BretE wrote:Hey all,
First off I just want to say that I think that you guys have been doing excellent work. Thanks for all of your hard work!
Secondly, brevity was never my strong suite, so sorry this is a bit long winded...
I've been doing some thinking on how the process of pairing animals in need with pilots. Here are some random thoughts on the current approach. These are ideas that have been floating about in my head this weekend, so they're not particularly organized. My primary goal is to write them down, and perhaps incite some discussion.
The paradigm of posting on a forum and waiting for a pilot to find the request does not seem to be optimal. Here are a few reasons why:
-We have one party who wants a resource (a flight), and another party who may be willing to donate that resource. While I'm certain there are motivated pilots who search the board daily, I would suspect that the person with the dog staring at them might be more motivated in most cases.
-As the board continues to grow, the number of posts will continue to grow. Therefore the relevant posts will get more and more difficult to find.
-This approach does not allow rescues to see flights that have already been planned that may have additional room available.
The Google maps go a long way to addressing these issues, but I believe that further refinements are possible.
I realize that the following may be ambitious, but what the heck. Here are a few random thoughts on a system that might serve rescue, pilots, and paws more efficiently and more effectively:
-Such a system would need a way to filter out irrelevant posts for pilots who like to search the boards. In other words, a search by distance.
-It would be great if the system would automatically suggest pilots. This could be based on where you are, where you going, and how far a pilot is willing to fly (something that could be in their profile). I envision the rescue entering starting and ending locations, then getting a list of pilots, then having the option to send them each an email requesting assistance.
-The system would track the status of the request, so a pilot who received a request could follow up to see if someone has already signed up, and it would also record completion of the mission.
-Pilots would be able to fill out optional profile information about cat/dog allergies air craft capacity, etc, so that pilots could be optimally matched to rescue needs.
-After a flight it planned, the information would be available for other rescues to search. Rescues would automatically get an email if a flight is taking place that is close to a flight they've requested. This would provide opportunities to augment the flights with additional ground transportation.
-Once the flight is completed, a record of the flight would be recorded.
I suspect that this has already been discussed someplace, but what do other organizations with a similar mission do to match pilots with people in need? Has this problem already been solved?
To me, this sounds like a neat problem to solve, and I would certainly like to help solve it. I have a background in software development, and solving problems difficult problems is what I love to do, and is what I do for my day job. I'm also a student glider pilot, and I plan to obtain my power rating sometime in the next year or two. I've also worked with a local Labrador rescue, and I'm currently fostering, so I have a fair knowledge of how rescues operate as well. I'm really looking forward to helping!
What I am working on is a button to add to the screen requesting a transport that will notify all of the pilots within 60 nautical miles of the courseline between the origin and destination.
I am planning on using Heron's formula to determine if a pilot is within 60nm of the course. It works pretty well. In fact, it's the same algorithm I use on the 'pilot search tools' screen http://pilotsnpaws.org/forum/phpbb-local-rescues.php
My biggest issue is integrating this into the phpbb3 forum software. I want to get the forum to send the notifications, but it's been an interesting challenge to say the least. I'm concerned that if I don't integrate it in, spammers will end up grabbing all the email addresses.
If you know (or want to learn) phpbb, let me know. I can use all the help I can get.