I was inspired after having to wait in several long lines over the past few months, starting in May when COVID-19 started to spread in the United States. I needed to get tested for coronavirus in July and I had problems trying to find a testing center without a long line because I was working from home and did not have the time to wait in a long line. I also have had problems trying to get into my favorite grocery stores and retail stores because of new capacity limits.
What it does
My goal was to create a web page that tracks current wait times from a community-driven database, similar to the app Waze. A user can locate the store that they are at on the map and input the current wait time, or they can search for a store to get the current wait time and when this wait time was last updated. I was not able to complete all of these functionalities, but from the web page you can search for places on the map and see some of the wait times for locations in Phoenix, AZ (where I'm located).
What I learned
I have never used the Google Cloud Platform or the Cloud APIs before starting this project, so I learned quite a bit about using the Google Maps API and creating custom legends and markers for my map. I also had never used a SQL database for a website before so I had some troubles trying to figure out how to combine my HTML site with a SQL database that I created. From this, I learned about PHP, localhost, and Google Cloud Platform web hosting.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
I ran into several challenges during this project. One of the challenges I ran into was learning how to use Google Cloud APIs. The Google Cloud documentations helped me a lot with this and I learned quite a lot. My other biggest challenge that I faced was trying to store data in my SQL table from input through the HTML form. I was able to figure out how to store data in my table after filling out the HTML form, but I was not able to transfer data from my SQL table to populate new markers on the map on the HTML page. I ran into several other smaller challenges such as not being able to set up the Google Cloud Platform virtual machine instance and software downloading issues.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I think my biggest accomplishment from this project was learning as much as possible in such a short amount of time. I am also proud that I was able to successfully implement the Google Maps API in my project and add custom markers and a custom legend.
What's next for COVID-19 Line Wait Times
There are several functionalities that I still want to add to this site. First of all, I want to set up web hosting for my domain and transfer my files to the domain. Second, I want to new markers to populate after a user inputs the HTML form for the updated wait time. I also want the exact wait time and the last update time to show up when a user clicks on the wait time marker for a location. I also want to implement this in a way so that a user can see updated markers after a different user submitted. The web page should pull all of the current data from the SQL table when the web page is refreshed.