Third year makes website that tells you if there’s space in the library and other study areas

Now you know where to go when the library is full

Third year student, Tom Macmichael, has developed a website which shows you how full the library and other other study spaces are. 

The website currently only gives information about study areas in Edinburgh and Manchester. predicts how busy the library will be at different times of the day based on university data on study space usage.

The site is based on five months worth of data and it tells you when you should go in the morning to get a seat as well as estimating when the library will next be free.

Tom amazingly only took a day to make the site. The third year Computer Science student said: “I made the initial site in a day and have just been tweaking it since. It collects public data given by the university about which computers are available and which aren’t, 24/7. It’s got data from any time in the past 5 months.”

The data available doesn’t allow the website to be completely accurate at all times, so it instead puts each study space into three categories. Tom explained: “It isn’t completely accurate, computer availability isn’t total availability but it gives a spot on indication of three categories: full, busy but still spaces, and pretty empty. I’ve tested it a bit and adjusted the sensitivity and now I’m pretty happy that the colours that correspond to the availability work fine.
“The predictions are based on a number of factors: historical data and today’s data and should be pretty reliable.”

This isn’t Tom’s first foray into making helpful websites. He took a year out of uni last year to work on a website that predicts taxi fares and a social networking app called Yatter.

Tom was helped throughout by fellow Computer Science student, Michael Lotkowski. They plan to add subscriptions shortly, so you can get alerted when a particular place frees up or becomes busy. They also intend to extend the service to other unis.