Inspiration

You finished marathoning your favorite show on Netflix or just wrote your second fifteen-page paper for that history course. But now, it's late at night – two, three in the morning. You need to make it back home in the dark, but none of your friends are awake. It's cold and raining and you may or may not have any idea where you are going. For those of us who live on a college campus, this problem doesn't pose a challenge. We can easily call for a walking escort and have the safety and company of a friendly officer walk us back to our dorms. We know that many colleges offer this service to their students, and we know that a similar service could benefit people in cities across the world. So, for everyone else without the benefits of a non-stop walking escort service from their local campus police, wouldn't it be nice if you could find someone to walk with? If only, there was something – a service at the touch of your fingers, an app, perhaps – that could find a friendly neighbor that would be willing to walk you home?

What it does

If you want to walk somewhere, but are lost or feel unsafe, Walkr is the platform for you. By logging onto the app and inputting where you would like to go, you can search for someone nearby who would be willing to walk you to your final destination. If there is someone who is willing to walk you – a "walkr" as we like to call them – will be notified and given walking directions to your current and final locations through the Google Maps API. These "walkrs" can provide a sense of safety when walking late at night or a sense of direction when walking around in a new city. With the flip of a switch to enable walkr mode, a user can register as a walkr and help out those in their community who want a someone to walk with. With the help of a local "walkr," you'll never have to worry about walking alone late at night again.

Challenges I ran into

One of the biggest problems that we ran into was finding the locations of the walkrs nearby. It is imperative to the service that walkrs do not have to walk too far to find the person whom they will be walking with. If all walkrs had to push their current locations all the time, however, this would surely impact the battery usage of their phones. To solve this issue, we decided to make walkrs input the location – be it, neighborhood, district, or city - of their home address. Since most requests for a walkr will come at night, if a walkr has walkr mode enabled at night, the service will notify a walkr if there is a request in the vicinity of their home.

Furthermore, we also wanted to visualize the walkr's paths on a map. We spend much time on developing a method for overlaying the walkrs' paths to the person they are helping and the path that they will be taking with the person on a map using the Google Maps API.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

So far, we are most proud of visualizing walkrs paths over a map. We believe that it is really important for the walkrs to see the path that they will be taking with the person they are helping. We are also really proud of the product that we have created. We know how helpful waking escort services have been on college campuses across the country, and we hope to see a similar service become available for everyone, regardless of their location.

What I learned

All of us furthered our understanding of swift and mobile app development for iOS, especially with integrating Firebase and the Google Maps API.

What's next for Walkr

We hope to integrate background checks into the process of registering as a walkr to ensure that those being helped get the best service possible. Furthermore, we look forward to adding a survey at the end of each walk, so that users can rate the quality of their experience. We hope that both of these additions will further the mission of walkr in making the service enjoyable and safe.

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