this is a fantastic way of helping them.

    Like

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