Coming into BrickHacks, we wanted to create a project that would help out the community. While brainstorming, we all noticed that certain areas around our campus were unsafe due to the high crime rate. Also, our university provides information about security incidents around campus. We decided to create a web application that would make students feel safer by showing the areas around the campus that have security incidents. Using this, students can infer which areas are deemed more unsafe than others.

What it does

‘Get Me Home Safe’ is a web based application that visualizes the unsafe areas around the campus. When you open the application, a map will appear with the points where security incidents have occured recently. People can log in and submit reports of security incidents within the city. This application is community based, so all the points are reported by other users, or the police.

How we built it

The web application itself was built using JS, HTML, and CSS. We used Google Cloud APIs (Google Maps, Places, and Geocoding) to get and display information around the user’s location, and MongoDB to store the list of crime spots within the city and user information. We also created an API to access all of this information easily and used cryptography to secure information, such as user passwords and authentication tokens.

Challenges we ran into

We had a solid idea, but some of us had limited experience with APIs, databases, and front-end design. As a result, a lot of our time was spent learning how to use APIs and how to implement it into our program. Also, because some of us were more experienced than others, we had to work at a pace that was good for everyone which resulted in us working late into the night.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re proud that we got an API up that let us read and write data onto the database easily. Also, the less experienced people on our team are proud that we learnt more about APIs and front-end design, while implementing it properly. Overall, this project has been very successful, considering the amount of time we had.

What we learned

We’ve learnt a lot about how APIs work, how to use databases, and how to design UIs. More specifically, we learnt a lot about how to use Google Cloud APIs, considering that none of us had previous experience with their APIs before. Finally, we learnt about how to work in a team environment in general, and how to work around each other’s strengths.

What's next for ‘Get Me Home Safe’

In the future, we’d plan to implement this with The Toronto Police’s dataset, to get more reports about security incidents throughout the entire city. Also, this web application will eventually be moved onto a mobile app, or integrate with an existing mobile app related to the city.

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