Jim VanPeursem TSC Application - 2019-01-10


(Open Data Kit) #1

Jim VanPeursem (@jvp)

in transition from Africa to USA

What contributions (e.g., issue triage, tech support, documentation, bug fixes) have you made to the ODK community?
Just getting started in ODK, so essentially none to date. Was based in Africa, using a competing commercial solution (farmforce) to gather data on our agriculture interventions, employing under educated youth using smart phones. This gave me insights into some of the unique challenges of community based data gathering in Eastern Africa.

How do you believe your contributions have benefited ODK?

What do you believe the top priorities for ODK are?
To me, a data collection tool such as ODK should optimize: 1) Robust and narrowly focused input types. One of the challenges of community based data collection is the data noise and bias that comes from the people collecting the data. The more focused the data entry types, and the more clarity in the correct way to record each data field, helps reduce this source of this type of error, 2) Efficient sync so that remote data collection and subsequent sync can be as low cost and efficient (time and battery) as possible, 3) human consumption of the collected data. Simple export is great, but one way to enhance the utility of the platform would be to offer the ability to join data sets (e.g. combine a prior community demographic set with a health data set to produce analysis on health by age, gender, etc.), simple rule-based ETL's, etc. to make consumption and analysis of multiple data sets easier and more powerful.

How will you help the ODK community accomplish those priorities?
In my career, I have served in numerous technical leadership positions. I have also had significant standards leadership experience, working with many industry leaders to create and shape the initial Java-for-mobile platform (J2ME) in its formative years. More recently I spent 2 years in Africa working for a commercial company, introducing automation and remote data collection, and integrating our farm management system with our banking partner's core banking system, offering truly end-to-end loan origination and payoff automation. I am hoping that the diversity of my experience can help toward the continuing evolution of ODK to become even more powerful for its users.

How many hours a week can you commit to participating on the TSC?
4+ during our transition back to the States. More once settled.

What other mobile data collection projects, social good projects, or open source projects are you involved with?
Most recently, I used Farmforce as a farm management system in my role as CTO of GAFCo, the Great African Food Company (https://www.greatafricanfood.com/). GAFCo was a commercial entity, partnering with World Vision and Vision Fund (microfinance) to connect poor farmers to the global food market, in an effort to improve their incomes. Earlier in our formation, we used iFormBuilder for our initial data collection platform. Earlier in my career, I was the chair of Motorola's Open Source Review Board, the body who helped shepherd proprietary source code toward external open source publication, as well as the inbound utilization of open source in our commercial products, within the license obligations of each project.

Please share any links to public resources (e.g., resume, blog, Github) that help support your application.
Unfortunately my blog needed to be shut down toward the end of our tenure in Tanzania as a result of new laws cracking down on free speech.

ODK 1 TSC Election - Call for public questions
(Aurelio) #2

Hi @jvp,
couple of questions for you:

what kind of extra checks would you implement apart from the existing ones? constraints and relevancies are already in place and could contain also quite complex functions or regex.

did you experience problems on syncing with Collect?

ETL happens after data collection occurs. There are some free open source ETL software. I personally use – Pentaho Data Integration(PDI) - Kettle. I connect it to my MySql database and I proceed with the transformation I need to get the metrics important for checking out the quality of my dataset.
The kind of transformation anyone need and the way to present the data is not unique, so how would you choose a "standard" way for the users?
Is it not better to propose an export that then can be consumed from many different software to get the result needed?

(Tom Smyth) #3

Hi @jvp! Thanks for your application.

I am curious what brings you to ODK at this point in your career? All you've told is that you're "Just getting started". What are your plans for using or contributing to ODK besides joining the TSC?

(danbjoseph) #4

Echoing @aurdipas above, I'm curious about "Robust and narrowly focused input types."
I would think some of this would be good survey design and proper use of the functionalities ODK provides. The best knives in the world still need a good chef to wield them. Do you have ideas for technical improvements to ODK that could help meet this priority?