ITMO's Research Students Develop Software for Russia's Biggest Oceanarium


The team had to develop and integrate software for interactive multimedia tables, tablet computers, as well as giant interactive video-walls of the oceanarium. The research student developed most of the software while in St. Petersburg, still, upon their arrival to Vladivostok, they learned that they'll have to develop additional programs right on the spot.

"The interface of the guides turned out unconventional and different from usual web or mobile applications. The reason for that was the necessity to combine the software’s capabilities for students and research officers with gaming options for tourists. A great deal of data - texts, images, videos - had to be made accessible and easy-to-use for users of all ages. Oceanarium's future guests will not only be able to watch different sea dwellers, but also learn their classification and detailed descriptions in Russian, English or Chinese", - explains Zoe Melenshikova.

Her colleagues added that their task was to provide a fast and simple way to add and change information in the system, so that even inexperienced users would manage. All this influenced the specifics of the developed interface, as well as the choice of instruments used during development. As a result, there are three really different systems of content management. As there was lots of data, the team had to make it possible for multiple users to work with the system, as well as enable bulk loading.

"It's really great that the equipment and the infrastructure of the oceanarium are so high-end. The server's computational power is incredible, so we could use the most recent technologies for our software. Actually, it can as well be called a “smart” oceanarium", - shared Pavel Burak and Andrei Mikalauskas.

Also, ITMO's graduates had to develop a game for the paleontological section of the oceanarium, in which the user can try out some archeology.

"The other unique feature of this project was that we had to develop software for several OS. The thing is, lots of equipment is being used at the oceanarium, and we had to adapt all of it. We even had to remember our skills in mobile app development. In the end, we succeeded in turning the devices into short guides on different parts of the exposition", - adds Egor Eremeev.

The team also had to negotiate on approval of more than 60 different blueprints. The process of approval was really complex and had several stages to it. Still, it was a great experience, noted the team's members.

"During our work, we learned a great deal of things: for instance, the difference between a fur seal and a stellar sea lion. All in all, we're really happy that during these two trips that lasted two and three weeks we've succeeded in doing everything on time and also enjoyed Vladivostok. Our team, WebKit, welcomes those who like that kind of adventure", - concluded Pavel.

The city you want to return to

Apart from the work, the team from St. Petersburg also had time to enjoy the city of Vladivostok and its surroundings. According to them, it’s easy to understand those who like visiting the city or want to move there. The Far East is really picturesque, and Vladivostok will remind you of San Francisco in a way. The city's surface is really irregular - you can just exit from one building and be on the level of the 8th floor of the building across the street. Though this might be a problem for jogging fans, it looks great.

"The Russky Island is really beautiful. What's more, there is a whole archipelago around it, with lots of island one can explore. Many do diving or sailing. I guess every third resident owns a boat. What's more, the locals have an eye for cars and mostly use Japanese RHD cars. The residents of Vladivostok really love their town, which has lots of unique features. I guess I will be remembering these visits for a long time", - shares Egor Eremeev.