Traveling alone, whether in a familiar region or not can often be dangerous and frightening. You often only hear about criminal activity well after it has occurred, so there is generally no way of knowing if the area you are venturing towards will be safe or not. One of our group members, Trulee, expressed that her mom often reiterated the dangers of traveling alone and feared for her safety, whether she was away for college or out with her friends. Thus we came to the conclusions that if there was a way of keeping track of dangerous or suspicious activity in real time, everyone could travel more safely and with more peace of mind.
What it does
HawkEye is a real-time crime map that allows users to drop pins to mark dangerous locations, so that other users get warned of the dangerous activity. Users can select a category of suspicious or dangerous activity from the drop down menu, and based on their selection, the pin's color will change in order to enable others to see trends and activity and know which areas to avoid. By crowdsourcing the reporting of crimes and suspicious activity, users will have access to a massive amount data regarding potential threats to safety in real time. Eventually, the app should be able notify other users if the happen to enter an area near a pin so that they don't necessarily have to be checking the app at all times. Currently the map has been overlayed with historical crime data using Esri's Map API, so that even if no pins are placed, users can see the historical trends of crime in certain areas.
How we built it
We built this app in Android Studio using Esri's Android Map SDK. Esri provided the base map platform for us to build upon, with which we integrated crime index data from their data sets in order to provide the historical crime heatmap overlay. We then built in the pin drop functionality using the Java and XML tools needed for Android Studio.
Challenges we ran into
Integrating the map API and getting the pin drops to operate smoothly with the dynamic map were two of the biggest challenges. Since we have never used Esri's API before, it was definitely difficult to navigate the libraries and achieve what we wanted, but with hours of coding and help from Esri mentors, we were able to get the job done.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of successfully integrating the Esri API, developing the historical map and designing color-coded pin drop functionality. These components were the main functional components of our platform that we worked hard to piece together from the ground up.
What we learned
We learned a lot about Esri's API and software development tools. More specifically, we learned how to construct a complex map interface using their base map layer, integrating their data sets, and combining the two using an operational layer overlay. We also learning some specific functionality such as placing marker points on the map in such a way that it sticks to a specific location and resizes as the map dynamically gets altered by the user.
What's next for HawkEye
We hope to fully flesh out the location based notification feature. Essentially, based on the location of each pin, users who enter a 1-2 mile radius of the reported activity should get notified of the danger so that they do not have to check the app at all times to ensure their safety. We also want to complete the backend for the project so that a server can host the data and it can be shared and be up to date for all users of the app. This is obviously a vital component for this to work at it's fullest and we are already in the process of making this happen!