When abroad, Chantel and I wanted to find local experiences while we traveled. Yet, it took hours of research and reaching out to people to find even basic activities. We wanted a way to get to know the local culture and support small businesses.

Due to the pandemic, travel experiences have been limited to people's own hometowns, so our team wanted to provide a way to help support businesses in their area to stimulate their local economies while being able to find that local culture that we were missing when we were abroad. Once restrictions begin to be lifted, we hope that this platform will streamline a boost to economies around the world, to help those that have been hurt the most.

What it does

It allows users to provide local recommendations to build their communities and provide insight to visitors about the core culture of their area. By breaking up local recommendations into four categories (things to do, see, eat, and experience in their culture), users can give a holistic perspective into their home. This in turn supports small businesses, as the recommendations are limited to only local-owned businesses rather than tourist traps. It gives businesses, specifically minority-owned, around the world the boost they will need to recover from the pandemic. Additionally, these local businesses will provide a more authentic experience for those interested in learning more about that area.

How we built it

Using React Native and JavaScript, the team comprised a portion of the platform, using links to local recommendations rather than uploading them directly due to the time constraint.

Challenges we ran into

First off, the team had no experience in any of the languages we used to create the app. In these short 24 hours, the developers learned React Native, JavaScript, and the new platform of ExpoGo to build this project from scratch.

Because of the time limit, we were unable to represent cities in their entirety. Additionally, it wasn't from a "local's" perspective because we did not have the ability to reach out and gather opinions. Instead, we supplemented this with a temporary solution of adding recommendations that were posted online. In the future, we hope that locals will directly upload their recommendations to the app, making the main source of data the users themselves rather than any websites.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Considering that the team is new to React Native, Expo Go, and JavaScript as a whole, we are proud that we took the time to learn as much as we could and implement the main features of the application. Additionally, most of the team is comprised of first-years with little prior experience, and those that are older are non-technical majors. Specifically, the development portion of the team is most proud of implementing scrolling and swiping features into the process with the help of office hours. The current prototype gives a good idea of what the app could be in the future.

What we learned

We learned two new languages and a new platform. Additionally, we see now how to move forward and which features are most vital for the app's use. We also learned that there is a need to support small businesses, specifically minority-owned, as they were the most impacted due to the pandemic.

What's next for Locals

As for coding, we want to implement user interfaces with either AWS or Azure, learn more about React Native to add more interesting features to the app, and put in a search bar to add more cities to the future. Additionally, we want to be able to have users upload their personal recommendations in the future instead of linking to different recommendations online.

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