Inspiration

The Great Lakes provide freshwater for surrounding regions and are often taken for granted by people in these areas. The importance of the Great Lakes is immeasurable from supplying water to producing hydro power. Reducing plastic waste pollutants and fertilizers from runoff water are two of many ways to help protect the lakes and ensure that their freshwater supply remains usable in the future. We wanted to create a way to spread awareness about the issue in public places.

What it does

Protecting Our Freshwater is an interactive informational program that will be available to the public by being put on display on public monitors by river fronts, parks, etc. Its purpose is to inform the public about the importance of the Great Lakes and to suggest ways that people can help protect them. The program features a map that zooms in and out of the Great Lakes, controlled by scrolling. Within the map, information tidbits appear with facts about the Great Lakes, their importance, and what is harming them. Some of the tidbits include small water-protection-themed mini-games that a user can play while exploring the program. The map also contains a QR code link that users passing by on their phone can use to read more about the issue if they are interested. Links to donate to the cause and to a change.org petition are also included.

How we built it

We built our program in Pygame and separated tasks so different parts of the program could be assembled simultaneously. Every so often, we would sync our code so we could both remain on similar pages while coding, and to prevent the trouble of having to merge different programs later on.

Challenges we ran into

Many of the challenges we faced came with the game designs. Getting game mechanics to work properly took a fairly long time, and trying to keep the FPS relatively constant to prevent lagged proved difficult as well. A good chunk of time was also spend finding a way to make the map zoom without looking terrible.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Eventually, the zoom-scroll mechanic became nicer and more fluent, which served as a relief. Furthermore, being able to merge codes without much trouble was a great benefit to us.

What we learned

First, we grew our collaboration and team-building skills. We learned the importance of time management and keeping our codes relatively in sync.

What's next for Protecting Our Freshwater

The future of our project is to continue with the same purpose it was made for, being to inform the public about the importance of preserving the Great Lakes. We are continuing to come up with new ideas of ways to raise awareness and how we can execute them, both inside and outside of this project.

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