Bench Spot

Created by Amir Roshankar, Gillian Tsoi, Edward Zhuang

Our application

Bench Spot is a navigation app based in Toronto that you can use on your neighbourhood (and non-neighbourhood!) walks to help you find and navigate to nearby benches, public washrooms, garbage and recycling bins, and more!

How it works

Bench Spot uses your phone’s current location, the latitude and longitude data of all city furniture and calculates the distances to find and display the ones nearest to you!

Technologies we used

We used Java for the backend and XML, built the app in Android Studio with map integration through the Google Maps API, and collected our data from the City of Toronto Open Data Set.

Accomplishments and what we learned

It was very cool to use real location data and integrate a Google Map in our app that works with the data to display something even seemingly trivial, like bench locations in Toronto. In addition, being able to make the app dynamic by using the user's current location to update the nearest bench was neat. Individually, we were all proud of figuring out how to solve many of the problems plaguing us as we worked, as it was a first-time experience for all of us using Android Studio.

Amir: I worked with the Google Maps API to connect the app's backend to the .xml frontend in Android studio. It was really frustrating working trying to learn the API, but through enough tutorials, I managed to implement the Map and its features into the app.

Gillian: I have experience in developing websites, but I have never created an app. I learned a lot about Android Studio and XML and I hope to be able to use this new knowledge in the future.

Edward: Personally, I was really happy when I finally figured out how to extract and parse raw data (.csv) files into the app. It was bothering me for quite some time, and it felt great once I got it all working.

The future

Given more time, we definitely would have wanted to actually deploy the app using Google Cloud so that the general public could use it.

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