From an initial stroke of inspiration appearing to us in the form of a poster, we developed an entire web application designed around letting users travel smarter and safer by using Travalert! Additionally, having two members from our team having travelled from the Northeast to the sweltering heat of Georgia for their first year of college, they were undoubtedly ill prepared to face the deathly rays of the sun along with a swarm of attacks of mosquitoes day in and day out. With Travelalert!, this problem is addressed by letting users know ahead of time what they may face in their coming travels whether that be weather or mosquitoes!
What it does
Travalert! takes in an ICalendar for a given schedule, and returns an ICalendar populated with important reminders and preventative measures for different weather conditions you face throughout your schedule. This new Calendar can then be synced into Google Calendar and other Calendar platforms for seemless integration into a given routine.
How we built it
We created an RShiny webapp as the basis of our project. It takes in an ICalendar formatted file and isolates future events and their locations. It then runs the locations through the Google Places API in order to find the coordinates of the location, which feeds into the Weatherbit API to retrieve forecasts for the day in question. We use this weather data to determine mosquito prevalence, and then package all of this information into an ICalendar event.
Challenges we ran into
Originally, we were going to make this in Java using Gradle and the Google Calendar API, but we quickly realized we were in over our heads and didn't have the necessary background to effectively build a Java Servlet based webapp. In order to keep a web-app structure, we pivoted over to R, which only 1/3 of our team had previous experience in.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being adaptable and learning new languages on the fly in order to finish a project, as well as having a working prototype for our first hackathon!
What we learned
2/3rds of us learned R for the first time, but we all had new experiences integrating HTML/CSS for UI/UX as well as utilizing APIs and public databases. This was also our first experience with ICalendar formatted files in both reading and writing new files.
What's next for Travalert!
Enable ability to embed calendar for Travalert without need to go through website. Add more information regarding allergies (pollen) and suggestions based on data (what to wear, vaccinations, etc)