It is said that those who have stronger social connections not only are mentally and physically healthier, but might also have an advantage to living a longer life. However, during times like these where social distancing has become the new norm, people of all ages are struggling to find balance between taking care of their mental and physical health. Our goal here at sociiz is to help facilitate socialization in a manner that is both safe and fulfilling.

What it does

Sociiz is a web application that allows users to observe the density of people at any location at any given time. This type of information is vital as users are able to gauge how safe a location is to visit based on how many people are currently there. When visiting a new area, users will indicate when they get there, what time they leave, and the number of people in their party, if applicable. For the case where a certain location has not yet been listed, users will also have the opportunity to input that location. This promotes greater user interaction and rapid growth of the application. There are individual pages for each location, containing information regarding the operating hours, the number of people present, reviews, as well as descriptions. An exclusive feature available to all users of Sociiz is the innovative local-text component, which sends a text message to individuals within the geographical area when it exceeds a predetermined “safe” population number. Users can then choose to remain or to depart at their own discretion.

How I built it

The interactive map that is featured prominently on our website was designed through the use of the Google Maps API. This allowed for the seamless integration of geographic data into our backend code, greatly enhancing the user experience. Our data input page was developed using the Flask Python package, which allows for the use of Python functions and code in HTML files. The data collected from this page is then organized for greater ease of access with the use of the numpy python package and is moved to a database for further use. The graphs were developed with the ChartJS library. Information saved to the database included time, obtained using the python time package, user information and population values, allowing for easy interpretation by users. The graphs also all have the option to remove specific data sets, allowing for future expansion in the form of a greater series of potential data sets, like age for instance. We also managed to include SMS capabilities into our project. Using the numpy package, we are able to track sharp increases in population at our various locations. Substantial increases are noted, and a message will be sent to all users currently at or on the way to one of these locations. Twilio was used to develop this aspect of the project. The pages on this site were all developed from scratch using HTML. Great care was taken to ensure the pages were both visually appealing while also being functional in nature. Users can find a wealth of information on potential meeting sites and are greeted with helpful reviews left by other site users.

Challenges I ran into

Though it may not be apparent on the surface level, there were challenges associated with almost all aspects of this project. Some of the most notable ones were incorporating real-time data, learning how to use the Google Maps API, working with flask and having python functions operating on a javascript web base.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Throughout the process of creating this project, each and every single one of us gained substantial knowledge in various coding languages, and were even able to implement some of what was taught in the Machine Learning seminar. More specifically, we were inspired to use the numpy python package in order to organize the data collected from the data input page. One of our proudest accomplishments includes the ability for our application to reflect real-time data, which was considerably difficult to execute. Most of all, we were able to make decisions quickly and effectively when attempting to solve any issues that arose.

What I learned

Beyond the technical elements related to creating sociiz, what was truly imperative to producing the final product was the teamwork our members displayed throughout these past two days. Individually, there is no doubt that the skills are there, however without the exceptional synergy of our team, it is without a doubt that we would have been able to succeed. We also learned that it is possible to create solutions to relevant issues using the emerging technologies of today.

What's next for sociiz

Sociiz is currently in its infant stages, however it undoubtedly has the potential for unprecedented growth and significant impact. Expansion towards a mobile app is one of our next goals, in order to be even more accessible towards users. Using Sociiz could then be as easy as simply linking location data from a user’s phone to the app, which can update information without ever needing the user to lift a finger.

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