Giving solutions to addressing the world
- Value proposition
- What it does
- How we built it
- Challenges we ran into
- Accomplishments that we're proud of
- What we learned
- Next steps for Universal Address
The United Nations estimates that 4 billion people lack a reliable way to address their homes. They struggle to open bank accounts, register a birth or access electricity or water supplies, becoming invisible to the state. This paper states that four billion people are excluded from the rule of law, and that one of the reasons is a lack of proper addressing.
The Universal Address goal is "addressing the world", so we would love to provide an universal address (henceforth UA) for everyone in the world. We also love to provide super easy way to generate UA and resolve loation on a map from UA. To acomplish all our objectives, we chose a Facebook Messenger which is very popular and easy to use. We created a Chat Bot that allows user to create their own UA based on their location and also converting UA to geolocation. It seems cool, right? Let's get continue and we will give further information about our project :)
Maybe you'll wondering: "What's the main value of this project? If I'm a person who don't have an address, still I can share my geolocation using GPS". Well, you can share your geolocation, but it's hard to recognize and remember. The application even has the feature to share UA. Let's see some examples.
Let's suppose the following situations, and then we are going to say how we solves each case:
- Mail deliveries (e.g. snail mail, supplying packages): Let's suppose that we have printed papers with instructions for the delivery man to ship some packages. Many people, especially living in backwoods, usually don't have an address. In this case, they can generate UA. The UA is based on geolocation, so the delivery man can know the exact location.
- Applying for a job / Open a bank account: In many countries (Argentina for example), you must have an valid address to apply for a job or open a back account. With UA, everyone who don't have an address will be able have a unique address. In this way, they can apply for a job or open a back account.
What it does
As we said, our goal is "addressing the world". It was definitely a hard work, but we wanted to make it simpler with Facebook tools. That's the reason we created a Bot for Facebook Messenger. We've introduced a concept called "Universal Address" (UA). It's a way to express a specific locaction with human friendly languages like English. The UA always has the same structure, one word with one number, for example: apple 124. The key difference between this project and the existing project "what 3 words" is that we have the feature to generate an unique address per user.
About our Messenger Bot
The bot basically has two features: ask for your UA and get the UA location. If you ask for your UA and you don't have one yet, the bot will invite you to create one. To use this, all you have to do is just open Facebook Messenger and search for "Universal Address". Once a conversation is started, you'll get a quick replies:
- What's my UA?
- Get UA geolocation
Option: What's my UA?
In case you don't have an UA yet, once you choose this option, you will see a button (Send Location) to share your living location.
You can search for the locaction by address or just drag and drop a marker on the map.
And that's it! Now you have your own UA.
If you already have an UA, but you cannot remember, just choose "What's my UA?". Then the bot will show your UA again.
Option: Get UA geolocation
When the quick replies appear, you can choose the option Get UA geolocation to fetch geolocation information about some UAs you have. This allows you to get the exact geolocation of UA. The bot will gives you the map.
Just type the UA, then bot will provide you an map image with the exact location and a link to google maps.
About our API
We also provide a public API that allows to empower companies and goverments. How? Our API allows you to search by UA and get geolocation informations. It's useful for organizations want to send packages like Fedex, DHL, USPS, etc.
You can also get the information about how many people is living in a certain area. This is really needed feature for goverments to measure the population by grid area in their countries.
More information about our API, here is the technical information served with Swagger.
How we built it
This application was created with NodeJS. These are the main packages that we are using:
Challenges we ran into
Thanks to our technical experience, the challenge focused on how to give the best user experience, not just for the point of view from the common user, also taking care about developers using our API.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What we learned
Thanks to our multi-cultural team, we had the opportunity to know other kind of problems which are happening in the world and how to solve them with tech solutions.
Next steps for Universal Address
Some features we would like to add:
- Given some location, and considering some distance radius, we could show all the people who have an UA in that radius on a map
- Given a 3 word adderss, we could show all the people who have an UA in that portion of the planet.