A team member had a frustrating experience with the tourism industry about a year ago. Last minute his parents had decided to travel to Washington DC - with a limited budget. He initially spent 2 hours looking for guided tours, but they were all extremely expensive. After deciding to explore on their own, there were much more logistical issues. Our team member had spent at least 6 hours, looking for different attractions, their ratings, paths and the prices for the optimal trip. During ideation, we started talking to international hackers and realized many travellers face similar problems all the time; demand for easy travel was there inspiring Wander, an app that makes travelling easier for everyone, locals and tourists.
What it does
Wander is an app designed with convenience and efficiency in mind- saving tourists time by providing the most direct and efficient route and eliminating the need to pay for expensive tour guides. With personalized destinations and personalized tours, Wander makes touring easy. As it should be. When the user first enters the Wander app, they have an option. To enter in their own destinations, or for Wander to generate destinations for the user to go to. Both options will lead to Wander creating the most efficient and time saving route to these destinations, and gives information about said attraction.
How we built it
Wander was built in Android Studio, and many of the functions such as getting a tourist attraction’s coordinates were achieved through the use of google APIs. The most helpful tool we used to develop Wander was the UiPath software. As noted in the “What we learned” section, we were all impressed by the ease that UiPath offered when automating our service. The UiPath Open Browser activity was used to open the Tripadvisor website that showcases all the tourist attractions in an area, and then the data scraping tool would extract the 15 top rated attractions and store them into a spreadsheet file. Then a sequence is ran which automatically uploads the spreadsheet from the local computer to the Google Cloud database so it could be sent to the Android application and suggested to the user. UiPath was used for getting and processing the data needed for Wander, something elaborated more on in “What we learned”.
Challenges we ran into
One major issue we faced was that a list was not returning the information from an API properly. This was a huge roadblock as this minor issue turned into a major one and took up most of our time trying to debug. Thankfully we got a mentor to help us with this issue, and once resolved it was fairly smooth sailing from there.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Pushing through the hackathon- for many of us, it was our longest/first hackathon. Having a straight up good time- all of us are Shad Sask 2019 alumni and had a fun time seeing each other again We are also proud of Michael.
What we learned
For many of us, it was our first time working with specific APIs such as Google Maps API, Google Places API, and Google Directions API. For ALL of us, however, was our first time using UiPath, and we all found it a truly interesting experience. UiPath helped us greatly by using web scraping technology to create a database of the top tourist attractions in the area. This was then transferred to a spreadsheet that our android app could access to help provide destinations to our user.
In the beginning we were all very intimidated by the idea of using UiPath- it was an unfamiliar software. We were quickly proven wrong as UiPath’s intuitive user interface made automating our service easy. Essentially, UiPath made a hard process incredibly easy to use.
Additionally, we learned bits of new information about app development for Android Studio through the internet and the mentors at Hack The North. Overall, lots of new knowledge was gained.
What's next for wander
In the future, Wander will be even more fitted to the user. By training a neural network to provide better suggestions of attractions based on even more factors, users will find that Wander is perfectly tailored to them. In terms of UX, the home screen would ideally have a changing icon in between the two people based on your current location, however, if users want to plan a trip ahead they can still enter locations and destinations from across the country. We are excited to see how Wander will change the tourism industry!