RSF at DH 2018 Mexico City

On June 27, 2018, the Ready Set Fit app was presented at the DH 2018 international conference in Mexico City.  The PI Katherine Faull presented a poster to the conference attendees about the app that focussed especially on creating relationships with local communities in the crowdsourcing of local information for the creation of paths. The abstract for the poster is included here.

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Crowdsourcing community wellness: Coding a mobile app for health and education

Katherine Faull, Michael S. Thompson, Jacob Mendelowitz, Caroline Whitman, Shaunna Barnhart, Bucknell University

Abstract–Poster DH 2018

In response to the widely reported increase in obesity and related health problems in the US, a team of faculty, staff and students at Bucknell University have authored a mobile app that incentivizes exercise through the use of crowdsourced public-facing humanities content of local interest. ReadySetFit, available on both Apple and Android phones, is a completely student-coded app that leverages a Google Maps platform and the Google My Maps application.1 The user can select from a set of walking paths that have been created using the Google My Maps app, which contain points of interest that present cultural/historical information to the user as he or she approaches the physical location of each point. Once a user has reached all points of interest, or manually clicked a button to finish a workout, the distance covered is saved to the handheld device and can be reviewed at a later date.

Key components of the success of ReadySetFit have been the ease of use and the localized and crowdsourced nature of the information provided. Griffiths and Barbour argue that the creation of “smart cities” greatly enhances the sense of place among local citizens (Griffiths and Barbour 2016). Our university collaboration with a local civic group (The Improved Milton Experience) in the post-industrial central Pennsylvania town of Milton has seen local youth become engaged in local history through crowd-sourcing content for specific points of interest while incentivizing citizens to walk around the town by receiving rewards and discounts at local shops when they show the app’s “Fit Card” – a summary of their recent workouts. Furthermore, partnering with the statewide system of parks (DCNR) and its “Think Outside” higher-education partnership program2 has promoted the app to a wide user-base who are already visiting the parks but who want to know about the history and environment through which they are walking.

Although in its initial stages, ReadySetFit has shown the potential to overcome the major obstacle to maintaining an exercise routine–incentive (Harris and Roushanzamir: Conroy et al). The incentive is multi-dimensional: engaging with new and interesting place-based content in real- time, collecting completed pathways, obtaining fitness levels for financial rewards through local business partnerships, and contributing to the creation of new pathways Through crowdsourcing content, user participation promotes both individual wellness and community buy-in. The place-based content that is provided to the user is created by members of the community and fosters active engagement in creating a sense of place (Lepofsky and Fraser 2003).


The poster presentation will demonstrate the app itself and also show the process undergone by the students in terms of information design. We will also demonstrate the path creation guidelines that have been shared with local organizations and can be adopted for creating pathways anywhere in the world with cellular data connectivity.


Conroy, David E., Chih-Hsiang Yang, Jaclyn P. Maher, “Behavior Change Techniques in Top- Ranked Mobile Apps for Physical Activity”, In American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 46, Issue 6, 2014, Pages 649-652, ISSN 0749-3797,

Griffiths Mary and Kim Barbour. “‘Imagine If Our Cities Talked to Us’: Questions about the Making of ‘responsive’ Places and Urban Publics.” In Making Publics, Making Places, 27-48. South Australia: University of Adelaide Press, 2016.

Harris,Felicia and Elli Lester Roushanzamir. “#Blackgirlsrun: Promoting Health and Wellness Outcomes Using Social Media.” Fire!!! 3, no. 1 (2014): 160-89. doi:10.5323/fire.3.1.0160.

Leipert, Beverly D., Belinda Leach, and Wilfreda E. Thurston, eds. Rural Women’s Health. Toronto; Buffalo; London: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Lepofsky, Jonathan, and James C. Fraser. “Building Community Citizens: Claiming the Right to Place-making in the City.” Urban Studies 40, no. 1 (2003): 127-42.


Bucknell and T.I.M.E. Partner to Revive Fitness Program

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.42.10 AMWith support from both the Degenstein Foundation of Sunbury and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds of  Williamsport, this summer a team of Bucknell students and faculty have partnered with The Improved Milton Experience (T.I.M.E.) to revive and expand a fitness program that links wellness and history.

The Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour, created in 2005, aimed to promote fitness and health, historic preservation, and education and, in its original form, featured 16 stops at over 60 photo and literature kiosks that explained the history of Milton.  Now, with the help of mobile technology, this walking tour has become a pilot project for a new interactive smartphone app that delivers relevant, historical information at the stops on the path and tracks steps taken

Bucknell students, Chase Kravetz and Austin O’Neill along with their mentors, Stu Thompson (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Katie Faull (Comparative Humanities) have been working on creating virtual walking paths in the Susquehanna Valley that can be followed with the student-created “Ready, Set, Fit” app that leverages local history, culture, and botany to incentivize people to get out into the community and exercise.  Their project has taken them to partner with local community organizations that already have downtown walking tours which can be brought into the digital age.  Helping the Bucknell team is Jesse Newcomer, a Bloomsburg University graduate student and native of Milton, who is interning this summer with George Venios, Director of T.I.M.E. and Vanessa Venios, Events Coordinator of T.I.M.E. to update the Milton in Motion program.

Both the Bucknell app and the Milton in Motion program have their roots in collaborations with local health providers.  In the face of the opioid epidemic plaguing our area, Geisinger physicians are interested in being able to prescribe exercise to patients instead of painkillers.  The Ready Set Fit app is designed with exactly this purpose in mind.  Similarly, the Milton in Motion program was designed a decade ago in collaboration with Evangelical Hospital in Lewisburg, to encourage Milton residents to get out and walk around the historic downtown and accumulate both miles and points that could be redeemed for prizes.

The new partnership with the Bucknell developed app will allow both the Milton Historic Walking Tour and the Milton State Park to become the sites of exercise and learning.  In conjunction with Friends of the Milton State Park and the Pennsylvania DCNR’s program “Think Outside” the next path to be developed for the app will be a tour of the Milton State Park that highlights the cultural and natural history of the island, at the same time as tracking the user’s fitness data. Future new paths of The Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour will include natural and arts elements as well.

This fall, the new digital “Milton in Motion” program will be launched and piloted by T.I.M.E.’s Teen Leaders who will be using the app and providing feedback to the Bucknell team, demonstrating the central role of the area’s young people in revitalizing its past and future.

In attendance at the event on Monday July 17th at 3:00pm at the Milton State Park:

  • Paul Yost, President of the Friends of the Milton State Park
  • John Clifford, Park Manager, Milton State Park DCNR
  • John Meckley, Chairman-Elect Board of Directors, Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg
  • Katie Faull, Professor of German and Humanities, Bucknell University
  • Stu Thompson, Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bucknell University
  • Chris Martine, Burpee Professor of Botany, Bucknell University
  • George Venios, Executive Director, T.I.M.E.
  • Vanessa Venios, Events Coordinator, T.I.M.E.
  • Chase Kravetz, Summer Intern, RSF project, Bucknell University
  • Jesse Newcomer, Summer Intern, T.I.M.E.