I was trying to think what people miss while being physically apart and quarantined. I came out with few ideas and decided to focus on the issues of the disability to travel around the world while most of the skies are closed. I thought it would be nice to get up with a platform that allows people to share their favorite places and see places other had shared. I believe this is the essence of Physically Apart, Virtually Connected and breaking the social distancing.

What it does

Virtual tour allows signed in users to share a place they like and invite others to virtually travel there. Each place has a description, tags, image and sections. Each section has its own description and images using a gallery. For example if you share Paris as a place you can use sections to different parts of the city or sites you can visit. A place does not have to be a city - It can be anything you think worth sharing with others.

Other members as well as anonymous visitors can see these places and enjoy the virtual tour there using the information and tips from real people who love their place and shared it with others. Each place is presented with all its sections and galleries. In order to search the places list visitors can filter it out by name, country or tags. Members can edit their places if they wish to modify its sections.

New Feature: You can now add google map link to a place you share. The link will be saved and a relevant map will be displayed on the place page.

How I built it

I used different databases for places and their sections and referenced each section to its relevant place. When a member adds a new place he or she can add sections using a lightbox passing data between the ligthbox and page. From the users side this separation is transparent and they do not have to worry about it. Another database supports the tags for the places and back-end javascript modules supports the countries and members functionality.

Challenges I ran into and learned from

One main challenge was to allow the use of an upload button to support media galleries rather then use several image fields. It took me a bit to realize how to use it correctly but it is up and running including the ability of members to delete and replace gallery items they have uploaded. I also challenged the display of a place author. The PrivateMemebrsData database permissions does not allow one to see information of others. I had to build another database with users names and display the correct name form there. Obviously I also had to come out with a solution for updating this database if a members changes his name.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I decided not to use the built-in blog system as I wanted more control in terms of data structure and code. I am proud of doing all from scratch.

What's next for Virtual Tour

My next step would be to add video support. Right now the galleries are working only with images. Another thing I would like to do is to approach travel agencies and encourage them to use the site to publish the places they would normally travel with their costumers. This will allow them to build some virtual presence for the time after Covid-19 virus. Another Idea I might use for further improvement would be to allow users to edit trip albums and send it to friends and family.

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