Our entire team is living on campus, so we wanted to do something that could benefit the local community and fellow students. The Arboretum is a popular place for people in and outside of UC Davis to visit, and we decided that making an interactive map there would engage people, promote social distancing during the pandemic, and help sustain biodiversity.
What it does
Our application is an interactive map, with buttons, a menu, and a key to enhance the Arboretum experience. There are three different kinds of buttons shown across the map: photos, plants, and water quality surveys. The photo buttons provide insight into beautiful locations throughout the arboretum. The plant buttons provide images and descriptions of some of the diverse plants in the arboretum. The water quality survey buttons indicates the sites in which the UC Davis Arboretum monitors (and the user can contribute) the quality of the water.
How I built it
We built the app using C# in the Unity Engine. We first imported a map of UC Davis from OpenStreetMap, converting and coloring it to fit our theme. We then built the UI, and then added the various buttons and their locations throughout the arboretum. While it was designed and tested for Android, it should be fully functional on iOS as well. While it was programmed by our only CS major, the rest of us gathered information and photos from the arboretum, as well as icons and links to be used in the app.
Challenges I ran into
As stated above, having only one programming member meant that we couldn't take our app as far as we might have wanted to. For example, one of our goals was to make a GPS function for the user's location, which we didn't end up having enough time for. The pandemic also made it harder to communicate and work with one another.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
That being said, we're all still very excited and proud of how far we got with our app. This is the first time any of us have participated in a hackathon, and our first time ever producing a finished product with Unity.
What I learned
In making this app, we learned a lot more about the diverse ecosystem of the arboretum.We also learned how to communicate with a team towards producing a finished product in a short period of time, and how to put our vastly distinct skillsets together towards one common goal.
What's next for Arboretum Gallerium
In the future, we hope to expand on our idea to include animal species. We hope to eventually add the GPS feature to the map, as well as add a separate map that indicates where trashcans and recycling bins are located to reduce littering. We also want to expand our app to the rest of the arboretum and possibly to other locations.