Community Hub Part 3

In part 3 of my Community Hub blog series, I will go on to show how the Mapcite product suite can be set up in 30 minutes to operate as a location-enabled CRM to help community responders without the need for any I.T development or integration. Mapcite is well-positioned to react to the immediacy of the Covid-19 crisis. Our Excel plugin is downloadable from the Microsoft Office App Store with a couple of clicks. Our SAAS platform is ready to use out of the box (or contact us to be set up) and our mobile apps are available on the iOS and Android app stores.

Let’s start by outlining a basic process that could be used for community response.

Responders and Community Hubs need to do four basic things well:

  1. Collect data on those in need of help – let’s call them clients
  2. Collect data on those providing the help – let’s call them responders
  3. Match the two datasets together so that the responders are assigned to clients and no-one gets left behind
  4. Communicate to responders so they know who they are being asked to visit for what purpose.

I’m going to translate that process into a series of Mapcite steps and create a ‘way of working’ with Mapcite:

  1. Geocode your current data
  2. Load data into Mapcite SAAS and set up the database
  3. Using Mapcite SAAS as a location-based CRM – amending and adding new records, responder matching and reporting
  4. Going Mobile with Mapcite

1. Geocode your current lists of clients and responders

Most likely client and responder lists will already exist, perhaps in a spreadsheet. This list is going to be dynamic, changing frequently during the day, and will contain a mix of personal information and data about needs and services.

For the purposes of this demo, I  have created a spreadsheet with separate sheets called ‘Need_Help’ and ‘Volunteers’. On each sheet, I have added columns for the data I want to capture, and then added the records as rows.

The goal of this step is to get this spreadsheet uploaded into a Mapcite database, with all clients and responders assigned a location, then delete the spreadsheet.

First, the list needs to be geocoded – given a set of geographic coordinates for each address. Geocoding is done directly in Excel by using the Mapcite Excel Add-In. You will need to download the Add-in from the Microsoft Store before you can use it in Excel.

Once geocoded, the sheets need to be saved as CSV files, ready for uploading into the SAAS platform.

2. Load data into Mapcite SAAS

The goal of this step is to get the CSV sheets loaded into a Mapcite instance and configure the database accordingly. When you upload a CSV, the columns of data in the CSV become columns in the database table. This means the database can be easily configured and reconfigured by adding and deleting columns in the CSV file and re-uploading it. There is no need for any technical or IT assistance. The first step is to upload the CSV to ‘My Data Hub’ – your personal repository of datasets inside Mapcite. The ‘My Data Hub’ acts as a staging area. CSVs are loaded here but aren’t put into the database until you choose to add them.

When you add a dataset, a wizard guides you through the process. A key step to highlight is ‘select filter attributes’. This step enables you to configure some of the database fields as dropdown or checkbox fields. Here you want to select Dropdown filters for those fields that have a limited Number of possible options. In my Client spreadsheet, I have Yes/No/Don’t know questions held in separate columns. For example:

  • Needs food shopping? (Yes/No/Don’t know)
  • Needs friendly phone call? (Yes/No/Don’t know)
  • Needs mail posting? (Yes/No/Don’t know)
  • Needs urgent supplies? (Yes/No/Don’t know)
  • Volunteer assigned? (Yes/No/Don’t know)

Repeat the loading process for each dataset and you should end up with something like this. Different colour pins have been set to distinguish between the datasets.

3. Using Mapcite SAAS as a location-based CRM

Once your data is loaded to Mapcite, the spreadsheets should be discarded and changes to the data entered directly into Mapcite. With Mapcite you can edit an existing record, or add a new record in a few clicks. Using the geospatial features, you can match clients to the nearest responder with the right abilities, ensuring the response remains truly local.

3.1  Editing an existing record

Click on the pin for the record and then edit the text in the pop-up box and save the changes

3.2  Adding a new record

Use the ‘Enter Location’ box to find the location to place the new record, or navigate there using the map. Right mouse-click on the location and Enter the new details in the Add Tab. A new record will be added to the database.

3.3  Responder matching

Using Mapcite’s filtering, you can find those in need of help who don’t have a volunteer already assigned. Click on each Pin to access the record and use the Nearby feature to identify the closest responders. Edit the record to add the volunteer name and the match is now made.

3.4 Data Analysis

Mapcite has simple to use inbuilt tools to help understand the data better. Heatmapping can be used to understand where the data is concentrated. In the image below, the areas glowing red show where the clients are most concentrated, whilst the blue pins show where the responders are located.

Shapes such as local government divisions can be overlaid and coloured according to the concentration of data inside each division.

Drawing Tools can be used to select all or part of the data and export to CSV for analysis or sharing.

Additional datasets such as the location of pharmacies, supermarkets, food banks etc can be loaded and displayed to help make better resourcing decisions.

4. Going Mobile with Mapcite

The Mapcite app for iOS and Android is the perfect way to get location relevant data directly to those people working on the ground who need it at their fingertips. Responders can instantly access the location of all clients in their vicinity. Alerts can be set up and triggered when a client is nearby. Realtime updates can be fed back from the field on the progress of visits.


The Mapcite solution is highly flexible and configurable by the customer. We can offer training and support to responders starting out with the toolset and advise on the best way to configure the tools and your data to make the process work for you. Contact us today for a demo and discussion of  your requirements.