Disaster Apps Challenge Winners Interview with GovSAFE

Q:   Please introduce the main features/characteristics of your application.

Our application takes existing government documents and overlays text fields in the appropriate areas, allowing information from a database to be inserted into the proper fields. Those documents can be printed out if needed.   The benefit of this from a user standpoint, is that they fill out all their information once from a website on their mobile phone, computer, or both. This information is auto-filled onto the appropriate forms automatically, rather than completing multiple sets of paper forms manually. The data is digitized and maintained in an active database, allowing for better access and analysis in one location.

Q: What was the motive behind the development of this application?

We were motivated to develop this application after hearing stories from the 2013 floods in Colorado. We were told stories of survivors who entered an assistance center and sat down at a table with a box of tissues, several pens, and a mountain of forms. Many of them had just lost their home, and now they had to fill out their name up to thirty times, all manually, by hand. That was merely the beginning of very long process, with very little feedback as to when they might hear back.

Q: Why did your team compete in the Disaster Apps Challenge?

We competed because this is an area where we felt we could lend our skills to solve a problem. There is little commercial value, but it can have an enormous impact on people, helping to provide them with better services and more information during a difficult time.

Q: Could you tell us about any of you (or your company’s) achievements that you want to share with the STAR-TIDES community?

Our idea has been well received by those in the government and civic programming communities. We’re really excited to develop the idea, but outside of awards such as this, it has not garnered much traction.

Q: What are your long-term plans for the application and where do you see it going in the future?

At this point we’re looking to make connections at a state or county level to further develop the application. Once we are comfortable with functionality, security, and the utility of the product, we would pursue scaling up across more states eventually to the Federal level.

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About startides

TIDES Research Assistant Intern
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