We were inspired to work on this project after talking to several people in the Trailahassee network. We are primarily motivated in ways to reduce barriers to citizen engagement in trails by providing delightfully easy technological tools.
What it does
We created a mobile web application (no new app for users to download!) that allows users to log their trail visits. This application will also collect valuable metrics for those that are interested in accessing aggregate trail usage data. The app also serves as a digital visitor trail log.
In addition, the app will present valuable trail information at the most important moments in their Trailahassee experience--at the beginning and end of their adventure.
How we built it
We built the app using express.js with an SQL backend, all hosted on Amazon AWS, and an AngularJS single page web application front-end. We integrated the following APIs:
- WeatherSTEM for real-time weather data
- Trailahassee ArcGIS data
- Google maps API
- Facebook and (potentially) STRAVA for authentication and gathering extra metrics
Challenges we ran into
- Obviously; there was not enough time to implement all of the features and functionality that we wished to. We spent some time focusing on edge-case guarding, which can slow a project down.
- We could have used more resources during the hackathon to bring the design to where we would like it to be.
- Deploying live Facebook authentication was a challenge due to SSL certificate issues on AWS
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Building and deploying a fully-functional web application running in production on a server with a functional API and front-end application.
- Integrating many APIs, including WeatherSTEM, Trailahassee Data, Google Maps, and Facebook in a meaningful way into the application.
What we learned
We gained practical experience on a myriad of technologies that we wanted to learn:
- Express (Sequelize ORM)
- WeatherSTEM APIs
- On-the-fly devops deployment
It was also valuable to work in impromptu teams to accomplish a common goal.
What's next for Tally TrailBlazers
We would love to gain feedback about the perceived efficacy of our approach to citizen engagement, and we would like to work on three primary tasks:
- Improving the user experience for Tallahassee Trailblazers;
- Building an aggregate dashboard for those who are interested in viewing and analyzing the data that Tallahassee Trailblazers collects; and
- Integrating with existing platforms, such as Trailahassee.com to provide richer information about trails and trail usage in Tallahassee. For example, oerhaps displaying trail visitor logs, trail visitors counts, etc.
NOTE - This website is currently only optimized for mobile (we haven't developed the desktop version yet :)). So, load it up in an emulator if you want to view how it appears on mobile: http://responsivepx.com/?tallytrailblazers.com%2F#324x558