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The team has always wanted to tackle a big data set and make a useful visualization that others can use. With this in mind, we came across ArcGIS; an online mapping tool with multiple language integrations and rapid development. The team realized that there are not many online tools for comparing housing locations in conjunction with other factors such as crime rate, public education funding, and median/average housing value. Utilizing javascript and the powerful ArcGIS platform, we were able to implement a full stack solution to this problem within the span of 36 hours.

What it does

The visualization tool condenses and merges large data sets from calculations done on housing values, crime indexes, and educational funding to provide assistance to home/apartment/condo seekers in understanding the housing market. With housing comes a great deal of complex decisions on factors like location, schools, and mortgage rates. With this tool, we hope to ease the process further and provide an intuitive platform for buyers to feel confident in their choices.

How I built it

Utilizing the ArcGIS SDK we gathered three datasets from Esri's spatial database. These datasets served as the building blocks for our mapping application and are known as feature/tile layers to the platform. Through the use of the geographic data provided by these layers, the team quickly developed features to create, update, and hide attributes of the map's features based on user queries. The key feature of ArcGIS API was the consistency and lightweight nature of the data representation of their WebMap objects. This employed our approach towards developing the UI once and deploying to multiple platforms with ease. The ArcGIS Popup object contributed interactivity to our application by displaying spatial data on user actions. Lastly, the platforms Widget objects added powerful functionalities such as charting data, add Layer data, and selection of the WebMap's landscape/view.

Challenges I ran into

The first issue the team was faced with was data collection from a viable source. In this endeavor, we closely analyzed the sources of the data and the reliability of it representing a market as large as the United States housing industry. After a couple hours of experimenting with different resources, the team finalized on three datasets that were constructed in 2017.

The second issue of our development process had occurred in the stage of testing the application. The team was quick to cut features and take on new challenges along the way. We had dissected the API to its fullest and incorporated features into the solution that we felt would most strongly improve the end user experience.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The team is most proud of learning a new technology and exploring the possibilities it allowed us to create. This experience has taught us that together we are capable of creating technology that can change the world, but we must work hard and be consistent for that is the key to a great developer.

Secondly, we took this opportunity to expand our skills in the software development pipeline from initial proof-of-concept to unit and integration testing new features at a rapid rate.

What I learned

I have learned that software development can expand whole markets and industries. With emerging technologies, we are able to connect the world in a way that no one is left behind. Our skills and hard work will benefit the users of these technologies and is proof that the possibilities are endless.

What's next for HomefromHome: Housing Market GIS

We plan on expanding the web application to run with ReactNative. This will allow users of all platforms to experience the visualization and gain more insight on the housing market's current status.

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