Earlier this year there was a conversational thread about online databases for the social services. List members interested in this topic might be interested in viewing a fully functioning Community Asset prototype done by ITScooperative.
ITScooperative joined together with the Ontario Stroke Prevention Initiative to demonstrate the innovative integration of community resources with web services provided by Microsoft’s Mappoint Server. Based on the extensible markup language (XML) and working with a database-driven website developed on an MS.Net platform, we deliver an integrated view of health and community resource information with location mapping.
Imagine being able to answer questions such as, ‘What’s located within 10 kms. of here that addresses this issue?’ or ‘What’s the best way to get there from here?’ The complete answer, information with map, comes directly to the desktop or can be sent by email.
Traditional health and community information referrals rely heavily on words. To locate and provide help, users and professionals consult online databases and printed manuals. Typically, the search focuses on finding resources that will meet a specific need and that are within reach of the person needing them. This multiple-step process can be difficult and time-consuming.
Commercial providers of advertising, real estate, tourism and other web based information often use mapping to quickly guide the user to their desired location. Mapping and localization services can inform decisions about the suitability of a particular resource and even the adequacy of available services.
In most instances, only the user who is very familiar with the community and its’ travel routes is capable of deciding the accessibility of a resource based on address information. Few manuals and online systems provide regional mapping of resources. Those that do show location, on the web or in print, often rely on limited, general images which do not pinpoint location.
Furthermore, these visuals require manual changes with new resources and other changes. Only a skilled and experienced advisor can quickly answer questions about ‘services near my home’ or ‘in this region’.
In contrast, the presentation of localized information using the Mappoint web service simply requires an accurate, current address.
Our Community Asset Demonstration is available at [no longer available]
One can view the map when looking at a detailed record or by doing a simple proximity search. There is also a more refined version of the proximity search which returns resources addressing a specific risk factor.
Mousing over the pins on the resulting map display produces a name and description. Clicking on it brings up the detailed resource record.
Some limitations to note: Mappoint services used in this demo will expire mid-May. Also, our demonstration database only has 100 records, most in major Ontario, Canada cities. If you are not familiar with Canadian postal codes, test it out with M5C 3H5 (downtown Toronto) and K2P 1E2 (downtown Ottawa) – include space in the middle of the postal code.
The Stroke Prevention Initiative plans to implement this feature into its working system found at: [no longer online] . Their database has over 2000 select stroke and chronic disease prevention records.
(Originally posted to HUSITA-L)