Unpacking

Over the past month, we've been doing a lot of evaluating. Before starting to make the products we wanted to reflect on the experience in Rwanda as much as possible. As part of our work as research assistants for our geography professor, we broke the work we did up into chunks:  GPS data collection and training, working with air photos, and database management. For each of these tasks, we wrote down everything about the process, step by step. We also answered questions about the task: What were the recurring problems? What stopped us in our tracks? What fixes did we identify manually? What were the key things we needed to know? How would we suggest that someone prepare for the task? What level of software proficiency is necessary to perform these tasks? What would we have done in hindsight? What were our problems? What were their problems? How did people respond? What did they say? What do we wish we had known? Here's an example of a few things we came up with for the 'working with air photos' task:

What would you do in hindsight?

  • Give agents multiple air photos in advance to look over and familiarize themselves with
  • Conduct a practice exercise the day before, trying to identify households that we know the location for

Our problems

  • We needed quality Internet in order to fully load the images in Quantum
  • We were using different verbal or spatial cues than they were, to refer to the map and how to move it around (for example: when he motioned his hand up, and I took it to mean that he wanted the map to move up, so I’d pan up. In fact he meant that he wanted me to move the map down, so that we could continue upwards along the path we were following along)

Their problems

  • Not being familiar with different scales
  • Not having topographic references
  • Difficulty moving mentally along paths and roads
  • Needed more reference points within the community

We have also created a document that outlines model work-flows for data analysis. This means that we identified possible operations that GHI might want to use to analyze the data we collected, and they will continue to collect. We also made little conceptual diagrams and graphics to visualize each analysis we're explaining. Here's an example work-flow:

Although time consuming, working on these documents has been very crucial to unpacking everything we've learned so far during this project. We hope that they will prove to be very useful for GHI! We also hope to use the documents to create a case study for this type of work. Therefore, we've tried not to limit the processes too much to GHI's work -- the work-flows and task outlines can therefore be applied to other organizations or situations.

This week, we're moving on! Stay tuned for the first few maps...

ps - what is a work-flow, anyway?! Think of it as a thought process, or cookbook-esque instructions on how to work through a problem.