The biggest problem our world faces today is COVID-19. To be properly informed on a daily basis regarding this matter is essential. However, popular sources of information often don't provide all necessary information in a manner which easy to find and understand, which hurts the user. We wanted to find a way to solve this issue, by creating an encyclopedia of real-time COVID-19 information, from local statistics to vaccine information to general precautions.
What it does
COVIDpedia is a website that presents all the essential information regarding COVID-19. One page has the statistics from all 50 states, among which local information of 10 counties is also presented. In addition, there is a page of general precautions. Finally, there is an information page as well as vaccine information, which provides links to up-to-date information in each and every state. All pages are meant to be accessed in an easy manner, so the user will have the most optimal service and information.
How we built it
First, we started off with the process of finding sites presenting successful information. We settled on using the New York Times for statistics and the CDC for guidelines and vaccine information. We scraped the data using BeautifulSoup, a python package which parses and extracts data from HTML. In addition, we used Flask along with flask to create a website where we would store and present the scraped information.
Challenges we ran into
We encountered many challenges over the course of building this app. Our first challenge was learning how to use beautiful soup as our team had no experience using it. In addition, we had to analyze the html code closely in order to identify the location of the specific data which presented a challenge as the html code of the website had a lot of information. Once we were able to locate the data points, we had to overcome the challenge of using BeautifulSoup to isolate the specific data points for each state and county and to get the covid precautions. With the data, the next challenge we overcame was converting the data so that it could be used for the web page. Finally, the last challenge was understanding google cloud and how to effectively utilize it to improve our project; we weren’t able to successfully overcome this challenge due to the limit of the memory of the instance we made. However, it still proved for a great learning experience.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Over the course of GunnHacks, we had a range of accomplishments, including: figuring out how to use BeautifulSoup to scrape a website, working together efficiently to create a good product, and learning concepts in a very short time period and applying them to our code. Most of all, this was our group’s first hackathon together, and we found a lot about ourselves as coders and as people.
What we learned
In terms of hard skills, we learned how to use packages and programs that we’ve never been exposed to before, such as BeautifulSoup for web scraping. In terms of soft skills, one major lesson we learned was to do a better job of planning beforehand. Since we haven’t worked with web scraping before the hackathon, we ended up having to spend a fair amount of time on the project figuring out how to use it. Overall, we gained new technical skills as well as more knowledge in terms of presenting a project.
What's next for COVIDpedia
- Add more graphs
- Get more data(get every county for each state, expand internationally)
- Add more information from social media(i.e. up to date news from various news sources and tweets from the internet)
- Get information about other topics(i.e. types of vaccines,vaccine approval, symptoms, testing sites)
- Make ALL information presented in the most optimal manner for user AT ALL TIMES
- Register a domain for the site and make website available to public
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