Why we built this-
Critical information on where to go, who to call, and what to do is scattered across gazillion tweets, websites, Whatsapp forwards. There is no one place for all official information for Citizens. The information is not standardized - they exist in non-standardized circulars. These are often too technical for the common man. With cases rising, Chaos and misinformation might only aggravate.
What does it do-
COVID FYI brings updated information from all official sources at all levels of granularity (National to Hyperlocal Data) on resources a common man could access to alleviate their problems, report emergencies or provide help. It brings the list of labs, hospitals, helpline, telemedicine, fever clinics, grocery store numbers etc. at one place such that a common man is aware.
How we built this-
We created a nationwide database with a team of Data folks, collating data manually across government websites releasing circulars and announcements on a daily basis. This database is used to power a frontend UI that is user friendly to provide only relevant information to each stakeholder and use case. If you are a citizen you would be more interested in testing facilities and helpline. If you are a supplier you could access control room numbers etc.
Challeneges we face-
Data is of such varying forms, at so many places, far away from the reach of common man - finding them all was a tedious task. Every day these circulars were updated, thus we needed to keep a check. There were so many classifications and sub-classifications, making it all the more difficult to decide on the right user flow (Eg. Labs include - Private, Government, Only Testing facility, Only Sample collection facility etc.)
Achievements we are proud of-
Several startups showed positive interest to partner with us. Mapmyindia wanted to provide us APIs to link location for all data. Livehealth an international e-diagnostic startup wanted to provide sample collection facility through them, handling the Lab-side of the market with their team, putbnb a crowdsourcing platform offered to crowdsource our database. Our idea was demo-ed at Coronathon.in (Indian Corona-Hackathon) and was also selected for HackTheCrisis India top 300. We have received appreciation from several VC firms and startups in Indian space. Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode is our strong pillar of support to provide outreach and media help to promote our project. Our team grew from mere 5 member team to 25+ (including volunteers). Without investing a single penny we have created this product in record 5 days.
What we learned-
We learned that though important, it is difficult to access high-level government officials directly. We initially thought to partner with big brands to put our best foot forward and scale faster. However we realised we need proof of concept to show the validity of our idea. Hence now our focus is to not ask for any help, and first build the initial 1lac or 0.1million users, have some numbers to speak for idea. We learnt a lot from each other's skills and got to know a lot about other areas.
Our plans for the future-
In the near future we are implementing our website for India-wide launch using organic mediums. We will work on extra features- Location tagging, API integration to help other projects. Since the Database is a never ending Work-in-progress in times like these, we will constantly update and work to add more official data. For this we are looking to work for, and work with several state governments.