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Former UMD Student Creates Awesome In-Flight Companion App ‘Flyover Country’

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper – TSM Duluth

If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself on a flight or two looking out of a plane window at the vast scenic expanse below, wondering where you are or what you’re looking at. Thanks to the inventive mind of a former University of Minnesota Duluth student, getting answers to those curiosities just got a lot easier.

Smithsonian.com recently shared the story of Shane Loeffler, a former UMD geology student, and the mind behind this new flight companion app called “Flyover Country”. Loeffler was on his way back to Minnesota from the United Kingdom, and found himself wondering about the landscape below him as he flew over glacial formations in Newfoundland and Quebec.

This wonder inspired the idea to create a guide to show airline passengers more information about what they are seeing below. Loeffler was able to bring his idea to life with the help of some other contributors like Amy Myrbo of the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) and a grant from the National Science Foundation.

As Smithsonian.com reports, the app uses a series of databases to deliver information about what’s below. The app uses the phone’s GPS, and doesn’t require any other form of data connection in order to function while you’re in the air. On the surface this app is a handy way to see where you are in your flight or to identify what’s below, but it also offers a lot of in-depth scientific information about what you’re seeing below. Details like fossil finds or geological information about a mountain range or river add an educational benefit.

As the app’s page mentions, you don’t even necessarily need to be in the air to use the app. It can also be a handy companion app for road trips or hiking adventures.

The app is available on both Apple and Android devices. You can find the download link for either platform on the app’s information page on the University of Minnesota website by clicking the button below.

Get the 'Flyover Country' App

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