Wednesday, September 7, 2005

How to collect data on every shelter in America in 72 hours

OK, maybe not 72 hrs, but hey, who thought we could do 60,000 records in a day?

  1. Build a database of shelters by calling on volunteers to record the location of every shelter in America (validate the addresses with USPS so you don't get duplicates).
  2. Allow volunteers to "claim" shelters. Once a shelter is claimed, they are comitting to putting together an excel spreadsheet with a PFIF record for each person in the Shelter. Probably have to prequalify people and offer them a little training.
  3. Volunteer uploads their excel sheet on the web (software can make sure its in the right format).
  4. Another volunteer or maybe staff checks to see if the data looks accurate and in the appropriate format.
  5. The excel sheet of PFIF records is uploaded into the database.
  6. Those results are immediately avaliable at and syndicated to any other database on the web.
The prototype for this was posted today in our message boards. Sure wish we had some full-time project managers to implement this stuff so we don't have to waste more time chasing CNN stories so people can understand the value of massively parallel volunteer efforts and I could get some sleep. We could have the software up in 48 hrs, volunteers mobilized in another 24, and the whole process done perhaps 72 hrs latter.

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