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Teen creates app to keep visitors safe at Lake Powell

By Nadine Wimmer | Posted - Jun 17th, 2014 @ 8:59am

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah teenager has created an app that could provide a safer experience for the 3 million people who visit Lake Powell each year.

In much of the beautiful, remote area, there's no cellphone service. But now you can figure out exactly where you are without it.

“Lake Powell is the perfect place for every family,” said app creator A.J. Call. “There’s something for everyone.”

Unless you run out of gas, need medical help or get lost on the expansive waterway with no cellphone service. Firsthand experience prompted Call to ask a question not typical of a 16-year-old girl.

“I was like, ‘What if you had a map on your phone and had a GPS to know where you were?’ ” she said.

She sought help from YouTube, drew some mockups and sought help from an app developer who cut her a deal. Soon, she had her map app.

Her father, Doug Call, said, "When I saw it completed and done, it was incredibly simple but incredibly powerful."

Now the self-taught app designer is honing her marketing skills. She's spending her summer pounding the pavement, trying to drum up business at the marinas and houseboat row.

Michael Peterson, a boat repair shop owner, said, "This is something that the Park Service can pull up. It'll help their rescue efforts, all of the marinas, everybody."

A.J. Call has gotten interest from the National Park Service and an offer of $100,000 backing from Gillette if she can demonstrate a market. She's pretty confident, given how many people run into trouble on Lake Powell.

“Really, everyone can avoid those situations if they have GPS, right?” she said.

The "No Signal App" is available on Apple devices and on Androids later this summer. Call said this is just a prototype of dozens of more ideas to come.


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