This project is solving the Spot the Station challenge.
Waystation’s mission is to connect the people of Earth with the astronauts in the International Space Station. The iPhone app notifies users when the ISS is above them and visible. The users can then take a photo of themselves waving and leave a message for the astronauts. The astronauts will then receive the tweets and messages, which are visualized on Waystation's website. Waystation is also an open API to allow all developers to track and create compelling applications with ISS data.
The project was created by a seven person team over the course of three days as part of the Toronto SpaceApps challenge at the Royal Ontario Museum April 19-21, 2013. You can follow Waystation on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/waystationapp
Waystation allows people across the world to greet the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Using a mobile application, our app alerts users when the ISS is visible from their location and encourages them to smile, wave, and share that sentiment with the world. Users can see real-time coordinates of the space station and, when conditions are right, our app ensures they won't miss it fly by. If spotted, the app allows the user to tweet a photo and message to the astronauts and their tweet will then be visualized on a website that anyone can access.
When opened up, the app shows some of the latest waves tweeted in alongside a map showing the real-time location of the ISS. We have also added a feature that compares the number of tweets sent in by country.
All tweets and waves sent to the astronauts are visualized on our website. The astronauts, along with everyone else, will have access to the site and will be able to see photos of people using Waystation to spot the station. The global view shows the locations of recent spottings and is accompanied by a live feed showing all incoming tweets, allowing astronauts to shout back at messages that call out to them.
We had the opportunity to chat with ISS astronaut Leland Melvin during the Toronto Hackathon. When asked about Waystation's concept, here's what he said:
"I would love to have that vanity of people being connected to us as we are going overhead. I think that brings the civilization even closer together, it brings you closer to space, and it bring us closer back to earth. Any connection we can make to bring people together from all around the planet is what we have to do, is what we must do, to show the benefits of us being there and you being on the ground and the synergy of us working together. Just make it happen!"
The current version of the Waystation app is available online through GitHub. We continue to push code and remain enthusiastic about the project, contributing free time towards it when we can. We aim to release Waystation to the iOs app store and would love to see people using our app on their mobile devices. Some initiatives we would like to explore after its initial release include:
- Adding a page with an activity feed showing news and progress made on the International Space Station.
- Adding a page to display the personal twitter feed for each of the astronauts on the ISS, allowing users to track their favourite astronauts.
- Creating a version for Android users.
- Exploring the possibility of integrating Waystation with Google Glass.
- Marianne and Andy from MakerKids: For inspiration and endless enthusiasm throughout every step of the way.
- NASA: For sponsoring the competition and bringing the team together.
- Leland D. Melvin: For participating in the Google Hangout and responding to our question about the app idea.
Project InformationLicense: Apache License, Version 2.0
Source Code/Project URL: https://github.com/TimCapes/Waystation-iOS
ResourcesTwitter Account - https://twitter.com/waystationapp
Open REST API Source Code - https://github.com/NaleagDeco/waystation-rest
Feedback from Astronaut Leland D Melvin - https://soundcloud.com/jldavid/waystation-astronaut-feedback
Presentation Slides - http://www.slideshare.net/jldavid/waystation-presentation-at-toronto-2013-nasa-hackathon
Website Source Code - https://github.com/jldavid/waystation-web
Screenshots & Graphics - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jldavid/sets/72157633298120584/
Presentation Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v2hbKDZ4Og
Press Mention on TechVibes.com - http://www.techvibes.com/blog/nasa-space-apps-challenge-2013-04-26
Press Mention on Space.com - http://www.space.com/20959-nasa-space-apps-virtual-winners.html
Virtual Apps Winner Mention on NASA website - http://open.nasa.gov/blog/2013/04/25/virtual-winners/
Mention on Royal Ontario Museum Blog - http://www.rom.on.ca/en/blog/toronto-space-apps-challenge-hackathon-results
Presentation at Tech in Motion Toronto - http://www.meetup.com/Techinmotiontoronto/events/114502192/