In times of disaster, there is an outpouring of desire to help from the public. We built a platform which connects people who want to help with people in need.
Natural disasters are an increasingly pertinent global issue which our team is quite concerned with. So when we encountered the IBM challenge relating to this topic, we took interest and further contemplated how we could create a phone application that would directly help with disaster relief.
What it does
Stronger Together connects people in need of disaster relief with local community members willing to volunteer their time and/or resources. Such resources include but are not limited to shelter, water, medicine, clothing, and hygiene products. People in need may input their information and what they need, and volunteers may then use the app to find people in need of what they can provide. For example, someone whose home is affected by flooding due to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina can input their name, email, and phone number in a request to find shelter so that this need is discoverable by any volunteers able to offer shelter. Such a volunteer may then contact the person in need through call, text, or email to work out the logistics of getting to the volunteer’s home to receive shelter.
How we built it
We used Android Studio to build the Android app. We deployed an Azure server to handle our backend(Python). We used Google Maps API on our app. We are currently working on using Twilio for communication and IBM watson API to prioritize help requests in a community.
Challenges we ran into
Integrating the Google Maps API into our app proved to be a great challenge for us. We also realized that our original idea of including a blood donation as one of the resources would require some correspondence with an organization such as the Red Cross in order to ensure the donation would be legal. Thus, we decided to add a blood donation to our future aspirations for this project due to the time constraint of the hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are happy with our design and with the simplicity of our app. We learned a great deal about writing the server side of an app and designing an Android app using Java (and Google Map’s API” during the past 24 hours. We had huge aspirations and eventually we created an app that can potentially save people’s lives.
What we learned
We learned how to integrate Google Maps API into our app. We learn how to deploy a server with Microsoft Azure. We also learned how to use Figma to prototype designs.
What's next for Stronger Together
We have high hopes for the future of this app. The goal is to add an AI based notification system which alerts people who live in a predicted disaster area. We aim to decrease the impact of the disaster by alerting volunteers and locals in advance. We also may include some more resources such as blood donations.