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ChallengeSpot the Station
Team Project PageSpot the Station AUT
Auckland Placing#1

 

Placing first in the Auckland judging for the International Space Apps Challenge, was team "Spot the Station AUT" - consisting of:

  • Wayne Cen (left)
  • Eleanor Da Fonseca (centre)
  • Boris Feron (right)
  • Harrison Black (not pictured)

Their winning project consisted of an android application that included:

  • Real-time tracking on a map of the ISS' current location
  • Alerting via push-notifications when the station is approaching your location
  • Sharing via social media that you've seen the ISS, and optionally a photograph of your sighting or some aspect of your experience
  • Indications of other sightings in your vicinity, to promote the social-nature of such an experience
  • Directional indications of where to find the ISS, overlaid on a real-time view from the camera

Project Presentation

Judges Comments

 

Commentary

The final presentation only shows part of the story, and missed the blood sweat and tears behind the scenes. I spent the weekend jumping around and talking to the teams, so here are some additional comments and thoughts which you may find useful:

  • The team benefited greatly from the fact that their challenge was a more defined brief – which allowed them to hit the ground running right away (other teams didn't really start until Sunday).
  • With all software projects though, it's sometimes the simplest things (like a typo, or misunderstanding on how to use a library or API) that can slow you down – and so they still had their fair share of problems to overcome.
  • Eleanor during Q&A said that they had various things going 'by Saturday'. But I'm pretty sure she meant by the end of Saturday – as opposed to them having done full preparatory work. From speaking to the team myself, I think the pre-weekend focus was on setting up the server and doing the necessary Google pre-registration work to get the push-notification framework functional. Nevertheless, they certainly had done more preparation and planning than the other three teams.
  • However I do wish they'd put a bit more thought early-on into how such an application would be used, and what the general public would be looking for in the application. As demonstrated, I feel the app was a bit too much like a 'collection of features' – It lacked instructions and other aspects to make it a 'usable' app. Time of course was their enemy here - so hopefully as they continue on with the project post-competition that they'll address these issues. This was after all a 'hackathon'
  • Given they'd never even tried to see the space station before, and I believe were playing with technologies and integrations that were new to them – I think they did very well.
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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your kind words and feedback. We are in the process of refining our app and thinking of ideas for the video.

     

    Wayne, Harrison, Boris & Eleanor