State’s hunting and fishing app garners accolades | ParkRecord.com

State’s hunting and fishing app garners accolades

Alan Maguire, The Park Record

The state’s hunting and fishing app for mobile devices was selected as a top-30 finalist for the American Council for Technology – Industry Advisory Council’s Igniting Innovation Awards, the Division of Wildlife Resources announced last week.

While the app includes features like maps, information on various animal species and an events calendar, it also offers something unique.

"The Utah Hunting and Fishing mobile application is the first state mobile app to create a digital wallet that allows law enforcement officers to scan and verify official licenses and permits with the same equipment the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers are already using," the state said in a press release. "While several states are pursuing programs to allow electronic versions of an official state document, Utah is the first to put a statewide program in place."

Dave Fletcher, chief technology officer at the Utah Department of Technology Services, says the app, which launched in October, has been a long time coming.

"Obviously hunters and fishermen are in the field a lot and we have a lot of useful information for them to use while they’re on the go, so we put together a mobile strategy for the state a few years back and this has been near the top of our list," he said.

"We’re getting a good response so far on the use of it. It provides a number of capabilities, a lot of information. This is the first iteration of it and we usually, you know, learn from our users, in terms of what kind of additional services they want to see," he added.

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The app has been downloaded by more than 17,000 users, according to Fletcher. Most of its functionality is offline, so hunters and fishers in the field or in a stream don’t need to worry about having a cell signal.

"There are some things that it accesses the web for, and so it’s not 100-percent offline, but a lot of it is."

Offline features include hunt unit boundaries, fish and game identifiers and a walk-in access finder. The state plans on further refining the app going forward.

"We’d love to hear from our users and we usually do," he said.

Going forward, Fletcher said the state is focused on making app-development easier for third parties.

"What we’re really working on now is better organization of our data, which will enable more kinds of apps. We just recently released our open data portal in January of this year and our goal with that is to provide [application program interfaces] and resources so third parties can develop apps using state data. So we’re putting all kinds of data up there. We have about 1,200 data sets already. And they all use a common API, which enables developers to develop apps directly against our data and that way when the data’s updated, the app is still current. So we’re going to have some hack-a-thons and things that we sponsor to encourage people to leverage the data that we’re providing to the public."

The Utah Hunting and Fishing mobile app is free to download from both the iTunes and Google Play online stores.