September 28, 2020

BY JESSICA REDIKER

Anyone can develop applications for Blackberry, but it took a Conestoga College student to create the first user-friendly Grand River Transit app.
Summet Gill, a third-year computer programmer/analyst student, recently participated in the KWBBDev BB10 Mini-Hackathon, hoping to simply get feedback on the app he had been working on, but he left with more than he had anticipated.

Gill’s app dazzled the judges and he won the competition, earning himself a 32-gig Blackberry Playbook.

The objective of the hackathon was to develop an application that was not offered in the Blackberry Appworld at the time. It also had to be based on existing code written by computer programmers, and be completed within a specified time limit.

Gill had been working on the app for his mobile programming class and came up with the idea by finding room for improvement in the existing market.

“I use the Grand River Transit myself and surprisingly enough, there aren’t a lot of good GRT apps for Blackberry, so I thought I might as well fill that gap,” said Gill, explaining that his app will display an overall map, individual routes and times for specific stops.

There is one other app in the store that will let you view the GRT schedules, but it also displays public transportation information for Guelph and Hamilton. Gill’s is the only app that is strictly for transportation in Waterloo Region and features a favourites list that users can add their frequently visited stops to for quick access.

This isn’t the first time Gill has created something to benefit the Waterloo community. He also developed an app for reviewing the health and sanitation of local restaurants.

“The Region of Waterloo gives out that information for free. You search any restaurant name, it’ll pop up, you click it and it shows you their health inspection report for the past year.”

Although Gill has been working hard to get his GRT app in Blackberry users’ hands, it is currently not available for download due to some last minute fixes including trying to compile an offline database of the transit route schedules so it can be accessed without a data connection – something that was inspired by students having no reception in particular areas of Conestoga.

Regardless of when the app will be available for download in Appworld, Gill said the real prize was the validation that what he does at Conestoga applies in the real world.