At Carnegie Mellon, there is a supposed alumni golf cart that drives around campus on Tuesdays giving away free apparel for those wearing CMU themed clothing. However, although we all wear our CMU clothing on Tuesdays, we never see the cart. Thus, we were inspired to create an application that tracked campus occurrences like a sighting of the golf cart.
What it does
Overheard presents campus event regulation as a community experience. A user logs in and is presented with several categories to interact with. When one user posts under a category, other users can see the posts under this category in addition to viewing these occurrences on an interactive map display.
How we built it
The application was built with swift in XCode for iOS with use of the Google Maps API and Firebase for data storage. For the login process, we used the Firebase authorization features in addition to Firebase's Database and Storage systems for uploading images and data. Whenever a user posts a new entry into the system, the data is uploaded to Firebase's database. Then, whenever a user selects a category, all the Firebase data for that category is loaded. Furthermore, when the user selects the map view, the already-downloaded Firebase data is passed to the Google Maps API to display the interactive map data.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenges we ran into were with streamlining the login process with the authentication and making the application as seamless as possible between posting and viewing instances. We had lots of data flowing through the app so it was essential to keep the constant passing of data very clean.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
With this application, we wanted to truly make a useful tool for CMU students. To do this, we couldn't cut corners in areas like authentication and passing of data. This made the completion of the application within 24 hours very difficult so we are very proud of how seamlessly the app works in its current state.
What we learned
We learned a lot about effective passing of data through Firebase and through the Google Maps API. The application is made up of many different components that require references to the cloud, and this was certainly an area in which we gained a lot of expertise while working on Overheard
What's next for Overheard
In the future, our goals will be to have a simplified upload process, since this clearly takes up the most time on the user side. In addition, we will be adding functionality for user-created categories.