Update on data and digital transformation

If you renewed your membership recently or live in Essex, Wiltshire or Scotland you may have noticed your new card has an addition - a QR code. We have been testing a different way to take walk registers using a mobile app. The main issue was that it was taking too long, so, for the pilots we have built in a QR code reader. The data from registers will help us achieve our aims, so please remember to take your card along to any group walks.

Why take registers? 

It is quite normal for organisations to take registers for planned events eg. Parkrun. Most organisations find the information generated extremely useful and we are no exception. 

At a local level - many groups already take registers and find the information very useful when planning their walk programmes. Over time, this information may also help a group identify potential volunteers amongst their keenest walkers.  

Nationally - the Ramblers will use the information to make sure we support our members and recruit new ones. The data will help us to understand who walks and who doesn’t, how many people walk, where and what are the most popular kinds of walks, on which days and at which times. Importantly many of our members don’t go on the group walks and we need to provide attractive benefits for them - this data will help us identify those members.

The captured information will also provide us with valuable insight which can be used in our ongoing advocacy and policy work. The Ramblers has a huge voice but without ‘official’ registers it’s difficult for us to prove it. This information could help us to ensure the land and your rights of way are protected now and in the future. 

How will this data be used?

Members data will be used for analysis and intelligence purposes as described in the section above. Non-members data will be collected and when we know they have gone on three led walks, they will be contacted and encouraged to join the Ramblers.

What about Data Protection?

The Walk Register app has been designed with GDPR compliant features. The registrar will require an authenticated log-on to access the app. Collected scans and non-members details are encrypted on the handset and destroyed once it is submitted back to the central data centre. If the data isn’t submitted within 48 hours it automatically destructs.

When the data goes into the central data centre, it is stored and processed securely and fully compliant with GDPR.

Piloting the app

A pilot will be starting mid-July and running for three months. All members, including life members, in Essex, Wiltshire and Scotland will have received a new membership card with the QR code. These are our trailblazing locations, participating groups will be trialling the new register and feeding back so that we can adjust and improve it. You do not have to have your card or register to take part in a walk but it would be so helpful if you took your card along and allow it to be scanned.