The need for social distancing to combat COVID-19 has increased the difficulty of grocery shopping. Often, stores adhering to proper social distancing guidelines will have long wait times, or stores may neglect safe COVID-19 practices entirely. To stay safe as possible, it’s best to shop somewhere that respects social distancing with smaller crowds, to reduce exposure risk. However, these locations can be difficult to determine, and can often change. Our project, COVID Wait, takes into account these problems which are now found in our everyday lives. The basic premise of COVID Wait is to find the nearest grocery stores near clients with a score attached to them. A score which is higher than average is marked in red, indicating that the store is busier than average. As a result, those who are scared about the potential risks venturing outside can feel more confident by looking at the busyness ratings of each of the stores near them, positively impacting their day-to-day lives.
Inspiration: We were inspired to make this project because we wanted to help people find a safer way to go about the essential task of grocery shopping by providing real time information on which grocery stores are comparatively safer than others.
What it does: Our project utilizes location based tracking in order to track nearby grocery stores. Through this, grocery stores are given a score. Scores which are higher than average are considered busy, informing the user to potentially visit later.
How we built it: A client sent requests to a server with a Google API key, which was used to format the request for the Google Maps API and retrieve nearby locations. The populartimes package for python was used to retrieve a score for how busy the location was, and how busy it was likely to be in the next hour.
Challenges we ran into: Under Google Maps, businesses have a wide variety of tags. While searching for grocery stores, we found that many of them were tagged as supermarkets. We resolved this issue by searching for keywords, rather than tags.
What we learned: We learned that communication is vital for a team project and having clear goals to achieve along the way help to define how much of the project is finished and what needs to be finished later.
What’s next: We hope in the future to add a distance feature and a scoring feature, primarily through up-voting and down-voting. We also hope to implement features that allow users to see what safety measures individual stores are taking to improve their safety scores.