Inspiration

The largest inspiration for the creation of BikePath is our team's avid love for biking. One of the main reasons for biking as a method of transport for us was the lowered environmental impact in comparison to other means of transportation. We wanted to measure how effective our environmental impact actually was while biking, so we decided to develop BikePath. As we are a competitive bunch, we wanted a way to know how much of an impact some individuals are making in comparison to others.

What it does

BikePath was created in order to decrease carbon emissions released by cars by incentivizing biking and walking, instead of driving as a primary means of transportation. Through utilizing the Google Places API, a user is able to input their current location along with their end destination and receive directions to their intended location of travel. Additionally, along with offering a means of navigation through biking and walking, the user is able to complete the goals listed within their account to earn points, and subsequently rank on the Leaderboard, incentivizing the utilization of BikePath.

How we built it

The frontend was created with HTML, CSS, and JS, using the bootstrap libraries. We used the Google Maps Javascript API to render locations and directions. User data is recorded using Javascript and synchronised with the Firebase database in real-time.

The backend was written in Python and provides an interface between the webpage and the Google Places API. This served to make requests to the API and bypass restrictions due to CORS. The server also formats the data for use by the webpage.

Challenges we ran into

Some assets in the code could not be built without another being completed, which slowed down the process of creating the web app. As a result, there were often times where people in the group had nothing to do as they were waiting for others to complete their work. As well, it was our first time using bootstrap, so we also had to learn new formatting and sizing rules. On the other hand, the backend was also confusing, as the use of Firebase was also completely new to some team members. We also found that we were often burned out while working, despite having learned new things in the process.

What We learned

Going into the hackathon, numerous team members were entirely new to the concept of Hackathons, so this was their first experience in the vast field of hackathons. The app used a bootstrap (HTML) & javascript frontend, alongside a python backend. These languages were completely new to some of us so we had to look through a lot of documentation beforehand in order to fully utilize the languages. In addition, none of our team had ever used Firebase before, and so utilizing Firebase for data management was a completely new experience for all of us.

What's next for BikePath

In the future, we hope to implement a feature that allows the user to gain real-life rewards from completing the goals listed within their account, directly representing how decreasing one’s carbon emissions can have positive effects on the environment. In addition, we hope to implement a way to verify a user’s progress of biking and walking through using their GPS, decreasing the probabilities of users abusing the current honour system.

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