There are a lot of people who go to a country where they do not know anyone, and for us that was our parents. They came here to the United States and when they came they had a hard time meeting people because when they arrived they did not know anyone or could, so we decided that we did not want anyone else to have to go through that experience.

What it does

The United Compass Project takes stories from recent immigrants and community members to build an interactive map that showcases journeys and experiences to bring awareness and appreciation of the diversity of immigrants’ stories. By painting a picture of a diverse community, immigrants are encouraged to find a sense of belonging in a community that shares similar experiences with them

A website visitor can begin by submitting a story, which then translates to a graphic on the map. The visitor can also explore the interactive map and see other stories.


Submitting Stories: Anyone who visits the website, whether existing community members or recent immigrants, can submit their story with the prompt “I live here because…” to be inclusive of both our main target audiences.

Resources: Curated list of links to website that are useful for recent immigrants.

Reading stories: The side bar provides recent submitted stories.

Visualizing stories: Each story submitted creates a line from origination to destination.

Searching: People are able to search around their community to discover stories that might be everything from drastically different from theirs to very similar.

How I built it

Some of the CSS came from the Bootstrap library. mySQL was used for the database, with PHP being used to connect to the front end. The maps were built using the Google Maps JavaScript API, and JS was also used to hide/show a form. Non-coding software we used include Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

Challenges I ran into

Having never built a website with SQL before, there certainly was a large learning curve. Additionally, the ambiguity during the design process led to a lot of changes during the production process. Initially, I spent a lot of time building on a Slim PHP framework, both v2 and v3, but eventually just settled on a static site. Additionally, there were a lot of challenges integrating many different programming languages, PHP, JavaScript, etc., together. One time, I had to transfer data from a database to a Google Maps API, so I used PHP to output the data as HTML text, which was read using JavaScript to feed into the API and output back onto the site.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We all were very positive even when we were sleep deprived! Each one of us contributed valuable products whether that be software or non-software related. Coming together as a team to overcome stress, difference in opinion or perspective, and utilizing member's talents were all important accomplishments that were achieved.

What I learned

We learned to appreciate others talents and respect their hard work. We learned to take responsible amount of breaks while keeping a good work ethic.

What's next for The United Compass

Adding multiple languages, improved mobile functionality, and more security with APIs and against possible SQL injection will be the next step to improve the United Compass. Using our business and marketing plan we created, the impact of The United Compass can be large enough to change perspectives of people in the St. Louis community and beyond.

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