Our first meeting, we found it difficult to find a good place to meet up and talk about what we were going to do for the hackathon. One of our team members was frustrated about that first meeting, so the next meeting we had, this idea of an app that helps groups meet up was brought into being.

What it does

MeetUp finds a meeting location for a group of people that minimizes work. That is, the group travels less aggregate distance to the meeting location. This should, on average, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (more on this in "What's next") as well as suggest a reasonable and convenient location to meet up. Groups can meet up for various occasions, such as for food, academic purposes, business, or even a preliminary meeting location so that the group can carpool together. This highlights some of MeetUp's greatest advantages to other similar logistics and planning applications: its flexibility, versatility, and ease of usage.

How we built it

We started with a bot building kit called Botkit Studio, which is hosted on a site called Glitch and built in Node.js. From there on out, we translated our simple idea into code, learning how to write Javascript, use GitHub, and implement APIs to our application's needs. Eventually we switched from Glitch to Heroku because the latter did not have severe latency issues.

Challenges we ran into

One of the biggest hurdles that stood in our way was communicating the location of each user between Javascript files. Eventually, we solved this problem by outputting the information into a JSON file and reading it from the file that required the information.
Some other challenges (of the more affecting but less interesting kind) were slow internet speeds and Glitch's tendency to fail to load our code ("glitch").

Accomplishments that we're proud of

(omg we made a bot and have someone to talk to now!!)

What we learned

Succeeding in creating this application required learning how to use Javascript, reading and understanding the Botkit's documentation, using hosting software such as heroku, and optimizing work/sleep dynamic (for first-time hackers).

What's next for MeetUp

• Making it more user-friendly and friendly
• Adding more specifiers and settings to the location search query
• Improve meeting-location-searching algorithm by factoring in location-affecting factors such as the curvature of the earth, traffic, mode of transportation, cost if using ride-sharing service, and more

Other information

Facebook page:
Apparently there is already a Meetup company (you can find their website here). Unfortunately for them, we had already decided on MeetUp as the official name of our application, and as such we will not be changing our identical ignoreCase name. Unfortunately for us, we had to use inferior names when we created the Facebook page.

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