Episcopal Relief & Development
Episcopal Relief & Development facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives in communities struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Their online asset map helps church members and affiliated organizations find the help they need — including nearby Episcopal churches, summer camps, and soup kitchens — or relief and response to natural disasters.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s mapping website needed better design and technology. They also needed easier ways for members of the Episcopal community to share information and contribute inspirational stories about the work happening in their communities. Content moderators also wanted a smoother interface and workflow experience, so that everyone, especially people without deep technical experience, could maintain the map easily.
Advomatic delivered a phased roadmap to bring their site to the next level. We worked with multiple people on our clients’ team to plan out how to rebuild a strong foundation given their budget, time, and in-house tech capacity. The site currently allows multiple ways for people to easily contribute and manage content, and has a strong admin experience that makes it much easier to manage.
Improvements ranged from a design “refresh” to a full rebuild in Drupal, and serve two main purposes to:
- Provide tools for the organization to respond to disasters. To see what areas will be affected or are vulnerable, and what resources the church has to respond to those in need.
- Allow individuals to update information about their churches, schools, soup kitchens, etc., and to allow regional leaders to moderate that new information.
Years after our initial work on the asset map, we continue to work with Episcopal Relief & Development to identify gaps in the ways people interact with the site and to make continuous improvements.
Today, Episcopal Relief & Development’s community is seeing how these mapping tools can help them meet their mission of creation care and social justice. With funding from The Episcopal Church, Dr. Delia Heck, professor of Environmental Science at Ferrum College, is using the site to create maps with layers of climate-related data that can help illustrate where the church is called to serve and how the church’s call to plan for the future will build more resilient communities. “A church could look at different map layers to see cancer risks or sea rise levels,” Dr. Heck says. “And then start asking, ‘What does that call us to do? How do we love our neighbor? What kinds of policies should we pursue? What needs to be done?’”
Project Goals and Challenges
- Connect people to relief services and local affiliates: This site’s flagship feature, a custom mapping tool, had to be improved to provide a wealth of information based on location data.
- Improve the administration experience: There had to be an easy way to upload and download massive amounts of data and improve the process of adding information to the map.
- Increased visitor engagement: Build out a system for crowdsourcing an improved database of affiliates and resources, and make it easy for users to share embedded maps wherever they need to.
- Adopt a refreshed and responsive design: Sidestep a potentially time-consuming full redesign by doing a simpler design “refresh”, applying new branding aspects, and focusing on making the site look & work well in any size screen.
- Add climate-related map layers: Contributors can build custom maps that layer on GIS data to reveal a nuanced picture of where there is risk for environmental disaster, like rising sea levels or pollution.
You treat me like a human. I can come to you with a plain language description of a technical problem I’m having, and you answer in plain language. You don’t bombard me with terminology or make me feel bad because I sometimes need a simpler explanation.
– Tamara Plummer, Program Officer, US Disaster Programs,
Episcopal Relief & Development
Services We Provided
- Technical Strategy & Planning
- Design & Prototyping
- Stakeholder Coordination
- Project Management
- Technical Implementation
- Ongoing Continuous Care, Maintenance, and Technical Strategy
Technologies We Used
- Drupal 8
- OpenStreetMap & Leaflet
- Pattern Lab
- Google Translate