Authorities and service providers are preparing visitors and residents for possible disruptions to internet and cellphone service during eclipse weekend.
A local app development firm, in conjunction with SIU’s Research Park, has developed a tool for visitors that doesn’t require an internet connection to use.
Packer Labs, a company founded by local developer Jeremy Packer, will launch the SI Eclipse app before visitors begin arriving the Thursday of the eclipse.
The app, Packer says, is a useful tool for visitors that will provide information about events, businesses, and services in the region. Additionally, Packer says they will be able to communicate with visitors via push notifications, something he says he is not aware of in other tools available to visitors.
“When cellphone reception is available, which is hopefully all or most of the time, we’ll utilize the app to push notifications to visitors with general information or emergency announcements. If cellphone connections fail during eclipse weekend we won’t be able to send out notifications, but people will still be able to use the map and information provided through the offline capabilities we’ve created.”
Packer, who operates his firm out of the Dunn-Richmond Center at SIU’s Research Park, says his firm created this app for free to contribute their part to the massive event that has seen global attention drawn to his Southern Illinois home.
“We developed this app for free and we’re inviting businesses to get listed for free. It’s meaningful that we develop this app and get it into the hands of visitors so that they have all of the information they need, with or without cellphone service.”
Packer has been connecting with other organizations in a final push to ensure that the app will see distribution to the thousands of visitors expected to in our region.
“We want to be a supplemental resource for Carbondale, SIU, and tourism throughout the region. Each organization has their own primary tool, like southernillinoiseclipse.com. We don’t want to take away from that. We want to add to it and make sure that we take care of visitors as best we can.”
Packer plans to have over 100 events and 300 plus local points of interests available on the app, including local businesses, medical and emergency service providers, and temporary installments such as hydration stations.
Businesses or organizations who would to like ensure that they’re listed on the app can submit their contact information to SIEclipse.com for inclusion in the app.
Visitors and residents can download the app starting Monday, August 14th.
For questions about the app you can contact SI Eclipse via Facebook at Facebook.com/SIEclipse, or email them at Help@SIEclipse.com.