Dan Joseph TSC Application - 2018-07-16

Dan Joseph (@danbjoseph)

American Red Cross

What contributions (e.g., issue triage, tech support, documentation, bug fixes) have you made to the ODK community?
I’ve been a user and vocal advocate of ODK at Red Cross since late 2013. That has included training other Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and American Red Cross International deployment roster members in mobile data collection. I’m an admin on the forums and try to frequently answer support questions. I’ve worked with IFRC Americas and University of Washington developers on the RC2 Relief Tool built using the ODK2 suite (helping test and guide the development of it). I promote ODK as much as possible in conversations, on Twitter, etc.

How do you believe your contributions have benefited ODK?
I think I’ve helped improve some user’s experience when seeking out help on the forums and I’ve helped a little bit in building the user base and community of practice.

What do you believe the top priorities for ODK are?
In addition to the strong momentum on code fixes and improvements, ODK has made tremendous progress lately on improving the professional look and feel of the online presence of the project. The migration of the docs as well as the recently redone website are great resources for people to improve their familiarity with the tools or learn about them for the first time. I think it’s important to keep those resources up-to-date as the software changes and improves.

And on that front, I think it’s also a top priority to keep up with changing needs and capacities of data collection. ODK was first developed thinking about the state of technology years in the future. ODK needs to continue to forecast where things will be in the future for everything from device hardware to data protection regulations, and steer the improvements of the software in a direction that addresses those predictions.

How will you help the ODK community accomplish those priorities?
I have a lot of experience as an end-user, working internationally with the Red Cross. I’ve been responsible for convincing non-technical staff to use ODK in their work, teaching people how to use the various tools, and helping implement data collection campaigns. I’ve experienced what it takes to explain the benefits and utilization of ODK to the staff and volunteers of a large humanitarian organization. Leveraging that experience means I can help match learning resources to certain audiences, and build stronger links between those leading the development of ODK and the end-users of the project.

How many hours a week can you commit to participating on the TSC?
I can commit 3-6 hours a week to the TSC. As part of my job, I occasionally (about once a year usually) deploy to disasters for up to 4 weeks and would have limited capacity during such an event.

What other mobile data collection projects, social good projects, or open source projects are you involved with?
I help American Red Cross manage POSM and OpenMapKit https://github.com/posm. I’ve built some websites such as https://github.com/ifrcgo/ecv-toolkit and https://github.com/AmericanRedCross/ctp-website. I set up the OpenDroneMap docs (Sphinx and Travis-CI) https://github.com/OpenDroneMap/docs.

Please share any links to public resources (e.g., resume, blog, Github) that help support your application.

@danbjoseph, it's been great to have your help on the forums and I'm excited to see you put in an application to the TSC!

I agree that we've made great progress on the website and docs, but it has been hard to keep those resources up-to-date. I'm glad you've noticed that it's a problem an opportunity for improvement :laughing:.

I'm curious how you think the TSC, with your help, could solve this problem of staying up-to-date?

Some initial thoughts. I think it'll require slightly different strategies for more user-focused documentation versus more developer-focused documentation. In both cases:

  • Concentrated effort to reduce the backlog. There are 116 open issues on the docs repository right now. I haven't looked through and seen what I might be able to help close. I should. I'm sure there are others who could just use a little encouragement or a reminder about the docs.
  • Some sort of workflow so that, for example, releases on Github are linked in a checklist for "add to documentation". Consolidate in one place a running list of software updates and changes so that it's easier to keep track of what needs to be added to the documentation.
  • Possibly adding "coming soon" sections to the docs when things are added to the roadmap. These could serve as a visible flag of a needed update. It also might be easier to think about integration into the docs right when you are also thinking about integration of a change into the software of the project.

For user-focused:

  • More guidance on contributing to the documentation. This has already been flagged, see issue 825.
  • Social engagement campaign to encourage people to contribute or at least highlight problems/short-coming. A friend started #ValidationFriday on Twitter to encourage people to help check existing OpenStreetMap data (that may have been created by new mappers), and not just trace new features. He does a great job coming up with puns and light-hearted references to current events that helps draw attention to the task.

For developer-focused:

  • I haven't needed to use these, so would need to talk with people about it.
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