This March I participated in the ECCE App Challenge as part of the team from Western University. I had the chance to join the team led by Western Geography People’s Society co-president Victoria Barlow (shout out to Victoria for taking the lead). This year’s app challenge theme was heath – our app focused on accessibility and the benefits of active transportation, highlighting active transportation routes in the city of London with good accessibility features using open geospatial data. We used ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online Web AppBuilder to do some spatial analysis, scoring active transportation routes based on their accessibility features. We also used Survey123 to customize a form to report accessibility issues, and embedded it the Web App. You can see our app here. Survey123 is definitely a useful tool for recording, organizing and retrieving geospatial data, and is very practical for the purposes of our app. What could be an easier way to indicate the location of an accessibility issue than to point to it on a map?! Geospatial data can be so practical and powerful.

Part of the goal was to effectively divide up the work, to make sure our team spent the right amount of time on each of the components and the project as a whole. Completing the components of the App Challenge in just one week took quick team decision making and a good time management plan. Having to collaborate remotely due to the abrupt disruption of the semester in March did not make completing the App Challenge any easier, but we managed to make it work and actually collaborate pretty effectively using Zoom and other digital tools. Using AGOL to organize our group was the easiest way to share and collaborate on the components of the project; it provided an easy way to share our geospatial data with each other and a central place to bring all the components of the project together through the groups feature.

The ECCE github page showing all the App Challenge submissions is great, it’s really worth a browse. Showing the authors’ names next to their app submissions really highlights everyone’s hard work and the variety of creative skills involved, from programming to video editing. It is fun to learn who is behind the submissions, and keep the App Challenge people-centric. The winning team from U of T created a great app. It’s very impressive to see how much they were able to accomplish in just one week, having made a great app and still finding the time to create a very professional video after. Congrats to the 2020 winners from U of T and the runners-up from York, McMaster and U of C!