When it comes to sustainability, solutions truly need to start from the beginning, and for a lot of our products, that's in the production stage. GoTheDistance helps users to identify their carbon footprint associated with their produce purchases.
What it does
We built a website that allows users to track their carbon footprint by inputting the items they buy at the grocery store. Our program then calculates the carbon dioxide emissions from the transport of this product from its origin to the place of purchase. In order to make this number more meaningful to the user, we also tell them how many trees it would take to offset this amount in a year.
How we built it
We built this program by creating a database of produce items, and the top importers of each item to Canada. We were then able to use the geographic coordinates of the of the origin of each item and the place of purchase to determine the distance the product traveled before it was purchased. We then used
Challenges we ran into
One of the challenges we faced was determining how we wanted to store and access our databases. Our initial idea was to store them on a google spreadsheet so that they would be accessible from the cloud, however due to our time constrictions we were not able to familiarize ourselves with the methodology required to do so. Instead, we decided to save the databases locally on our hard drives as CSV files. In the future we hope to move towards google spreadsheets so that our database is available to everyone.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
For some of us, this is the first Hackathon that we’ve ever been to and it was an amazing experience for us to learn about what it takes to create a project; from figuring out the logistics, user interface, and many more of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ details. We’re proud of the fact that we were able to design a fully fledged website and app in just one day; especially an app that is sustainable, allowing us to use technology to make the world a better place.
What we learned
Having many friends who have stayed up for hours and hours during previous hackathons, I was worried that we would face this same challenge. What we learned from this project is to keep things simple. A product is best when it is simple and easy to understand; this improves the user experience by limiting the number of new features they’re expected to learn and also enables the creator of the application to design a product efficiently.
What's next for GoTheDistance
We would love to keep working to improve and expand on ourto encompass even more aspects of sustainability in how we acquire our food and all other products we use in day to day life. Further development of the mobile app. Further integration of UPC scanner.