During Hurricane Irma, many of our friends and classmates were scared for their grandparents’ lives as they stuck strong in Florida. While the officials called for emergency evacuation, thousands ignored the warnings, believing that they could survive. Luckily, none of our friends’ families were harmed, but it was a close call with seventy-five deaths in Florida alone, and hundreds, if not thousands, devastated. We noticed that most if not all of the people injured, or killed were those who decided to stay despite evacuation orders.

What it does

Enter Out of Harm’s Way , our novel solution that allows friends and family to ensure the safety of their loved ones, notifying them should their loved ones choose to remain in the path of danger, whether they be facing hurricane, flooding, or heat wave. And, by tapping into the National Weather Service’s complete list of dangerous weather, the app ensures that you can be up-to-date on upcoming storms around you and your loved ones.

How we built it

We built an IOS application that uses the GPS to detect the location of a user and scan the current weather related warnings from the government. If a user is in danger, the contacts in his list of friends are notified with specifics of the danger, and are offered to text or call from within the app to convince their friend to get out of harm’s way.

Challenges we ran into

A major challenge was to find an accurate source of weather warnings. FEMA has good data, but alerts are often posted mostly after danger is passed. has much more timely data, but often report non-life-threatening data. We use that later National Weather Service’s source and compute a danger score using several factors such as danger, certainty, and immediacy of the events to avoid spurious alarms. In doing so, we filter out extraneous data to make the app more efficient and useful.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are excited that 3 high-schoolers could develop a potentially live-saving application by combining GPS location tracking and wireless communication all while performing language processing on Governmental Data to evaluate storm danger. We believe that many companies would be quite interested in augmenting their offering (e.g. weather data) by using peer pressure to influence people to take the right decisions.

What we learned

We learned that online database such as AWS and gcloud don’t meshed well with Apple’s programming environment. We benefited a lot from exchanges with other folks at the Hackathon. And we learned how much we can achieve in 36 hours.

What's next for Out Of Harm's Way

We want to build a secure jdango online server to provide secure data exchanges between users, and we want to pitch our solution to online weather companies. We know of one that is already interested. We really want to continue develop this app, because we feel that this app really has the potential to save lives.

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