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We love to travel, but how to make it more CO2 efficient?

How to hack travel – and save CO2 footprint

HackTravel took place in early October, with travel fans with a climate change anxiety joined forces.

By Dan Stapleton (Cybersalon.org and recent Physics graduate from Bath University)

I joined another full stack developer, where we quickly formed a team
quickly of two python data scientists (including me) and 2 front end
engineers.

We designed an app titled Through Our Eyes with an ambitious but
relatively simple idea:
- Create a city tour guide that used text-to-speech audio to
non-invasively direct app user to something within a specified time
away from current user
- Aim: to discover local business (often similar business of type
exist in clusters) not online vs taking long direct journeys to places
far away that the internet says is good -> Encourages walking and
taking public transport which have low CO2 foodprint.
- Encourages user to ignore instructions and visit locations that they
physically see vs what is just on the map but takes you also to
established locations of interest so you always feel a sense that
you’re going somewhere nice -> sort of like a game/discovery element
- Provides direction for blind and hard-of-hearing much like how you
would describe a route to someone in person – i.e take the first left
when you reach the first pub on the corner
- Would sample available open source audio recordings such as Queen
Mary’s University city tour say if interest was in history to play
while you walk

Tech and tools we used:
- Google development tools for Google Assistant and voice recognition
for interacting with the app to stop having to reach for phone
- OpenStreetMap (OSM) Location API since open source so not bias to
financial promotion
- Flask and gevent python libraries for production python webhook
- Javascript React for front end design and media player

What we achieved:
- Basic Google Assistant integration
- Assistant would initially ask, what you are interested in, where do
you want to go ultimately, and how long do you have available
- Simple Front end design that populates a map with corresponding
locations of interest and supports audio player
- Python Backend Webhook to host python scripts on server listing to
html requests
- Python script gathering and filtering location data based on
assistant POST message input from OSM API
- Hard-coded Queen Mary’s Audio city tour into app for ambient audio-player

What we would like to improve/add:

– App would plan itinerary route between locations of interest based
on time available

– Adaptive route planning that keeps telling you to move forward when
possible and still get to target destination (maybe slightly longer)
-> unlike satnav that keeps telling you to do U-turn

– Assistant would listen for voice commands during tour
- Integrate with Google Places API/websearch to get more information
about places on walk, i.e program a response to “what is ahead of me?”

– Encourage development of API/ database of geolocated audiofiles

Download (PDF, 2.39MB)

Email eva@never.com for more travel hackathons

About Karolina Janicka

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