Howdy! Our names are Will Pasquarrette and Landon Palmer, and we are incoming freshman living in College Station this coming school year. Like many underclassmen, we are planning on riding bikes as our primary method of transportation. To our surprise, there were no resources available to find places to store your bike when riding around the city. To solve this problem, we decided to use our skills in application development paired with College Station’s municipal database to create a tool that could help cyclists around the city.
What it does
Bike Spot allows cyclists in College Station to view details about bicycle parking in the city, including location, nearby businesses, capacity, and type of parking (small rack, pole, etc.). Once the cyclist has selected their bike rack location, they will be able to map to the exact longitude and latitude in Google Maps.
How we built it
The first step in our software development planning was to identify a problem whose solution would have concrete data to back it up. This was accounted for by a dataset provided by College Station City officials in their online dataset “Bicycle Parking”, which included elaborate details about bike racks around the city. After the data was secured, our second priority was to work on creating a paper outline of an Android App with various features to compliment the data. After that, we divided our work into data management and mapping/location capabilities, coding away on Android Studio with a Moto G for testing. We came together several times in the process, communicating our changes using our Github repository as a means of collaboration.
Challenges we ran into
We are both 18 years-old and are fairly inexperienced with programming. We have yet to take a college-level computer science course. Consequently, this was our first time using the Google Maps API, and UI / Network Threads in Java, which seemed to bear negative consequences in our progress.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that despite our inexperience, we have put together a functional app that has a sleek user-interface. Additionally, we managed to successfully implement Google Maps capabilities as well as overcome several Threading issues. Above all, we are proud of how much we have learned and advanced our own skill-sets.
What we learned
Through this endeavour, we have both learned a great deal about Android App Development; specifically UI and back-end data implementation. We learned more about how to deal with JSON data, threading, and location services. We also improved our own collaborational skills using vigorous planning and version control on the software side.
What's next for BikeSpot
In our next stages, we would like to add more UI functionality, such adding options to filter out bike racks so the map view only displays spots that are close and have available spaces. We would also like to add pictures of the area when a pin in the map view is clicked. At this moment, the data for available spaces is randomly generated. We would like to add sensors to every bike rack that is in College Station to have accurate, real-time data that will display available information about spaces. We could possibly partner with the business near the bike racks to share data with them about when their bike racks are full and what times they are empty. There is certainly potential, and we hope to work with College Station city officials to improve these ideas in the future.