COVID-19 induced stockpiling of food and other essentials have left shelves more empty than usual, and common items like flour, yeast, and eggs have become more difficult to find. We know that many people have experienced hunting through many grocery stores in search of nonempty shelves, and wanted to help alleviate that pain. In addition to reducing one’s effort in obtaining food, reducing the number of trips to grocery stores reduces contact with other people, helping stop the spread of COVID-19.

What it does

Blizit crowdsources information about store inventories and displays it to app users, who can search by either stores or items. Anyone can contribute information by filling out a simple form and submitting it. Store inventories are updated in real time so users get the most recent information about a store.

How we built it

We built our mobile app’s frontend with Flutter and used Firebase for user authentication and database. In addition, we used Maps API for nearby location data.

Challenges we ran into

Most team members were not familiar with Flutter/Dart, so we were learning while we built the app. We got stuck in quite a few places along the way, but eventually managed to pull ourselves out. Plus, the fact that this was a remote hackathon made it harder to collaborate with teammates (waking them up when they fell asleep).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The app looks very clean and is able to update in realtime. It is fully functional and we were able to complete most of what we envisioned.

What we learned

We learned how to build apps with Flutter and Dart, and how to use Firestore effectively. Also, we experienced the fact that building apps takes a lot of preplanning.

What's next for Blizit

  • Add verification and quality control to submissions, so that people cannot submit large amounts of bad data in an attempt to gain levels.
  • Add search by tags so users can find related items.
  • Add a way for stores to “claim” their page
  • Incentive system to encourage users to submit information. (i.e. leaderboard to show which users have contributed the most)
  • Publish our app for all to use
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