When COVID-19 started ravaging New York City in March, a number of residents of the metropolis’s Astoria neighborhood launched a bunch to assist weak residents with issues like grocery procuring or choosing up prescriptions.
But the Astoria Mutual Aid Network quickly discovered the logistics of matching individuals who wanted assist with those that might provide help more and more daunting.
That’s when a number of members of the Astoria Tech Meetup determined to step in. “Clearly there must be a course of round that,” cloud guide Peter Valdez recollects pondering.
The consequence: open-source software that makes use of Airtable spreadsheets, Slack collaboration software, and geocoding from Google or Mapquest to routinely discover volunteers closest to an individual requesting assist. It’s now out there to different teams making an attempt to help neighbors in want during the pandemic.
“We have been placing the code on the market and documenting it with the specific objective of constructing it accessible to different teams, too,” cloud guide Peter Valdez defined. And a brand new group shaped round this effort, Astoria Digital, could be prepared to assist different group teams use the know-how for serving to neighbors during the pandemic.
The Astoria Mutual Aid Network system begins with two varieties: One for individuals in search of assist, one other for many who need to volunteer.
When a neighborhood assist request is filed, a bot geocodes the handle, finds the 10 closest volunteers, and posts the data to a non-public Slack channel. That channel is monitored by “dispatch volunteers” who can contact area volunteers and see who’s out there.
Implementing the software
Smaller volunteer teams – particularly these with out entry to tech deployment sources – may simply be considering Astoria Mutual Aid Network’s Airtable templates for the varieties and back-end knowledge storage.
Those considering the full bundle would wish accounts and API keys from Slack and Google Maps or Mapquest in addition to Airtable. In addition, they’d need Docker, Docker Compose, and Make software put in regionally. There are set up directions in the Github repository’s README file and docs folder.
Valdez is concerned in one other undertaking referred to as Shipyard that makes it simple to deploy a Docker Compose file to manufacturing through Kubernetes. Shipyard is prepared to host different teams utilizing the Astorial Mutual Aid Network software as nicely.
“The workforce who constructed it might be pleased to assist . . . if there is a group that should set this up,” Valdez stated. Neighborhood teams in search of to implement an analogous service can use the contact kind on Astoria Digital’s web site or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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