Inspiration

Once in a while, one likes to wander into the night, specially in such a charming city as Boston. However, darkness and a feeling of safety do not often mix, specially in situations like this and, even though one might be surprised by a full moon once in a while, some nights are black as the pit from pole to pole. Streetlights are, on those occasions, terribly helpful. But nowadays many people trust blindly apps like Google Maps to move around a city, afraid to take a wrong turn, and apps like this never take into account how safe the journey might be.

This project was inspired by a real necessity - as a newcomer in Boston a few months ago, I wanted to discover the city by walking as much as possible, both day and night, but that would mean having to follow Google Maps to avoid getting completely lost. And it always seemed to get me home through the darkest path possible!

What it does

It explores the different alternatives routes to go from one destination to another and tells you which one is better lighted at night. It takes into account both the street lamps that you'll run into and the time it takes for you to get to your destination, as more time outside can also mean more danger. Its goal is to make your journey home safe after a fun night out without having to renounce to the idea of walking. Because sometimes (when the weather allows it) you just feel like walking and a feeling of insecurity due to darkness shouldn't stop you!

How we built it

First, we obtained the streetlights database of Boston from Analyze Boston (data.boston.gov) as coordinates. We then translated them into addresses using Google Maps Geocoding Api and were classified by streets.

Challenges we ran into

We used Google Cloud Platform for the first time, and it was much more challenging than we thought it would be. We were using a different version of python, the app engine was not working for some hours and putting our parts together was much harder than we thought it would be. Also, the back end needed us to put more thinking into it than we expected, since the data we obtained was not as wide as we would have liked.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We worked with google maps API and obtained quite good results. We were able to represent routes, geolocations and many other interesting things, while also working with a big dataset. Apart from that, we worked a lot and obtained pretty decent results, taking into account that we were just two people coding for 36 hours.

What we learned

Once in a while, one likes to wander into the night, specially in such a charming city as Boston. However, darkness and a feeling of safety do not often mix, specially in situations like this and, even though one might be surprised by a full moon once in a while, some nights are black as the pit from pole to pole. Streetlights are, on those occasions, terribly helpful. But nowadays many people trust blindly apps like Google Maps to move around a city, afraid to take a wrong turn, and apps like this never take into account how safe the journey might be.

This project was inspired by a real necessity - as a newcomer in Boston a few months ago, I wanted to discover the city by walking as much as possible, both day and night, but that would mean having to follow Google Maps to avoid getting completely lost. And it always seemed to get me home through the darkest path possible!

What's next for StreetLights will guide you home

Explore more alternatives, include crime rates around the city and more data of interest. Make it wider, including not only Boston, but other cities that may need it. We would also like to show all the streetlights in the map, and get even more accurate results with a friendlier interface that offers more options to the user. Finally, and more important, we'd love to finish putting everything together and getting a functional app.

Website

streetlightswillguideyouhome.com lightswillguideyouhome-193500.appspot.com

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