All of our team members grew up in suburban residential neighborhoods, and connecting with friends was an important part of our childhood. Making short-term plans was difficult, often leading to missed opportunities. While brainstorming ideas for what to build during this hackathon, we came up with an idea to allow us to easily hangout with friends nearby, especially in groups. Knowing that Facebook friends are a much wider range of acquiantances than the 5 to 7 people we talk to regularly, Where Ya App (WYA) allows us to easily reconnect with friends who might be in the area. In addition, it helps you find great hangout places based on where your friends have checked into in the past.
What it does
An application that uses the Facebook and Google Maps API to track friends’ locations based on check-ins (restaurants, social events, bars, etc.), letting you know where they're at. It ranks famous (past), hot (current), and rising (future) locations based on the frequency of location check-in. The app alerts users when a certain condition has been met (X number of friends have checked in to location Y).
Potential Uses: 1) Social - Connect friends in your location 2) Safety - Know where your loved ones are in the case of an emergency 3) Advertising - Potential source of advertisement for local businesses and organizations to attract users of the application
Functionality: 1) Data Aggregation of user's check-in locations via their profiles 2) Ranking of locations using an elaborate sorting algorithm 3) Notification and alerts every time a certain amount (specified by user) of friends check in at a specific location
How we built it
1) AWS SDK 2) Firebase SDK 3) Google Places API 4) Google Maps GMS API
Challenges we ran into
1) Getting the ranking algorithm to appropriately sort through a wide range of user's locations and frequencies 2) Collaborative Git usage and merge conflicts 3) Issues with AWS and incompatibiity between our SDK and FireBase backend 4) Errors with concurrency, stack overflows, efficiency
Accomplishments that we're proud of
1) App's ability to track locations and upload them to an external database for use throughout the application 2) Ranking and sorting algorithm that displays current hotspots 3) Use of multiples APIs and close-to-full functionality
What we learned
1) Storing and pulling from databases 2) UI/UX Design 3) Working with multple APIs (Google Maps, Facebook) 4) Collaborative GitHub usage 5) Firebase backend solution
What's next for Where Ya App
1) Building the notification system (with user input via settings) 2) Improving the UI to allow for more flow between the activities 3) Adding Rising categories for future user preference and Famous locations checked into in the past