We've all heard about the challenges of climate change that we face as a species, and we all know that we can "make a difference," but what does that really mean? This weekend we set out to answer that question, which is why we made Ceres.

What it does

Ceres is a platform built to inspire change for the good of all. Knowing the challenges of climate change, we designed a questionnaire in order to estimate an individuals carbon emissions and made an Environmental Index in order to quantify the impact on the world a user is making, be it positive or negative. Once the user has submitted his or her information, their data is immediately added to our data visualization of the impact that specific communities have on climate change and sustainability. The data is all stored anonymously unless the user chooses to create an account with us so that they can track any changes they make to their Environment Index. We know individuals are trying hard to make a difference, and we want them to be seen and heard.

How we built it

We built Ceres using techniques learned both inside the classroom and out. We designed the user experience using Bootstrap built on top of vanilla CSS and Javascript for the front end, and the back end was made entirely in Java. Heather was responsible for the frontend design, and Ben was responsible for the backend and API calls. Ceres wouldn't be possible without the power of Google Cloud, which we used for our MySQL database and Map API integration. Our databases store aggregate data of all of the surveys filled out, and we use Google's GeoChart and Map APIs to visualize this data.

Challenges we ran into

We needed more time! Unfortunately the scope of this project was a little much to complete in less than two days for a team of two developers, so we couldn't finish all of the grand plans we had for Ceres. We also had some trouble as one of our members' laptops had broken the week before HackSC :(, so we had some general software issues to get rid of before we could fully start development.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was our first time venturing into the art of data visualization and mapping APIs, and we feel that we did a fantastic job! Integrating the mapping data into our application was the hardest part of making Ceres a reality, and we're proud of the result.

What we learned

Measure twice, cut once. We made the rookie mistake of jumping straight into coding without much proper planning, and it came back to haunt us on a few occasions. Having to delete chunks of code that we may have spent hours writing always hurts, and it made us realize the value of good planning in the development process.

What's next for Ceres

We had a lot more features planned for Ceres that we couldn't get to like supporting more finely detailed maps (specific neighborhoods or zip codes, for example), a more finely tuned and responsive UI, better user profiles, and social media connectivity to name a few. We hope to continue working on the project after the weekend is over and hope to have it hosted and ready for use in production in the future.

Share this project: