A few weeks back I was getting towards the end of a hackathon with a great group out of Tennessee. They had one “dream ask” after we had finished building their Power App. They wanted the app to automatically calculate the mileage their IT support technicians traveled from one site location to the next. I had never broached this idea in an application I had built in the past, but I said let’s see what we can do.
Well, the good news is Power Apps has a Bing connector that can tap into maps that can do all sorts of things. One of those is exactly what they wanted, to calculate the distance between two different sites. We started basic by typing in the address of one school location in a text input control and the address of another school location in a second text input control. From there we wired up a button that used the Bing connector to calculate the driving distance in miles.
Once we figured out how to get that to work, we got more ambitious and said let’s store these site locations in our data source and have our users select them from a drop-down box in a form to calculate the distance. From there, we took it over to a form in our app to store the mileage calculation. Now, at the end of the month, we can run a report for each technician to submit their mileage for reimbursement. I’m sure the technicians are going to be thrilled with this as they don’t have to calculate the mileage and submit on their own. The department in charge of reimbursement might not be as happy as more mileage reimbursement forms will come through 😉
To get an idea of how this can be done in a canvas app check out this YouTube video I made after we finished our hackathon together.
Some things to note if you decide to implement this feature in a Canvas app of yours is the connector is still in preview and an API key will need to be generated. A blog from Rejeeve Pentyala on how to set up your Bing Portal account and generate the API key can be found HERE.
Thanks Rejeeve for the blog, you were a lifesaver during my hackathon.
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