What Could You Focus on if Data Collection was Made Easy?
The point-in-time count was truly a success and we feel really good about the data quality and efficiency of the collection process with the application.
Each year the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care, a group of public health agencies from Fresno and Madera counties, conduct their "Point-in-Time Count," a census of the region's homeless population. The endeavor requires hundreds of volunteers walk streets and alleys, conduct a uniform survey, and report results back for data analysis. Historically, the census was completed using pen and paper; this made volunteer training, data accuracy, data aggregation, and data analysis nearly impossible, to say nothing of available technologies like GIS locating going completely unused.
Design and build a mobile survey application that enables a volunteer to collect data and flag locations from the palm of her hand. Volunteer-collected data is automatically aggregated and immediately ready for in-depth data analysis.
Understanding that volunteer time is precious, we knew that the application needed to be simple and intuitive. As such, training time was focused entirely on connecting with the homeless population to be served instead of on the mechanics of how to use this year's form. The resulting data was both accurate and actionable.
The Results Speak For Themselves
"The unsheltered point-in-time count is always a rush of excitement and nerves as we train hundreds of volunteers to hit the streets and collect data that will help our community determine the needs of our vulnerable homeless population. In previous years, the excitement was always muted by the cumbersome, time-consuming data entry that.
“created a time-lag between point-in-time count completion and data summary. The point-in-time count mobile application helped alleviate this burden, simplifying data capture and export to allow for a deeper analysis using statistical software, GIS applications, and other tools."
--Cassie Morgan, Fresno Housing Authority”
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