We are using an agile delivery approach, which means that this delivery order will be subject to change. However we commit to delivering all elements of this programme.
We have built a data warehouse which has 4 main functions
1. It is a secure, central repository of all the information about individual Ramblers supporters
2. It is an API hub, serving data to and receiving data from various endpoints like our mobile app
3. It transforms data into various tables which our Insight Hub uses to build reports and dashboards
4. It houses our Identity Management Database which enables access via our Single Sign On tool
This is the heart of the new data & digital landscape. By managing our data well, maintaining a crisp architecture and ensuring high levels of security the Data Warehouse provides a foundation stone for all other systems & tools.
We have chosen a Single Sign on (SSO) system. It is a contemporary, highly secure and versatile multi-factor authentication system.
The end-goal is for our supporters to require only one set of Ramblers log-on credentials to enable access to all our systems & tools.
This is a complex job – it is technically much easier for each tool to have its own (usually out-of-the-box) log on system. However, because we aspire to having clear universal data architecture and we want to make it as easy as possible for our supporters to engage with us, we are implementing SSO on every new digital system we are developing.
It takes a little longer and is a little more expensive, but it’s worth it.
This system means that when a volunteer is on Assemble, our volunteer website any links through to other tools like The Insight Hub will not require additional login.
Our geo-spatial database is where we store Ramblers geographical assets like boundaries, routes, maps and path issues.
Geo-spatial databases are constructed in layers allowing a search around a single location to show all the assets we have around that point. This means we can surface path issue data on a map of a route, or see where routes intersect.
Our database can handle points, lines, polygons, elevations, and grids in both vector and raster formats. It integrates with our mobile app, website and Insight Hub, exchanging geographical data with them.
The Insight Hub is the decision-making tool for volunteers and staff. It gives you the facts about members, walking and paths, so you can use best practice around the UK to inform what you do.
Daily, automated updates ensure that volunteers always have relevant, real-time information on everything to do with The Ramblers, including membership trends in their groups; the volumes of people walking; the path issues in their area; and the vital work volunteers are doing.
• Key stats about The Ramblers, helping you learn how your group compares to the rest of the organisation.
- Mailing lists, membership changes, non-members and information for member awards.
- Data from the Pathwatch mobile app and reports
- Issues with the UK’s path network..
- Headline information about the walks Ramblers are doing. This information is taken from the walk registers.
- Details about when and where walks take place.
- Insights about the kinds of walks that are likely to attract people.
Volunteer Website - Assemble
Our new volunteer website (and app), Assemble, will provide everything that you need to carry out your volunteer role – a one-stop-shop for all things volunteering. As Ramblers volunteers you will be able to manage your own details, contact other volunteers and access news and resources to support your role. For further information please see Introducing Assemble
Assemble is already being used by a few volunteer teams such as Footpath Secretaries.
During 2020 it will be introduced area by area.
Led walk participants
We do not, collectively, know very much about the people who walk with us. Something very basic like which members use our Led Walks and which do not, who likes long strenuous walks, who only walks weekends, and so on has been a mystery to us. We do know that being relevant will retain existing members and attract new members – but without this basic information we cannot be relevant.
Some groups took paper registers, which was a step forward, but as the data stayed within the group it didn’t benefit the organisation as a whole, nor indeed any other groups.
So in 2018 we provided a led walk register capability within our members mobile app. Any member can offer to take register on any led walk (as long as it is on the app). This data flows back to our central database and then is sent to the Insight Hub where groups can view the data and see how members are using their walks. The organisation can take an overview and spot patterns which will help us grow.
Another important gap in our knowledge is information about the non-members who take advantage of our 3 ‘taster’ led walks. Which walks attract them? And how do we recruit them if we don’t even know who they are? The mobile walk register allows us to capture this data – which is then streamed to Membership Secretaries via the Insight Hub, along with guidelines to help ‘convert’ these people to members.
Ramblers Mobile App and the walk register
This app is exclusive to Ramblers members and contains the following features (at Dec 2019):
• everything a member needs to find and join one of our 50,000 annual led walks
• everything a member needs to find and follow one of our 3,000 checked Ramblers Routes
• digital membership card
• mini-features to read
We are easing into a development cycle of three times a year with the next upgrade planned for Jan 2020 which will add route elevations to the route info.
Coming down the track is incorporating Pathwatch features and the ability to develop your own route. We’re listening to feedback from our members using the app to help us decide what to add and improve next.
What do we do now?
We currently provide two systems to help create and promote walks and routes, these are –
GWEM (Groups Walks and Events Manager).
• GWEM holds information on group led walks and also group events (such as AGMs or a summer garden party).
• To add information you need to be a GWEM contributor. Content is then checked and published by GWEM Editors.
• Walk information on GWEM automatically appears on the Ramblers website and App and the Insight Hub link to GWEM. Ie. the App only shows details on group walks if they are entered in GWEM.
• To find out more about GWEM – go to the pages on the volunteer zone.
• The Route Builder is used to create a route which are then published on the Ramblers website and App.
• Routes can be created by Routes Developers. They are then checked by a team of Route Checkers.
• To access the Route Builder and find out more click here.
What is happening next?
We are looking to improve both how we create and promote walks and routes. This is likely to mean replacing both GWEM and the Route Builder.
In early 2020 we are running a few workshops to listen to how Ramblers Groups currently put together and promote a walk programme as well as discuss ideas for the future. You can find more information here.
Following these workshops, a decision will then need to be made on the role of a new system/s and what needs to happen next. Our aim is to be clear on these next steps by the time of General Council – 1st April – ready to then move into development in the summer of 2020.
Understanding the state of Public Rights of Way and path issues is an important part of what Ramblers do. In 2015 Ramblers launched ‘the big Pathwatch campaign’ which was an app-based reporting system, enabling any citizen to spot and submit a path issue, like a missing signpost or a farmer cropping over a footpath. This was very successful and we now have over 10,000 path issues reported (they can be viewed on the Insight Hub). 2 problems remain unresolved – how can we know when an issue is fixed? and how can we get the Local Authorities to act on our path issue list? Both are difficult and in particular our data has been challenged by LA’s as not being accurate or serious.
So we are planning to tackle this is a phased way – firstly incorporating the path issue reporting function into the Ramblers Mobile App (we think this will result in higher quality data) and secondly displaying the data in a publicly accessed dashboard on our website (to create a knowledge bank on the state of our footpaths). As these are being implemented we will be working with our Footpath Secretaries and Path Maintenance Teams to figure out a solid process for feeding back what the status of a path issue is (ie has it been resolved or not). Lastly, when all this is working well – we will challenge the Local Authorities.
Many of you have told us you need the ability to communicate with members and local walkers/supporters in a data-secure environment. This workstream is about delivering a system which will help you serve relevant and inspiring communications to members & local walkers/supporters, via multiple channels (social media, email, direct to mobile app etc).
These types of systems are complex and lengthy to implement, due to their strategic nature and the sophistication of their operation. The Ramblers do not have a marcomms resource currently, so this work won’t begin until 2020.
Ramblers website and group webpages
The Ramblers website is our shop window to the world, a vital way we communicate the joy that walking brings to our members, the fantastic work our volunteers do, and all the ways that the wider public can get involved. In 2020 we aim to completely redesign the existing site, to create a modern, compelling and easy to use source of information for everyone associated with The Ramblers.
It is important that the website attracts new visitors, makes information easy to find and enables existing members and volunteers to stay up to date with everything happening at The Ramblers. It should provide a great way for individual Ramblers groups to communicate with existing members and attract new ones.
We want our members and volunteers to be a part of the development of the new site. The first stage of development will include opportunities for you to let us know what you like about the current website, what needs to be improved, and what new features and information you would like to see. We also hope to get some of you more directly involved in the design of the new site, through involvement in workshops, feedback on early concepts, and testing early versions of the new site.