November 13th, 2015 is a day that will forever be remembered by the citizens of Paris. Multiple terrorist attacks resulted in the deaths of over 120 innocent French citizens. Society’s response was the “PorteOuverte” initiative, an attempt to shelter victims of the attacks. Although well-intentioned, the government has acknowledged that this response was ineffective due to discord between safe-house “hosts” and authorities.
In order to produce effective results, we have designed a web-application that facilitates communication between victims and a compassionate community. Our project has been expanded to encompass natural disasters as well. Our overall aim is to provide those in need with temporary shelter and supplies, and expedite the rescue of refugees all over the globe. Our application gives users the capability to assist others as well as ask for assistance whenever needed. Since the vast majority of the population has access to the internet even during time of emergency, we decided that the most appropriate platform for our app would be web-based. However, we also allow users to download our application directly to their home page for quick and easy access.  Additionally, our simple, user-friendly interface allows panicked individuals to effortlessly use the app. Every feature of the app contributes to a facile experience. For example, the embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) guides victims to safety with the click of a button. Those in need also have the ability to contact hosts through the “shelter-view” tab. Google’s advanced Firebase Technology permits hosts to publish their secure location along with any other relevant information. Furthermore, our app includes an RSS feed, from live media sources, which allows all users to remain updated of the crisis. Our app grants users the capability to log their personal experiences; this has been proven by experts to promote serenity. Lastly, logging one’s experiences also  allows historians to cite these entries as primary sources in the future.

Some of the challenges we faced included the integration of Google Maps and Firebase with the use of custom icons, as well as parsing XML in javascript. Two of our teammates were completely new to hackathons, and although to some it may be a draw, we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to bond and learn. In the future, we would like to optimize Facebook functionality and implement shelter ratings. Overall, we loved building this application, and we thank Make School for providing this great opportunity to hack for 24 hours with a couple of friends.

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