If you have done your grocery shopping (from a physical store) and you are keen to share that information with people in your area, then you should go to Covidmaps.in and update the details. While this website-based application has been able to become a hit in Bangalore, it is looking for help from volunteers from other cities and areas to share information of stores that are operating.
The idea behind the website is to help people locate grocery stores, pharmacies, ATMs etc that are operational; to know if there is enough stock in the store located in one's area; and timing of the store. Due to the lockdown, many stores are partially functioning, making grocery and other purchases difficult.
Speaking to The Free Press Journal, Phani Kishan Addeppali, who is one of the founding members, said, “Covidmaps received good traction in Bangalore as there is a lot of information about groceries and other essential stores in the city. However, in the case of other cities, we are getting some traction, but the information about those cities are limited. We are looking at connecting with people in different cities to volunteer for this cause.”
The application has been able to get traction not just from India but Canada (Vancouver) as well. This is mainly because some founding members are operating from Canada and they have been able to list details of that region. Meanwhile, Addeppali flaunts around 60,000 people have visited the site and all this has taken place organically. Other than Bangalore, it is getting traction from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and other cities.
“We are now 20+ people contributing in different capacities and more waiting to join,” said Addeppali. Most of these members and volunteers are contributing to this along with managing their full-time jobs, added Addeppali, who is employed with Swiggy.
Addeppali added on a daily basis there are around 330 plus submissions of listing (details of the grocery stores, and others) and these are not moderated. “But most of the volunteers are doing it out of goodwill and it is a high-quality listing. Although, we are considering moderating to clear robot-generated content,” explained Addeppali.
The only investment in this project has been paying Google for the map. “With increasing traffic, the cost will rise. So, we are mulling over crowdfunding if the conversation with Google does not take off. Other than technical requirements, there is no other need for investments as this site is to help during the pandemic.” At present, Google has provided free credit to Covidmaps.