Uber can immediately match passengers with drivers nearby. Their technology works.
So why is it so hard to easily find out about rallies and events nearby? How can organizers broadcast details of upcoming rallies so more supporters can find out about them and attend the nearest one? The answer to making it easier and affordable could be in applying technology similar to Uber.
Let's make it simple
Locating a rally with the same zip code as an individual is simple. But to find rallies nearby with different zip codes requires an understanding of how zip codes are grouped. For instance, the nearest rally to a user may be in the next state with an entirely different zip code. Finding the nearest rally when there are several planned in a city at the same time adds to the challenge.
Companies use geo-spatial software to solve this problem. Here's a simple, affordable solution that lets your supporters find the nearest rally using Google Sheets and Esri ArcGIS.
Finding a rally
There are over 40,000 zip codes in the US. Finding a rally near a given zip code requires an understanding of all the other zip codes near the user and within a given search radius. In this example, a user in Palo Alto doesn't find any rally nearby in the default range of 20 miles, but by increasing the search radius on the sliding scale to 36 miles, shows a rally in San Francisco.
Adding rally details
Being able to have multiple organizers add information about rallies was essential to the solution. You'll notice that this map initially shows four rallies. Clicking on a location displays details of the rally planned there. In this example we enter details about another rally into Google Sheets. Notice how the map is automatically updated to show five rallies. This is especially valuable when multiple rallies are organized spontaneously and supporters need to find out about them quickly.
This solution illustrates the DemLabs model.
- We work with progressive groups to understand their needs, and tackle projects that once solved, can help many groups.
- We then research existing, affordable technology platforms (such as Google and Esri in this case) and apply it to the needs of the project.
- Using existing software is a faster and cheaper approach than developing software from scratch. It leverages the investment that companies make in innovative solution along with the assurance of ongoing improvements - independent of the election cycle.
- We openly share the solution design and the software used for other groups to apply through the DemLabs Bulletin, website and workshops.
DemLabs is a non-profit that applies innovation for progressive causes. Donate here to support our work.
Photo by annie bolin on Unsplash