Inspiration

We decided to create Acre to help students who are leaving university or college and looking for a career. There are a lack of resources for accurately being able to get a list of possible new homes. Vaughan, being a graduate this upcoming year, and Scott graduating in a years time, this applies to us directly. Furthermore, coming into this hackathon we both had an interest in working with large sets of open data.

What it does

Acre utilizes large sets of open data to provide the user with an idea of where they can start, or continue, their career. Our queries integrate factors such as: job title, job demand, lifestyle choices and the user's native language to generate a list of cities that are actually suited for that person. For example, the 'Job Title' option uses your occupation to check against current salaries in that field to give you an average of what the income will be like in that area.

How I built it

We built it using a classic JavaScript stack: React.js, with material design, on the frontend and MongoDB on the backend. We picked React.js for the ease-of-use in handling JavaScript state mutation. Implementing the flux software architecture, React promotes modularized, unidirectional data flow to more easily manage the state of the application.

The back end is written with MongoDB as discussed before, with a Node.js backend to drive the REST API. There's some significant math going on behind the scenes -- including some multiple criteria decision making which is subjective in nature. We used open data for the criteria -- things ranging from job data, such as salaries and demands, populatioin densities, and all the other factors people might care about and then we create the "Acre" score.

Challenges I ran into

The frontend challenges were mainly UX oriented. We had to figure out a way of presenting a lot of search options in a digestible way to not overwhelm the user, while being powerful enough to express a good enough interface to gain the fine grain of control we needed.

The backend was another story -- having so many decision criteria with uneven weightings and for different people made things a real hassle. It was a significant challenge getting all the data together into a final result that made sense, for a wide variety of users.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are both happy to have achieved a simple, yet sophisticated app that can provide the user with real-time, real information results, based on THEIR career and lifestyle.

What I learned

We gathered a few more skills on the front end side of things with React.js. But the biggest thing we learned was how to work with, acquire and empower an application with open data.

What's next for Acre

We are looking to explore the expansion of search criteria and improving algorithm efficiency and accuracy upon query.

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