Map App project with DRA

Members of the Lincoln Academy Coding club meet with representatives from Damariscotta River Association to brainstorm ideas for a trail app. From left: DRA Lands and Stewardship Director Jesse Ferreira, Rozemarijn Mekelenkamp, Benji Pugh, Victoria Melehov, Lincoln Academy Academic Technology Coordinator Stephanie Cheney, Rain Shi, Alex Marin, Wendy Liang, and DRA Communications and Outreach Coordinator Hannah McGhee. Not pictured: Mike Lee, LA ATEC Fellow.

Lincoln Academy’s Coding Club approached Damariscotta River Association (DRA) recently to explore the feasibility of developing an app for DRA’s trail maps.

A nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization, DRA has active programs in the areas of land conservation, stewardship, community education, water quality monitoring, marine conservation and cultural preservation. DRA also maintains about 35 miles of trails along the Damariscotta River estuary.

Jesse Ferreira, Lands and Stewardship Director at DRA, was enthused about the possibility of making it easier for people to find a nearby trail. “I envision the app helping everyone access DRA’s public trails and seek out the enjoyment and beauty of this area,” said Ferreira. “It would mean people could access digital maps and discover new trails without having to rely on an internet connection.”

Ferreira and DRA Communications and Outreach Coordinator Hannah McGhee met with members of the coding club to discuss the look and layout of the app, brainstorm ideas for features, and provide technical support to increase community engagement.

The Map App project aims to combine technology and nature in a meaningful way. Some of the ideas resulting from the brainstorming session included providing a feature to sort trails by characteristics such as whether they are good for kids or dog-friendly, or allowing users to rate a trail, leave feedback, or submit photos.

LA students are nearing finals and summer vacation is fast approaching, so an app probably will not be complete until the fall of 2018, but according to LA’s ATEC Fellow Mike Lee, who teaches Exploring Computer Science, “collaboration between the DRA and Lincoln Academy has been extremely valuable, especially for LA students.”

“I’ve never built an app before,” said LA junior Wendy Liang, “But, this project has inspired me to give it a try.”

Lincoln Academy’s Applied technology and Engineering Center houses classes in design, engineering, and technology, including beginning and advanced computer science.

Visitors are welcome at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Heritage Center in Damariscotta as well as the many other DRA properties throughout the region. Learn more online at www.damariscottariver.org.