The struggles of searching for where your son or daughter is playing for an away game are over.
JCG Land Services and Pete Buckingham have created an application that pinpoints each location of area schools’ baseball, softball and football fields.
Buckingham said the inspiration to make a location and sport driven application came from having three young children himself. As a manager for a mapping department at JCG Land Services, he had all the tools he needed to make the idea reality.
“I have three young athletes in my family,” said Buckingham. “... Every time we’re sent somewhere new, we can rarely find where to go. ... As a training exercise at work we were talking about this and we said ‘hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have an app that we can share to local parents where the athletic facilities are?’
Buckingham said soon after the conversation the application went into creation solely for the use of Central Decatur High School parents. A creation that started as a public service and to refine data gathering ability turned into something potentially bigger as Buckingham realized it needed to go beyond the town of Leon.
“We quickly realized to have enough information to make it useful for CD parents, we had to have the information for the other schools and we realized it would be valuable to them also,” said Buckingham.
Instead of just providing locations of fields used for Central Decatur and its Pride of Iowa foes, it shows locations for the Bluegrass Conference, Raccoon River Conference, South Central Conference and West Central Conference also.
On top of baseball, softball and football fields, the application includes tracks, cross country courses, golf courses and tennis courts. It also includes locations of kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, junior and senior high schools and intermediate schools.
Each location is pinned on the map with baseball, softball and football fields being marked by color and corresponding initial. Schools are displayed by emblem and other associated sports are marked by emblem as well.
The app provides the location over a satellite mapped photo. However, it does not provide directions to locations through the app itself.
“One of the things we’re working on is to add a link to a google map so someone can click the link and get the directions,” said Buckingham.
With dozens of locations currently designated, there are still many across the state that have not been added due to it being a workload dependent side project. Buckingham hopes this changes as time passes.
“We’re trying to add on to it as time allows. We’re adding schools conference by conference as we have time to do that research,” said Buckingham. “... We’re doing this on our down time when we’re not working on plant projects. I hope to eventually add more schools, the goal being the entire state of Iowa.”
To help accelerate the process, Buckingham added that he welcomes information to help further the app, such as school and field locations. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckingham said it has not yet made it mobile device stores, but can be found through the ARCGIS website (www.arcgis.com) by searching ‘away game atlas’ or ‘Iowa High School’. It can also be found at the link https://arcg.is/0uWXX4.
“Long term, I hope we can partner with an app development company and make this easier to get access to,” said Buckingham.
Iowa High School Away Game Atlas is free to use and does not require an account for full access.
Despite using information from IGHSAU and IHSAA, it is not affiliated with either athletic union.