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NMHU students create Los Alamos trails app

An app created by New Mexico Highlands students features Los Alamos-area trails. (Source: NMHU)

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Students in New Mexico Highlands University’s Media Arts and Technology Department are programming 19 trails into a popular mobile app that features trails in the Los Alamos area.

The Pajarito Environmental Education Center is making the free app available for hikers and mountain bikers for iOS or Android phones.

“The most important feature of this trails app is it shows people where they are so they can find their way,” said Katie Bruell, executive director of the Pajarito Environmental Education Center. “The Los Alamos area has a lot of what we call volunteer trails that connect with main trails, which can be very confusing.”

The app also features photographs of the trails.

Bruell said Highlands University is providing all the mobile app development expertise for the update.

“It’s been great working with Highlands on this project. Lauren Addario and Rianne Trujillo in media arts are always so responsive. The fact that the app development is being funded through affordable paid internships makes it financially possible for us to update the app,” Bruell said.

Bruell said the Highlands Media Arts and Technology Department has a good reputation in New Mexico for producing effective and professional work.

Rianne Trujillo is a Highlands software-driven systems design program instructor who is helping oversee the app project.

“The students are using Unity, a game engine for creating cross-platform mobile apps, which means one set of code is used for multiple devices,” Trujillo said. “We’re planning to have the updated trails app released on both the iOS and Android store by summertime.”

Trujillo said the Highlands students are gaining real-world experience working on the app project for a client.

“The primary goal of our software-driven systems design program is to prepare students for careers in web, mobile app, and game development,” Trujillo said.

Bruell said the Los Alamos-area trails app originated in 2015 through a partnership among the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument.

For more information about the app, visit peecnature.org, click on “Learn” and then “Los Alamos Trails App.”

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