Helping the less fortunate has always been a goal of ours when designing projects, so when we saw that there was a challenge that sought to help the City of Dallas improve their living conditions, we were immediately enamored. We realize that by providing the City of Dallas with better visualization of their data along with new and unique ways to collect data, we can make an impact on the community by helping the city better address the conditions of over 4000 individuals. Thus, we were able to combine two of our passions- exploring big data visualization, and creating an altruistic project that would help those that need it the most.

What it does

home-Unity is a lot like the popular map application Waze. It serves to provide both county officials and the homeless people services that give them better information regarding the poverty situation in Dallas. For the homeless people, we have developed a mobile application that allows them to report different events that they see, much like Waze. Reports can include crime, donation opportunities, weather-related incidents, and other events that may be of help to other homeless people. These reports are then verified and broadcast on a map to all other users, enabling the spread of important information between people in impoverished communities. The application also periodically beacons the locations of the homeless people to a database to provide city officials with more precise statistics, to enable better policy-making. Information regarding the location of these people can be vastly beneficial for both sides. It can enable officials to warn these people regarding imminent danger, use data regarding population clusters to find optimal locations for food banks and shelters, and much more. This is all enabled through Omni Sci's data visualization tools. Using these tools, we can accurately analyze and predict trends for the city to use.

How we built it

By combining the potential that react-native offered us to be able to create a simple, humanistic app that would be widely available to the homeless population along with the powerful nature of Omni Sci's data processing API to provide real time analysis of that population, we were able to create a useful resource for both parties. We used Omni Sci as our back-end database. Our Front-End was created in two parts- react-native for the mobile application and HTML/JavaScript for the web aspects. We used Flask and Python to interface the front-end with the back-end.

Challenges we ran into

Due to the fact that all of our team members are still new to programming with react-native, we had to overcome the challenges of using a new syntax and environment. Learning Flask and using it to interface Google Firebase with JavaScript and Python was also challenging, especially when it came to debugging certain aspects such as CORS.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the progress that we made working with Omni Sci's API along with the challenges we overcame working with the new syntax of react-native. We were able to integrate a variety of components that we developed and , which includes data processing in Python, app development in React-Native, and usage of Omni-Sci's API.

What we learned

home-Unity was our team's first full-stack project. We learned a multitude of new tools including Flask, Firebase, React Native, and the Omni-Sci API. Our experience using these tools together will undoubtedly prove invaluable in the future. We already plan on using React Native to develop an app for our next project!

What's next for home-Unity

We want to improve the scalability of the application such as with better server-side scripts. We also want to improve the use-case for the homeless people itself- rather than just being a reporting system, we could incorporate a reservation system for shelters, a bartering system, and other ideas that could benefit the impoverished.

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