We wanted to build something that helped to solve a problem that we all believe is an important issue. In local communities, especially in larger cities, it is hard for less affluent areas to get access to the resources needed to improve or maintain their neighborhoods. Using this AR application not only provides a learning tool to show various discrepancies in neighborhoods (food deserts, income inequality etc.), but it also provides a way for individuals to get involved with the planning and tangibly make a difference.
What it does
The app launches a view of College Park on the ground in front of the user and the user can walk around and see the information presented (locations of restaurants, liquor stores, libraries and grocery stores). Exploring the data can show where food deserts exist, for example. Users will eventually have the ability to add on to the experience by voting for projects that they would like to see started in their neighborhoods.
How we built it
We used Android Studio to build our application. This combined with the ESRI API/AR (Beta) SDK and the 'living-atlas' database, we were able to create an AR experience that lets the user explore College park. Our main tasks involved compiling the layers we wanted to show using the online Scene Viewer, creating a startup interface to introduce the idea behind the project, understanding the AR SDK and how to best adapt that to our needs, and manipulating features on the map to emphasize statistics.
Challenges we ran into
Getting the scene to show up in AR, not having the ability to easily put any kind of layer in the scene, unfamiliarity with the ESRI API and the AR SDK, being able to extrude buildings so they show up in 3D, plotting points in real time in the app so that we can make projects that others can 'vote' on, not being able to limit the amount of data the app is trying to display at one time
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Creating a complete application that achieves a goal that we set for ourselves at the start of the project, Team building, learning how to work with software/API/SDK that we have never used or seen before, multiple big challenges were faced when working with the SDK, so overcoming each of the hurdles, one step at a time, was exciting.
What we learned
We learned more about Android Studio development, we learned A LOT about GIS and how powerful it is. We gained a new perspective on what goals are attainable and how to budget our time effectively. We learned effective communication and that the sponsor of the challenge usually has a lot of knowledge about how we can go about our project.
What's next for ARCity
We want to continue this project and implement further the ability to vote on different projects in your neighborhood. Ideally, we hook up the application to a DB so that we can easily set/get the number of votes that a particular project receives.