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GSU designs app for historical markers
0521 GSU marker app
A new app for smartphones and tablet devices will make it easier for tourists and history enthusiasts to find and find out more about the states historical markers. Georgia Southern University designed the app in conjunction with the state Department of Community Affairs. - photo by Photo provided

STATESBORO — Georgia Southern University has launched a new Georgia historical markers smartphone application that will allow historians and visitors to easily locate and explore Georgia’s more than 2,500 historical markers. Georgia Southern partnered with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in the development of the application.

According to the university, this is the most comprehensive application of its kind for the state of Georgia and will allow users who download the app the ability to search for markers of interest using their mobile phone. The app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPod Touch devices. To locate the app, search “Georgia Historical Markers” on a smartphone’s app store and look for the Georgia Peach logo.

The app, designed to support tourism and ultimately economic development in the state, includes several unique features that make locating and learning about Georgia’s history easier than ever. The app provides users with the opportunity to search for historical markers in Georgia based on location, marker text, or both. Users also can use a smartphone’s built-in location services to identify markers closest to their location. Users may view the results in a list or on a map. Each marker location includes an image of the marker as well as a detailed description of the historical site.

“This is just the beginning,” said Steve Burrell, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Georgia Southern. “Our goal is to continue to add additional features to the app that will make learning about our state’s history even more fun and exciting, with the goal of helping attract more tourists to Georgia.”

“We created a Georgia historical marker website more than 10 years ago to promote historical education and tourism,” said Terry Jackson, director for DCA’s mapping programs. “It is one of our most-visited websites, so when Georgia Southern University approached us with the idea for a mobile phone application, we were immediately impressed with their vision and knew right away that we wanted to partner with them.”

DCA programmer Mathew John noted that, “This was a challenging project where we used new spatial database types and web services to deliver information to the mobile app. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with the visionary and talented developers at Georgia Southern.”

While just launched, updates are already planned, including the ability to mark off which sites a user has visited in order to follow progress. “This has the potential to turn into a scavenger hunt of sorts,” said Burrell. “We envision parents and teachers making great use of this application for educating children and turning routine trips into adventures in Georgia history.”