Best poster competition winners announced

Congratulations to Isaac Williamson, Callum Mardle and Charlie Cook, whose final year project poster was voted as the best in an online vote by students and staff.

The poster illustrated their project, Timemap ‘The best app for searching accommodation. Built by students, for students’.

Following the cancellation of the computing showcase poster fair in March due to Covid-19, the School of Computing moved the poster fair online to celebrate the hard work put in by the final year students and supervisors. The students and staff in the School also had the opportunity to vote for the best poster as they would normally do with an on-campus event.

Orla Garratt, Marketing and Communications Manager for the School said, ‘We know how much work goes into the final year projects and it was such a shame that our students missed out on the chance to display their work and talk about their projects in person. The virtual fair was a way of displaying the high standard of work that we have come to expect from our students and we had a great response in the number of votes the posters received. A huge thanks goes to the team who helped get the posters, descriptions and voting online.’

Timemap Project description

Current property search tools only allow users to search for properties based on the distance from a single geographical area, in our own experience we have found this to be extremely limiting when searching for university accommodation. A much greater concern for students is the length of time it will take to get from their accommodation to their university campus.

Our project offers a more efficient property search tool for students, allowing them to search by specifying the duration of time they wish to be from their university by either walking, cycling or driving. Additionally, there are often secondary points of interest (shops, gyms, nightlife etc.) that students wish to be near to, therefore our project provides custom markers for users to place on the map, alongside a duration for each. This further refines their search results and supports them in finding their ideal accommodation.

Results

Our solution provides a responsive web application built with JavaScript library React. Users search for properties by selecting the time they wish to be from their selected university (128 UK universities supported), number of bedrooms and price. Our solution uses housing API Nestoria to return properties in the area that match the given parameters and results are passed to navigation API Mapbox. Calls are made to Mapbox, returning the duration from the university to each property and those that are within the given time requirements are presented on an interactive map. Users can add additional locations they wish to be near, which are appended to the matrix calls and only properties that match all requirements are displayed. Users can create a profile which allows them to save and load searches – both the user profiles and saved searches are facilitated using authentication and real-time databases on Google’s Firebase platform.