The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we go about everyday errands and trips. Along with needing to plan around wait times, distance, and reviews for a location we may want to visit, we now also need to consider how many other people will be there and whether its even a safe establishment to visit. Planwise helps us plan our trips better.
What it does
Planwise searches for the places around you that you want to visit and calculates a PlanScore that weighs the Google reviews, current attendance vs usual attendance, visits, and wait times so that locations that are rated highly, have few people currently visit them compared to their usual weekly attendance, and have low waiting times are rated highly. A location's PlanScore changes by the hour to give users the most up-to-date information about whether they should visit an establishment. Furthermore, PlanWise also flags common types of places that are prone to promoting the spread of COVID-19, but still allows users to search for them in case they need to visit them for essential work.
How we built it
We built Planwise as a web app with Python, Flask, and HTML/CSS. We used the Google Places and Populartimes APIs to get and rank places.
Challenges we ran into
The hardest challenges weren't technical - they had more to do with our algorithm and considering the factors of the pandemic. Should we penalize an essential grocery store for being busy? Should we even display results for gyms in counties which have enforced shutdowns on them? Calculating the PlanScore was tough because a lot of places didn't have some of the information needed. We also spent some time considering which factors to weigh more heavily in the score.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We're proud of being able to make an application that has actual use in our daily lives. Planwise makes our lives not just easier but safer.
What we learned
We learned a lot about location data and what features are relevant when ranking search results.
What's next for Planwise
We plan to further develop the web application and start a mobile version soon! We would like to further localize advisory flags on search results depending on the county. For example, if a county has strict lockdown, then Planwise should flag more types of places than the average county.