Using Mediawiki for Scouting

This year on the FEDS we decided to do something different in regards to scouting. In the previous years we have tried many ways of organizing scouting information including paper and binders, memorizing (didn’t work too well :P), and a program made in java, but all of those things were not user friendly. So this year we had a brilliant idea; creating a wiki for all things scouting!

After we made our decision we were faced with how to host the wiki. There were many methods of hosting a mediawiki, but most of all are costly, and not practical. Among the methods that we brainstormed were web hosting and local hosting. In our final decision we decided to load our mediawiki on a flash drive, so we can take it from computer to computer. That way all we have to do is plug it in, start the local servers, and we’re good to go!

Why I came here to tell you about this is that we would like the communities input into what they would like to see from a scouting wiki. Although we can come up with a site on our own, it’s nicer for us to have community input.

We are also planning on having our wiki open in the pits in all events we attend, so that all teams can access this great resource!

Thanks,
Alex Dinsmoor
Team 201 Capitan

We are making a visual basics program to scout with it seems user friendly:yikes: :yikes:

Alex,
Is there room in your design for multiple flash drives, especially from other teams? The grand scheme could include your central wiki as the collection point, into which scouting reports from several flash drives could be merged. The results in progress would be available as a part of the input process. That way those who contribute to the scouting will share in the results. Perhaps you could even set scouting assignments via the flash drives.(?)

Alex,

What a great idea … and to take it one step further … We can web host MediaWiki for all of FIRST for scouting purposes. I haven’t played with MediaWiki beyond the basics, but if you don’t have Internet access at the competition, would it be easy to set something up so that teams can upload at night or something? That way we can track teams throughout the season and share with everyone???

What do you think?

There is! Currently we use a template for all of the team pages, and have a string of variables you feed into the wiki to generate every team’s page. We found that that way it’s incredibly easy to edit, and anyone can fill in simple variables.

If someone was to take a copy of the flash drive you can have a copy of the wiki, and it’s possible to copy that string of data into any scouting program out there.

Theoretically we can have a bunch of teams using it, and through copy and paste you can create a giant database.

If you could host it it would be fantastic! Although I was thinking of applying for an http://www.ambitiouslemon.com hosting, so that everyone can access it. If the ambitious lemon thing doesn’t fall through I would be delighted if you could help us out!

And as noted above, there is a simple string of text based variables that anyone can copy into their mediawiki.

The reason I didn’t initially host it online is that I have been to a few competitions of ours in which Wi-Fi is not reachable.

Also, would you want me to post the entire file system that we hold on the jump drive to google code so everyone can have their own copy of the wiki?

EDIT: After applying to ambitious lemon I noticed that there is a 2-3 week lead time. If you can host the wiki I would greatly appreciate it!

If you want a collaborative scouting wiki, maybe the guys at FIRSTwiki could help us out.

For your purposes, you can install Mediawiki on any computer and just have LAN connected computers update it, though I don’t know why that would be useful.

The problem I see in using a Mediawiki for Scouting is that your information will be hard to organize into usable data, and it will likely not be objective. In my experience as a scouting leader, you don’t need a lot of people’s information, you need a group’s highly consistent information.

On Cyber Blue, we have developed an excel-based scouting system that pulls information from the scouting excel sheets (information is filled in and saved on Pocket PCs or laptops), and then the saved raw data sheets are “stolen” via Bluetooth.

I like the idea of compiling from several sources, but it doesn’t seem like Mediawiki will let you be able to use the data well. There will likely be too much to filter through.

If you are looking at still using MediaWiki, I have web hosting with unlimited space and a free (and easy) MediaWiki install. If you are interested, shoot me a PM. Otherwise, I am about to make a thread on our teams scouting system!