During the last snowstorm, I realized that a good friend of mine, a really inspiring student @Barnard with MS, is wheelchair bound. I was crossing the street and an old woman needed help getting through the slush piles and I thought "If she can't walk through this, my friend must be absolutely stuck". I wondered if she could even get to class and reach out to here. Turns out, she was stuck. It made me super upset that nobody could help her clear it out so she could get on with her schedule so I thought of a model for an app that could help.
I call this app "DigOut".
The app has two modes: a "help" mode and a "volunteer" mode.
The app allows anyone who needs to have a specific route cleared of snow to drop pins on a map indicating sidewalk entrances/exits and street crossings that need to be cleared. They can report impassible sidewalk/crossing situations which are stored in a database.
The volunteer mode allows anyone with a shovel and who wants to volunteer, to see these crossings around them so they can go to them and either clear them, or confirm that they have been cleared. This would then let the person who reported it know that they have been cleared and they can thank the volunteer and know ahead of time and with confidence that their route is good to go for their daily commute.
How we built it
Gilad and I built it running on native iOS and Ruby as a back-end. I also did the design and user interface.
Challenges we ran into
We hit a bunch of snags with getting our cocopods to work properly but eventually got to a solution in the end that worked great.
What we learned
Tons! About MapKit and database management, user authentication etc. It was a great experience.
What's next for Digout
We are going to build it out. This app has a real world potential to help people and we think we can really solve a concrete problem and make other's lives a little easier during snow storms.
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