One of our team members simply came up with the idea and it sounded pretty solid to the rest of us. We did research and did not find much else out there like our idea, and we, therefore, decided to give it a shot!
What it does
Wander is an iOS, Android, and web app that allows users to enter their GPS location or coordinates (latitude and longitude) to generate a list of nearby water sources sorted by distance by analyzing data from the USGS service. Users are then able to select from the list of water sources and view any available information on the water source, including ph, temperature, flow, depth, height, location, and more.
How we built it
First, we planned out the front end of our app using Figma, an app mapping software. We then built the backend of the program using Python to test that this idea would work. We found the USGS online database to have the best API and resources which would let us parse data and present it in our app. We then used the python script to develop dart code to integrate with the Flutter framework to allow for cross-platform app development. We simultaneously began learning and coding the front end of the app, incorporating many widgets and functions.
Challenges we ran into
Of four team members, two of us had never created a mobile app nor had any experience with any other coding language other than java. The other two members still had very limited experience with flutter and dart. We had to spend a lot of time watching videos, researching, and troubleshooting to learn these new skills while trying to code the project in time for a submission. Another challenge was having to transfer the python backend code into dart with flutter which presented itself to be no easy task given our lack of experience with both SDKs. The last major issue was a lack of site-specific data from USGS, most sites/nodes had no data available.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Proud of putting together our first (or second) app, proud to have learned an entirely new language (not to perfection, but a large amount in a very short amount of time)
What we learned
Two team members had never created a mobile app before. We learned how to use the Flutter framework and program in Dart, which involved truly understanding how the language worked, as well as learning how to use the command line and GitHub along the way. We also had to learn how to parse through and find data online to power our app.
What's next for Wander
Expand to add global databases (beyond the US), and allow users to log data on water sources, especially those that lack data already. Also to include pages on water safety and decontamination methods simply for educational purposes. The app is also applicable for companies to research and find water sources based on various locations, allowing the app to be a great tool for infrastructure planning in remote access areas and more.
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