Rensselaer Students Create StudySafe App for Safe Distancing On Campus

Posted March 15, 2021
New StudySafe Shot
StudySafe allows users to see how crowded buildings are likely to be at any time on any day
Using near-real-time, anonymous WiFi data from more than 1300 wireless access points on campus, students working with the Rensselaer IDEA's Data INCITE program during the Summer and Fall 2020 terms created an app to help students easily identify crowded and open spots around campus.

The RPI StudySafe app reveals the population and density of wireless users in locations across the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus by monitoring near-real-time, anonymized WiFi access data. Data analysis and visualizations were created by students and staff of the The Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA) and was one of several COVID-19-related projects conducted by the Rensselaer IDEA's Data INCITE program during the Summer and Fall of 2020. See https://inciteprojects.idea.rpi.edu/studysafe/app/studysafe

StudySafe uses aggregated wireless access point (WAP) data to help on-campus users make informed decisions on where they might go for extended periods of time on campus. Users can explore the data in several ways, including by selecting certain days, times, locations, and through interactive campus maps. The Campus network management team surveys more than 1300 access points twice hourly, and the StudySafe app updates its analysis every two hours. 

Work continues on StudySafe during the Spring 2021 term; users are encouraged to access the app's feedback form to report bugs and offer suggestions. 

Development of StudySafe was overseen by Prof. Kristin P. Bennett, Associate Director of IDEA; and Dr. John S. Erickson, IDEA's Director of Research Operations. Development of StudySafe was partially funded by a grant from the United Health Foundation. 

UPDATE: StudySafe is back up! Visit us at: https://inciteprojects.idea.rpi.edu/studysafe/app/studysafe

More information about Data INCITE's COVID-19 work during 2020 can be found at: https://idea.rpi.edu/research/projects/data-incite

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