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Students help develop Saratoga 150 iPhone app

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Albany/HV: Students help develop Saratoga 150 iPhone app
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Residents and visitors to Saratoga Springs this summer will have a wealth of historical knowledge right at their fingerprints, thanks to a group of local high school students. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, a new app will give iPhone users a never before seen look at the Spa City.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Gone are the days when putting together a high school history project meant slogging out a 10 page paper. In the 21st century, students are making the most of emerging technologies.

"It was almost unreal to see something that was originally just talk develop into something we can actually see and hold in our hands and experiment with and brag to your friends about, 'Hey, I worked on this app,'" said Josh Visser, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School.

Over the past year, 80 seniors in the Saratoga Springs 21st Century Academy class helped design and create a new Saratoga 150 iPhone app that uses GPS technology to offer a historic walking tour of downtown.

"The fact we get to use the old and the new and collaborate them together is just a really awesome opportunity," senior Leah Mailloux said.

"Actually going to the library and researching it was just fascinating," Visser said.

Once a week for one hour, the class met with software engineers at Garnet River, collaborating on everything from the app's coding and graphics to incorporating historical information and pictures of the city's landmarks.

"There's a lot of little things that go into making a completed product, something that's production ready and can be shipped," said Mike Woytowich, Garnet River’s senior software engineer.

"I liked that we were doing something for our community, something that's involved with our community," senior Alex Robinson said.

Available to download free of charge, the app offers tours of three downtown areas: Broadway, Congress Park and the East Side.

Both residents and visitors are sure to experience the Spa City's relics in a way they never have before.

"Just to know my hometown and how it developed and the history behind it, I was very fascinated throughout this whole project," Mailloux said.

"I'm just really excited that it's out there now and everyone gets to see it and I was a part of it," Visser said.

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