Hacker Highlight: ACTonClimateChange

Featuring: Shraeya Srinivasan

Welcome back to our Hacker Highlight series! Looking for inspiration on projects to do at home? We wanted to bring you some of the fun and creative projects we saw at HackBeanpot 2020 to help get you thinking about a project of your own! This week we are featuring Shraeya Srinivasan, one of the creators of ACTonClimateChange, who talked with us about her experience at HackBeanpot ♻️

You can check out the final project here: https://actonclimatechange.com

What inspired you to build ACTonClimateChange?

Our inspiration and motivation to build our ACTonClimateChange webpage was the lack of necessary attention and action we were seeing from our politicians in combating the climate crisis. We aim to garner greater efforts from the public with our project to encourage people to learn and demand change from their local representatives. With our platform, we want our users to feel empowered to take action with us in this important cause by donating to global environmental conservation organizations and have access to their local representatives to demand change.

What did you learn along the way?

We learned the most important aspects of developing and implementing a working project from scratch. It would’ve been easy to give up after the long obstacles of finding effective and interpretable climate change data or issues with CSS and JavaScript, but we all learnt to approach problems and challenges differently each time we got stuck. Each of us learned new libraries, languages, programs, and platforms to collectively create our project. We were also able to gain strong team collaboration skills and experience.

What part of your project are you the proudest of?

We are incredibly proud of our clean and beautiful end result. We were able to accomplish more than we could’ve imagined in the less than forty hours given to us. Our visuals and interface came together nicely and were a wonderful representation of the data we researched. We felt that we successfully found creative solutions to each and every one of our challenges and wholly encompassed our projects goals.

Could you talk about how you went about the visual work for your project?

Our web application hosts effective static and interactive web-based visualizations of climate change data, provides links to donate and promote change, offers the means to contact local representatives, outlines relevant news articles, and presents social media links and messaging capabilities for more information.

We first conducted novel analysis of climate change occurrence and consequence data in our data collection and preprocessing stages. We analyzed initial visualization with Tableau to understand trends. Our static plot visualizes natural disaster reports from 1900 to 2020 using Tableau. Our first interactive map built using plot.ly shows the increase in earth surface temperatures over the years by state. Our second animation was built using matplotlib in python to map the trend of change in global ice sheet mass onto a 3d model to visualize a glacier following the rate of change in mass over the past 15 years. Our interactive horizontal scroll table allows users to choose a state to contact one of their many state representatives.

Along with hosting our effective static and interactive web-based visualizations of climate change data and the means to contact local representatives, our web application provides links to donate and promote change, outlines relevant news articles, and presents social media links and messaging capabilities for more information.

Anything you would like to say about your experience at HackBeanpot?

All three of us had an amazing learning experience at HackBeanpot. It was crazy to see how a simple idea we had thought of with no prior preparation or experience working together could become a concrete and fully functional project. HackBeanpot was such a positive and supportive environment with lots of direction and help from all the volunteers, staff, mentors, and sponsors. It also gave us plenty of exposure to all the creative and innovative ideas of other teams and projects. We had a memorable experience and will definitely be returning :)

Interested in being featured in our next highlight? Let us know about your project at team@hackbeanpot.com!

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