GreenUp App

Problem Statement

If you live in Vermont you probably enjoy the rural charm and relatively healthy environment. Keeping roadsides, and public spaces clean, though, is neither cheap nor easy. GreenUp has been rolling along for many years now without any digital support, so why does it need it now? Perhaps we should re-frame that and suggest that only now is it within the realm of possibility for GreenUp to have the digital support it has always needed. Managing a large number of individuals to efficiently spread out across all roads, paths, parks, and public spaces in Vermont to pickup trash in one day is a real management challenge. Especially when all the work done is volunteer effort. With a little technical know-how, civic hackers can make this process significantly more efficient, and fun. Maybe even competitive!

Project Summary

It has been clear for several years that a mobile app could solve several problems for GreenUp Vermont:

  • Vermonters waste effort when they visit roads that have already been cleaned
  • Picking up trashbags is difficult when coordinators don't know exactly where they were left
  • Tracking the efforts of vounteers is difficult when the event is so atonomous

A mobile app can neatly address these issues and more.  The app under development will allow users to coordinate with friends to select a section of road and indicate the location where trash bags were left for pick up.  Collection trucks can efficiently find bags and the non-profit will have much richer information about the program they can use to seek more money to help keep Vermont green for years to come.

The GreenUp VT prototype is being developed by students and facilitators involved in the Essex highschool STEM program, in coordination with the official Green Up Vermont non-profit that organizes the annual event.

The app being created will be freely available on iOS and Android devices.  Intially, the it will only be available on mobile devices, though eventually a web-accessible version is likely to be created for use by both GreenUp volunteers and organization admins.

Status Update: August 8th '17

The app is under active development and has been rolling along since July.  The team has laid out most of the fundamental aspects of the app such as navigation and authentication with Google and Facebook.  Individual pages are currently being created (see links below for mockups).  The intial prototype is on track to be completed around the end of the month and next steps will be planned from there.

Previous Efforts

Numerous attempts have been made at helping GreenUp with an app. A mobile app for Android and iOS was built by a team at UVM for CodeForBTV in the early days of our organization. Unfortunately, that app suffered from having some very difficult to maintain and pass-on code chunks, and from a team of individuals that graduated... and moved on. At least two web mapping applications were built for GreenUp as well, but one required significant data processing that needed some money realistically to make happen, as well as would have needed at least some money to cover hosting parts of the system. The other may still have use as a free solution for the community organizer to use, but was less useful for the individuals planning their GreenUp efforts.