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App puts New Mexico attractions at your fingertips

Phone screen shots display different views within the Cultural Atlas of New Mexico (Courtesy of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs)

Phone screen shots display different views within the Cultural Atlas of New Mexico (Courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs)

Highlands University media arts grad student Matthew Gallegos has lent his technical expertise to develop an interactive mobile app that puts New Mexico’s cultural and historical sites at the fingertips of travelers and state residents though their smartphones.

“Matthew was a critical member of the team in developing the cultural atlas app,” said Doug Patinka, interim chief information officer at the state Department of Cultural Affairs and Gallegos’ mentor. “His involvement ranged from project planning, database development and website programming to photography and training partners in using the content management system for the app.”

The app allows people to find and learn about places of cultural interest throughout New Mexico, with more than 800 photos, a state map integrated with the user’s phone-mapping software, and written highlights of the sites.

“As an example, if someone is at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, they can open the app and find all the nearby museums like the New Mexico Museum of Art,” Patinka said in a news release.

Gallegos said that the database “I created for the app has the dual purpose of holding all the content for the app and providing an archive that the DCA staff can use to update the content.”

The objective of the app is to help increase visitors to the New Mexico sites.

The app is available as a free download on Google Play, the Apple App Store or through using the cultural atlas link. The app is compatible with Apple and Android devices.

Gallegos, a Las Vegas, N.M., native, is a paid intern in Highlands’ one-of-a kind AmeriCorps Cultural Technology program, or ACT. The program is an ongoing partnership with New Mexico DCA that places media arts students in cultural institutions statewide.

Gallegos also photographed some sites for the app like Fort Union National Monument, City of Las Vegas Museum, and the Dwan Light Sanctuary at the United World College-USA north of Las Vegas.

“The photography was very satisfying artistically,” he said.

Gallegos said that as a New Mexico native, the most interesting element of the app project was learning about the cultural sites he never knew existed in the state.

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