Inspiration

Apartment hunting is one of the biggest challenges outside of school that college students face. It's particularly notorious in Santa Barbara because buildings belong to different realtors who all have different websites and application processes. To efficiently track down housing options, the only way would be to physically walk down the street and write down the information as you pass it. This struggle led us to our idea: Apt-Get.

What it does

Apt-Get is a website that contains an insane amount of data about apartments in Santa Barbara. It has dozens of customizable query options, all separately toggle-able, and various different sorts and selectors so you can find the right apartment for you. It has search features, website listings, area selection functionality, and a lot of customization. For example, Apt-Get can serve you a list of apartments which are non-smoking, allow pets, have low deposits, are under your budget, and have granite countertops in one go.

How I built it

We built Apt-Get using a Node.js server with the Express package. For our map, data, and essentially all of our visual and backend needs, we used Esri's ArcGIS service. We used javascript to tie together the functions and make the buttons work, and css and Vue.js to make everything look pretty.

Challenges I ran into

The most difficult part of this project was figuring out how to geocode (convert addresses into lat/long) and dealing with the APIs. There was a lot of documentation to dig through, but through dedication and good examples, we pushed through.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are very proud of our product, because of its full functionality and usefulness to a large group of people. The area sort was particularly difficult to implement and its applications are enormous. It's always satisfying when the code works in your favor, and it certainly did so this time. We're also proud of our CSS and our work into beautifying the site, which I believe adds a lot more impact and usability.

What I learned

We learned about Esri's API and its usefulness, as well as more about Javascript in general.

What's next for Apt-Get

Apt-Get needs two things: users and data. For the former, we know that UC SB students will love our site, because the apartment hunt is extremely difficult otherwise. For the latter, we plan to collect it ourselves manually and reach out to realtors. Once our database has enough entries and has helped enough people find housing, we can begin to charge for our services and sustain our site.

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