I wanted to help with the pandemic crisis, and apply my unique skillset to the task.

It's a map-based "bulletin board" that anyone can browse and post to, quickly and easily.

The map is populated with pins. A green pin means"offering help"; a red pin means "help needed". The pin design also indicates whether it's an individual or organization. Clicking a pin displays a name, type(s) of help needed/offered, contact info, and misc. notes.

Add your own pin by entering your address and filling out a simple form.

You can delete your own pin at any time, (and, soon, edit it as well.)

It tracks specific info for larger organizations such as hospitals, including organization size, unlimited contacts, and individual contact names.

For ease of use as well as speed of launch, all info is public, requiring no logins or elaborate security. Users are encouraged to protect their own privacy by using initials, nicknames, etc. and temporary email addresses or social networking accounts. Users retain control of each pin they create with a site-generated "keycode" (password).

I'm using PHP and MySQL on AWS Lightsail, with mapping powered by Google Maps.

I've never used the Google Maps API before, so that has proven to be a challenge for me.

I went from nothing to a fully-functioning alpha version in 4 part-time days.

I've learned that the Google Maps API is surprisingly flexible. I needed a lot of things from it that I thought were random and specific, but it was able to everything perfectly.

The trade-off is that the Google Maps API will be _ expensive _ if this takes off. AWS hosting could also be a not-insignificant cost, although a bit more predictable.

I've also been reminded how important it is to solicit feedback early and often. I waited a while and ended up doing a little re-architecting relatively late in the process as a result.

Next up: Adding edit capability, and localization for non-English countries.

Try It out



amazon-web-services, google-maps, html, javascript, mysql, php, sql

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