What inspired us

Oftentimes, once a donation is made, donors, through no fault of their own, lose track of where or what their money went towards. With so many layers of bureaucracy and increasingly alarming examples of corruption worldwide, the generous donator's potential for real impact is becoming more and more uncertain.

In making LivePangaea, we hope to slow down and reverse the cynicism that such a system is prone to creating. Our application engages donors, makes being generous a more fulfilling experience, and seeks to connect its users to the people whose lives they've impacted.

LivePangaea uses modern technologies like social networking, data visualization, and seamless mobile payments to bring communities and charities closer together.

How we built it

We built LivePangaea in repl.it using a mix of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and R. Tools including Firebase, Google Trends, Facebook, Bootstrap, and RStudio helped us bring robust functionality to the app such as user authentication, database storage, and dataset integration. The GlobalGiving API gave us access to descriptions and mission statements of charities worldwide. Finally, we used Domain.com to get our website registered and ready for public demoing.

Challenges we ran into

We felt daunted at first by the sheer amount of charitable organizations worldwide, with reputations of varying degrees. It took some wrangling to get data about charities into a format we could incorporate into our workflow. It was also a bit of a hurdle to convert boilerplate Python code for Twilio's SMS framework into JavaScript we could use. It also felt cumbersome at times to get the UI and layout of the site to match what we'd thought up in our heads.

An important feature of our team was that it consisted of programmers of different skillsets.

One member, Dilasha, is a first time hacker. She only knew a little bit of HTML beforehand, but this is her first time learning how to implement a lot of different CSS, JS, and Bootstrap features onto a web app.

This weekend was Sakib's second at a hackathon. Though a bit overwhelmed at first by PennApps' size and history, he found himself delighted to be further developing his Firebase and JavaScript skills amongst excellent teammates.

Marie used this event to develop her skills in R, taking the opportunity to try her hand at RStudio data visualization for the first time.

And this was Arya's first hackathon as a participant (she helps organize HackRU). Her biggest challenge was using JavaScript and Node.JS, both of which seemed unfairly unfamiliar before the start of the event.

We all stepped out of our comfort zone this week, and we believe that helped us create something truly special to us.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the ideas we came up with and of the ambition we had from the start to overhaul the donation experience. After working so hard on this site over the weekend, we've come to believe that there's lots of opportunity for innovation in this space, and we're very proud to have been a part of it - any chance we get to combine our passions for computer science and for helping others is a chance well taken. We're also very happy with the look of our product. It isn't perfect, but we think it's on its way to being very enticing for our target audience.

What we learned

We learned a lot about collaboration, about languages and frameworks, and about dealing with and recovering from frequent hiccups. We faced data loss numerous times throughout the project, but quickly adapted with a solution that allowed us to get up and running again every time.

What's next for LivePangaea

We'd like to take LivePangaea much further with cutting-edge technologies like AR and VR that could make even the greatest distances between donor and recipient feel like no distance at all. We'd also like to build on the social aspect of the app, with features like easily shareable QR codes for matching donations, donation leaderboards amongst friends, and sharing, posting, and tagging through networks like Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, we'd like to further improve the user interface of the web app, to make it even more exciting to be charitable.

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