Hack Attack: Get Me to the Game


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The Rugby World Cup has come to the UK. Finally. You don’t want to miss a minute of it. But your meeting has run late and you only have 20 minutes to get to a TV screen to watch the game. You’re hours from home and you don’t know where the closest pub is. WTF do you do?

This is the kind of first world problem thousands of us in the UK will be facing over the next few weeks. Or will we? Here at We Are Social we set out to help solve this with a hack day.

Hold on – what is a hack day?
Well, according to Wikipedia:

A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software.

Why do we hack?
The reason we do a monthly hack day is to experiment with applying social thinking to creative tech – educating ourselves, our clients and the industry while having fun and pushing ourselves.

How does it work?
The dev, creative, design teams get in a room for a day and work on a brief. It has to be completed by the time everyone goes home – or else. On this hack we partnered with three creative undergraduates from Ravensbourne college who added some brilliant outside perspective to the problem we were looking to solve.

What was that problem?
You’ve been busy at work all day and you look up at the clock and you realise that the next Rugby World Cup game is starting soon. You don’t know which pubs you and all your mates can get to before kick off.

What was our solution?
#GetMeToTheGame is a hack that plots a route to all of the pubs in the UK you can get to in time BEFORE the next RWC game starts by public transport. Once you’ve chosen a pub, you can share the location with your buddies and they can plot their route too.

How does it work? (Technically)
When you land on the app and click “get my location”, we use HTML5 Geolocation in order to get your coordinates. Then, we take advantage of the Google Maps JavaScript SDK including the Places Library to find “pub” venues that are within the reach of your location, taking into account the time left until the next game.

When you choose a pub as your destination and click “Invite your friends”, an Ajax request is sent to the server, and a meeting is created with all the relative information (initial user location and and selected pub). We used MongoDB for the data storage, which is ideal for quick hacks as it doesn’t require you to set a database schema, you just store the data and that’s it. A unique link is then created that you can tweet, and through this link, invited users can follow a similar process, but with their meeting already set to the one they’ve been invited to.

Wins and Losses
We’re pretty pleased with what we managed to do in one day, and what we learnt as a result, but the app would need more development to be really useful. The crucial bit that’s missing is that we don’t know which pubs are actually showing the games. Google doesn’t have this information and there’s not a source online (we could find) that tells us this. If we were going to do a V2 of this we’d have to find out which pubs were showing the match.

What you need to do now
#GetMeToTheGame will be live for the duration of the the RWC. Please remember this was built in one day in a mad rush so it’s not perfect and may have some bugs. Please be patient with it and realise it is purely an experiment. But enjoy experimenting, and hopefully we’ll help you get to a pub, with a pint in your hand ready for kick off!