What happens when your life makes a 180 turn. Laughter, friends, your children, your parents; down to your daily life matters such as food, and where you take shelter. You realize the importance of many things in life you take for granted.

In these times we look back and long for the routines in our life, social gatherings, taking breaks from our job or from life itself and exploring the wonders this world has to offer. As we begin to accept the "New Normal", we see the world as the glass is always half full. How do we get the world to see it the way we do? By making small changes within ourself and by lending a helping hand.

But how? Being travelers and entrepreneurs too, we feel the pain of others who ride the same wave. This is how TravelMate was born.

What it does

Providing real time COVID-19 statistics across all counties in the world, up to date Announcements, attractions in each city, connecting businesses with people

How I built it

After numerous research done on Covid-19 resources available over the web, we have decided that the app must obtain statistics and information from trusted sources. With COVID-19 Public Datasets by Google BigQuery Public Datasets Program, it supplies necessary raw data, which is sourced from JHU.

We then kick-off the application development by applying data aggregation, formatting those raw data into our application specific requirements, by using Firebase Cloud Function. The platform service served as intermediary between the mobile app and Google Cloud Big Query service. This helps to protect those business logic that does not expose to external parties directly. On top of that, we also leverage Cloud Firestore, for quick and easy storage, on information to be pulled or synchronized to the device.

Last but not least, is the matter to present those useful data on the screen, at the mobile application, written in Flutter. We spend a quick time to design the application flow, navigation and data model, quickly kick start with the development processes, as the clock was ticking and we are in a rush to catch up with the schedule.

With rich technical resources available over the web, it allows us to complete those 3 modules within a very short period of time, and it works and integrated seamlessly.

Challenges I ran into

How to turn a negative event into something positive. When travel comes to mind, families and holidays come to mind which are all happy thoughts. To build something that brings the current events to mind and yet encourages people to travel and stay safe at the same time.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

All of it! It was a journey from brainstorming, design, building, determining how to present our completed product. If we had to pinpoint one, being able to build something that is flexible and useable even after the pandemic.

What I learned

Being boggled by the idea of building something with so many ideas, then narrowing down and settling on the main ideas to go with, taking into account the timeframe and wanting to meet all the criteria required. The research done to build this app has brought so much more light on how people and businesses around the world felt about COVID-19, how much we did not know, and come to learn to appreciate. And the hardest part, leaning to accept nothing is perfect but learning to work with what you have within the given time.

What's next for TravelMate

So much more! Future plans include incorporating the onboarding of businesses into the app and allowing them to promote their services. Displaying nearby attractions, accommodations, and shops when the user selects the selected country and area they plan to visit. Perusing big data to suggest, market, and promote. Offering small businesses an opportunity to showcase and promote their products and services. Allowing the user to plan their trips by sending push-notifications for any new alerts or news for the areas they have planned so travelers are well aware of what's to come and plan their trip accordingly. To further enhance the application post-Covid-19 and ensure the usability of the app beyond the current pandemic.

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