Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Computer Science

First Advisor

Jason Johnson

Second Advisor

Colin MacCreery

Third Advisor

Steven Carr


This project aimed to address the challenge of enhancing visitor engagement and information dissemination at the Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC) through the development of an integrated mobile and desktop application system. This initiative arose due to the limitations posed by traditional mobile applications which often become outdated and need to be updated by a dedicated software team. This project was designed for any user of the KNC desktop app to be able to update content on the mobile app, without the need of a dedicated software team.

The mobile application was designed for visitor use, enabling them to access up-to-date information about trails, exhibits, and events by navigating through the app or with a simple QR code scanner. The application operates on both Android and iOS platforms using the Flutter framework, ensuring broad accessibility and ease of use. It supports offline functionality to cater to areas within the KNC with limited internet connectivity, using over-the-air updates to refresh content periodically.

Conversely, the desktop application was developed for KNC staff, facilitating the efficient update of information displayed on the mobile app. It operates on Windows and employs a user-friendly interface that requires no advanced technical skills for content management. This system enhances the staff's ability to update announcements, event details, and trail information swiftly and effectively.

One of the critical aspects of this project was its cost-effectiveness; both applications were developed using free software tools, with the only potential costs being associated with app publication on digital stores. Moreover, the applications use Google Drive for cloud storage, providing a cost-effective solution for data synchronization between the mobile and desktop applications.

Throughout the development process, the team faced several challenges, including the initial lack of a space to host the files, later rectified by using Google Drive, and the constraints related to internet connectivity on-site. These were addressed by automating the update process and optimizing the applications for low-connectivity environments. Furthermore, ethical considerations were meticulously managed to ensure that the content update process safeguarded against unauthorized or inappropriate modifications, thereby maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of the information provided to visitors.

The applications were rigorously tested to ensure functionality and user-friendliness, with extensive trials conducted to validate the QR code system and the robustness of the content management features on the desktop application. Future enhancements could include integrating geolocation features, improving content update speeds, and expanding the types of data hosted on the platform.

In conclusion, the Kalamazoo Nature Center's mobile and desktop applications represent a significant advancement in the way environmental and historical information is delivered to visitors. They not only enhance the visitor experience by providing real-time, accessible information but also streamline the content management process for staff, exemplifying a successful integration of technology in environmental education.


Co-authored with:

Laziz Alimov

Grand Deljevic

Logan Malone

Ryan Phillips

Zachary Pryor

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis_Slides_KNC_Mobile_App.pdf (1110 kB)
Defense Presentation

desktop_demo.mp4 (5026 kB)
Desktop Demo

desktop_sync.mp4 (2609 kB)
Desktop Sync

mobile_demo.mp4 (104607 kB)
Mobile Demo

mobile_sync.mp4 (860 kB)
Mobile Sync