In response to the recent surge of reservations on the BC Parks Discover Camping website, BCIT Mechanical Engineering Assistant Instructor Adam Marciniak developed Camp Alert as a free and easy-to-use platform to provide campers with information about their favourite campsite availability in BC and Alberta. Campers also have an option to sign-up for an email notification when their chosen campsite is available.
With an interest in software development, Adam started building Camp Alert as a small side project outside of his job at BCIT. Adam self-taught himself to build a website with the many free online resources available. He started with small projects that could be relevant to his Mechanical Engineering classes at BCIT and continued to build on new skills as he learned more specific technologies along the way.
Campers are quick to jump on using Camp Alert
Since Camp Alert launched at the beginning of June, more than 5,000 people have signed-up to receive email notifications about their campsite availability. Of those who have signed-up, 1,267 people have been emailed about their spots opening up with the rest still waiting for an availability. Adam has also seen tremendous traffic to the website with 6,000 people visiting the site within the last three days.
“The feedback from campers who use Camp Alert has been superb! It’s especially rewarding to hear people get real value out of this website,” said Adam Marciniak. “It feels great knowing something I made by myself and taught myself has had such an impact on the community.”
Text message alerts and expanding into campsites beyond BC and Alberta
While Adam has already received tremendous positive feedback from Camp Alert users, he is still working on ways to improve and expand the website to include Canadian national parks and US campsites.
“It’s been challenging deciding which features to add next and focus on. I want to include campsites from National Parks and other provinces but my current priority is to make sure the current backend is working quickly and efficiently,” explained Adam. “Each province has their own camping reservation system and each one has a different way of accessing it and different data structures they return. So it’s not as easy as just adding a new link to the data and letting the current program deal with it. It needs to be custom built for every province. However, National Parks are next on the list because they have a separate federal system. Then other provinces and the US. Another feature that is in the works is text message alerts.”
Ways to support Camp Alert?
For campers who are eager to support Adam’s Camp Alert initiative, Adam recommends them to spread the word about the website or to “donate a coffee” to support his passion project.
Note to media: Adam Marciniak, BCIT Mechanical Engineering Assistant Instructor, is available for interview about Camp Alert. Please contact Amy Chen, 778-384-7245.