We, the servaMap team, anticipate that the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our economy throughout the rest of the year as eased measures of social distancing will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Although businesses will start to slowly open back up, decreased sales will have lasting damage on those who are especially vulnerable. Our solution mainly aims to mitigate the damage from the nationwide economic lockdown.
ServaMap, a web-based map interface can display and provide useful information for both the business owners and regular customers. With consent, we first collect users' location anonymously. Along with Google Maps API, we use the location data to see which businesses have how many numbers of customers in a given moment. Then, the customers can make their own independent decision as to which business is so not crowded and therefore is relatively safer to visit. However, because of certain privacy issues, we make sure that the location data remain anonymous to the other users, and each user can only view the location data within certain parameters.
For an interactive UI/UX, we display pinpoints on the map interface showing how many people are in certain malls and businesses. Furthermore, we have an additional functionality where people who need urgent help can display out a pinpoint of emojis based on their circumstances. For instance, a pinpoint of food emoji means that they need food in their location, and a baby emoji means that they need help with babysitting. Once a regular user comes in to find local businesses around them, we also show that there are people in their neighborhood in need of help. This community-based approach will be the most efficient and economical way of protecting small businesses and neighbors. This implementation can be scaled to provide disaster relief, when the southern part of the country gets hit by a tornado, for example. We are in the process of making a hotline phone number for those who don't have ready access to the internet. With the help of IBM Watson, we can parse out calls and extract information about what people are requesting, whether that is food, face masks, or other things, and also put them in the list of people who had requested for care.