Have you ever jogged alone or taken an Uber late in the night? Have you ever being concerned about what's around you? Have you ever been worried about your children's safe-being when they are traveling alone but cannot contact them? With MapPal, these concerns can be concerns of the past.

What it does

Meet MapPal - your personal safety assistant! MapPal safeguards your trip whether you are alone at night in the middle of nowhere, you are going through a very silent neighborhood, or your children are traveling alone. MapPal combines machine learning with natural language understanding to compute a safety index using historical statistics and also recent news on the internet. Even more, MapPal automatically detects if a user is potentially in danger and knows to ask confirmation from users and alert their friends and families.

How we built it

We applied machine learning models to historical crime data and extrapolated the correlations between dozens of features of an area with its crime rate. The app also has natural language understanding ability to constantly monitor the online safety report of the user's current area. It is implemented using both web frontend and native iOS application using Swift.

Challenges we ran into

There were three major challenges that we overcame throughout this project. First, it is hard to come up with the appropriate structures of the machine learning models, because there are so many features associated with an area. Choosing the right features to learn on is crucial to accurate and reliable prediction. The second challenge would be obtaining the dataset that contains complete historical crime information throughout the United States. And the last one would be coming up with the Safety Index we present using so many features.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud to present a Safety Index taking into many considerations and intuitively shows the safety level of an area. Furthermore, because of our machine learning model and natural language understanding, the index would constantly update over time and always provide the most up-to-date information about an area.

What we learned

What's next for MapPal - Your Personal Safety Assistant

The next stage for MapPal is developing more complete iOS and Android native apps, further enhancing the machine learning model and including more features and past data to provide more accurate predictions and a safer experience for our users.

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