During the initial dates of the lockdown in India, a close relative of neighbors died in a district far away from our city (Mumbai), and they had no clue what to do? How they can travel during lockdown? If they apply for travel pass, how many people can travel in a car then? This incident inspired me to create this solution when I came to know about CoVID-19 Botathon in the last week of May’20.
What it does
Travelling during this pandemic is not recommended; however, being social animals, needs arises causing us to travel from a place to another. CoVID-19 Virtual Travel Advisor assist us find how safe our travel or commute is! The Govt. of India has classified all the districts in the country into RED\ORANGE\GREEN Zones. Government has also defined rules for each of the zones. There are special travel related advisories to be followed while traveling through these zones.
CoVID-19 Virtual Travel Advisor BOT leverages MapMyIndia Geo APIs to find the optimal route from Origin to Destination addresses fed to the BOT via Email. It then identifies all the districts the route passes through. The districts are then classified into RED\ORANGE\GREEN Zones using information provided by the Govt. of India on its CoVID19 dedicated website www.mygov.in/covid-19.
The BOT makes the suggestions based upon the findings and provides a report listing all the districts and their CoVID19 zone classification. This can help us plan the travel as per government's advisory for travel in RED\ORANGE\GREEN Zones. This will avoid hurdles we have not planned for.
How I built it
I have used Emails received in MS Outlook desktop application as the start point. A rule defined in MS Outlook moves the request email from Inbox to a dedicated folder when an email with a defined subject arrives. The BOT iterates through each email when manually invoked.
This BOT is built in Automation Anywhere’s A2019 (Community Edition). BOT leverages several Geo APIs from MapMyIndia in its course of action. It starts the operation with Geocoding API converting the Origin and Destination addresses into geographic coordinates (latitude/longitude) to be placed in Routing API which calculates optimal (used as default calculation type) driving routes between specified locations including via points\intersections. It then uses distinct intersections to be able to find the district in which the intersection are.
Reverse Geocoding is a process to give the closest matching address to a geographical coordinate (latitude/longitude). BOT uses MapmyIndia’s Reverse Geocoding API to identify the districts on the intersections in the route. To identify CoVID19 Zone Classification of the districts, I have used the information available on CoVID19 dedicated website www.mygov.in/covid-19 of Govt. of India.
Challenges I ran into
First, I had very less time to work upon on the solution. Secondly, it was my first time to build a complete BOT using A2019 and very first time to work with Geo APIs. Building a working solution in a short period was itself a challenge. Understanding working of Geo APIs and decoding Routing API's result was the main challenge I faced.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The working solution itself is a great accomplishment for me. I am proud of that I have built an end to end solution using Geo APIs.
What I learned
Building BOTs using A2019 and usage of Geo APIs
What's next for CoVID-19 Virtual Travel Assistance
Initially, I had decided to build a mobile app to feed the inputs to the BOT. However, due to very less amount of time to implement the solution along with office work, I have used MS Outlook to feed input requests to BOT. We can have a mobile app integrated with AWS S3 to feed inputs to BOT and receive output. A very sophisticated solution can be developed to provide travel advisories.
Also, it is currently implemented for India only. The idea was to show how BOTs can help humans in safeguarding their travels. The solution has potential to serve peoples from other countries\regions.