🐵 What is Maki?

Maki (translates to chimpanzee in Hungarian) was created as a direct response to the request of Jane Goodall Institute, therefore the perfect way to summarise it’s capabilities are their words: Participatory Mapping for Collaborative Conservation Planning with Decision-Makers Sign-off.

Maki offers a digital, end-to-end solution that is required to facilitate an effective, collaborative work between the different members of conservational efforts. It is super straight-forward to use, blazingly fast and offers an excellent user experience. By implementing Docusign, it is also able to offer the most secure way of document finalisation and following up in agreements.

Maki was built and hosted with Google Cloud Platform, ensuring high availability, fast response time and government level data security.

Good to know!

Maki is not a design concept but a completely functional application that implements all features mentioned below. Make sure to see for yourself on the live website. 😉

🙉 What’s included in Maki?

Organised work in Spaces

In Maki, the conservational work is separated into spaces, each for different group of participants. This way it gets super easy to manage access to maps and information of the mapping lifecycle.

Users are able to create new spaces based on their interest, such as collaborations in different countries or parties. Once a space is created, new members can be invited by their email address, who will gain access to all the available information in the space right away. It’s also possible to promote members to space administrators to give them access over the configuration of the space.

Space members have different roles based on their expertise. Currently Maki defines two types of memberships. Experts are representing governments, localities, research centres and similar institutes. For them Maki will give the power to review and provide feedback on mapping data. On the other hand, Editors can modify the maps, and create new versions of them.

Sharing and tracking objectives

Inside a space, members can agree on common strategies and record them as Objectives. These objectives are visible to everyone, and they help to facilitate the collaborative work towards the conservational goals.

Objectives are easily createable with a short description and a priority level to always keep track of the most important tasks for the group.

Community wide discussions

While Spaces separate the work by participating members, Discussions break down the collaboration into even smaller pieces, e.g. by topics or territories. Essentially a discussion is the complete lifecycle of decision making, including all change requests and map versions.

When members create a discussion they have to enter the goal of the discussion and assign the related objectives, ensuring that they only work on topics that are important for the workgroup. Next, they have to select a region on the map that shows the point of the interest of the current work. Finally, a group of members can be added to the discussion as approvers, they will have the sign the finalised document once an agreement is reached.

Change requests for geodata

Once a discussion is created, Maki turns into a full-scale project management software. Members can post change requests on the discussion’s topic, based on their feedback.

During a request they have access to the ketch features of Arcgis, with drawing points, lines and polygons and also territories. For every request they are able to add a description as well, with detailed instructions about what they want to be changed.

These requests are added to discussion’s timeline, for all members to see. They can review the requested changes and offer their feedback as comments. Comments are an essential part of the collaborative discussion, where members are able to reply to each other, and upvote or downvote the comment of others.

To help the tracking of requests, Maki also includes statuses for them, that clearly shows if a they are currently open, in progress, completed or revoked. With statuses, it’s always super easy to follow progress of a discussion.

Publish map versions

As a response to change requests, editors can modify maps, or more specifically the Arcgis feature layers of maps. These changes are published as map versions, and editors are similarly able to add descriptions and comments.

Docusign signatures to approve finalised documents

When all change requests are fulfilled, discussions become available to finalise. All information of a discussion, including change requests, versions, comments and other information are turned into a PDF document and gets transferred to Docusign.

Approvers are notified inside Maki and they can start the signing ceremony with a single click from the application. When all approvers have signed the document, the finalised, signed document is attached to the discussion, where all members are able review it later on. If an approvers decides to decline the agreement, the discussion is automatically re-opened, ready for further reviews.

🛠 How was Maki built?

Maki is a React application that is available in all major browsers. For UI components it uses the Ant Design System, which was heavily customised with less to get a modern and minimal look. State management was implemented using the industry-standard Redux library. The platform uses Firebase as its backend, which guarantees secure authentication and heavily protected data storage as well. For every component, high code quality was ensured with Typescript and ESlint modules.

Docusign requests are handled trough Firebase Cloud Functions, that adds the required authentication headers and also listens to the envelope update webhooks.

During the development, we followed the lean design principles. The application was continuously tested with real users and their feedback was implemented as well. This ensured that the platform offers excellent user experience for all of future users.

🤩 Where can I try Maki?

The fully functional application is available at http://www.maki.today/, where you are to able sign up a new member and create a new space to test out our solution. Reach out to the creators if you want to participate in more comprehensive testing!

🚀 What’s next for Maki?

Maki was published in its beta version, and we already see areas ready for improvement. More complex error handling performance improvements and in general, deeper testing for edge cases is required. At the same time, we are already designing new features, and we are excited to launch them soon.

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