The inspiration for this project comes from previous experiences with having fire drills, bomb threats, firearm threats and other threats that caused emergency evacuations. In those experiences, often times, people would need to gather around and count the number of people, who's present, etc., but this can be really inefficient. WIth business buildings that have many floors, suites and departments, there may be just a few people shouting names to check for the attendance of perhaps hundreds of people. During each evacuation, these supervisors need to carry around a click board with names, a box of cue-cards with names or other things that may be a drag to carry around in emergency situations. So, this project was made so that people, like those in full-time jobs in a business building, can only take a small device, that is their phone, and be able to use our E.E.M.A. app to guide themselves with GPS and signal their status as they get to safety.
What it does
Emergency Evacuation Management Application (E.E.M.A.) is an application that records users’ statuses as it helps guide users to safety using GPS tracking with Google Maps and pre-prepared building and floor plans. The idea is that, when a user clicks on buttons, certain messages get sent out. There are a couple roles, supervisors have access to receive messages sent by personnel as they would if a fire alarm happened and they are calling names for attendance. There can also be a super admin, which would have basically all the contacts that exist in the company or building, so, basically the top of everyone. Then, the others would be personnel roles, which can press buttons to indicate what status they are in. The 4 status buttons are Danger, Enroute, Safe and Away. Their descriptions are in the app and ppt provided. When a button is pressed, the idea is to use the user's SMS service to send a formatted message to the supervisors and super admin. For supervisors and super admins, when those messages are received, the idea is to update their status in the contacts. Additionally, GPS can be used to track their fine location, like using Google Maps. Such locations can be latitude and longitude coordinates that can be turned into a Google Maps link that is sent out along with their status so they can be tracked if anything happens. In cases of not knowing pathways, users can also check the building or floor plans. The advantages of having this app would benefit users because that regularly, supervisors may need to carry clickboards or cue-cards and shout out people's names. But the app can have hundreds of people signaling their status in a few seconds and their locations known too. In many ways, the app can be used to do what old fashion cue cards do, but they can also bring speed, effciency and detail when an emergency evacuation takes place.
How we built it
We mainly used Android Studio to build most of the app. The design and functionalities were planned and visually displayed. The app is still in prototype, as it's our first time working on an Android App, the backend isn't fully set up and that there are many more features in our minds for future implementation. We used programming skills that involved Java, Kotlin, XML, etc. For visual things, we also used photoshop skills with a variety of applications. Other than that, Figma was helpful to plan out our application.
Challenges we ran into
As it is our first times in a Hackathon and working on an Android App, there were several difficulties that we faced. Being in a team might have taken a little time to get along with each other, but it wasn't as a big of a deal as compared to needing to learn the technical skills in a day. It was confusing to use Android Studio for the first time, but we Google'd a lot to figure out a lot of solutions and ways to overcome those troubles. Some of the problems that were hard to solve can be trying to make multi-panels for multi-Fragments, make different shapes of buttons, having pictures, syncing with different versions of libraries and different types of coding styles, setting up Google Maps and basically learning how to code from scratch. In the end, we just didn't give up and at least got to a point where we can run and not have anything failing. It may not be the best, but we tried and the effort counted! We enjoyed working in a team!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Like mentioned in the previous two paragraphs, first times in Hackathon working on an Android App is harsh to go through, but we managed to figure a lot out. We are proud to at least have an U.I. that doesn't look too ugly... we think... Well, it's something deliverable, and we are proud of the fact that we went through the past 24 hours as a team!
What we learned
We learned hot to cooperate as a team, how to listen to other people's opinions, adapt to different technical and soft skills that we weren't good at before and just how to get through things better next time we attend a Hackathon. Our spirite is just that, we may not have done better than others, but we wouldn't just give up because of that!
What's next for E.E.M.A. (Emergency Evacuation Management Application)
E.E.M.A. is just a prototype at the moment! There are more features in development! Like, flashlight, first aid & emergency medical instructions, post-incident surveys and more! So, we are hyped to work on them even after this Hackathon ends!