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Field Service & Political Campaign: Big Data Solutions in a Texas Mayor Race

The ability to gather data about voters, hone in on specific slices of a demographic and tailor a message to constituents has been a game changer in how political campaigns are run, predicted and won. While many organizers at the local level understand that big data tools can give a particular candidate an edge, those tools have historically only been available to high-power corporations or giant political machines — but new technology and services are leveling the playing field. Big ambitions, small budget When tech consultant Alejandro Lamothe came to work on the San Antonio mayoral campaign for Manuel Medina, he wanted to leverage data and technology in order to create a more effective way to reach supporters and urge them to get out on election day. The challenge was that a custom-made app or software that could do this would be far too expensive for Medina's grassroots campaign. Medina’s campaign involved a lot of block walking, with volunteers going door to door, speaking with potential voters. The issue was that volunteers were still using paper and clipboards, taking polling data and transferring it to Excel Sheets and Google Calendars. Ultimately, this was an inefficient way to make a report and store data. Though this personal and old-fashioned method of connecting with voters was effective, it needed some help from modern digital methods of utilizing data. A powerful solution Faced with an array of data living on different formats (Smartsheet, Excel, Google Docs, etc.), Lamothe set out to find a way to bring all these together in a single database equipped with a number of features that would make analyzing and collecting the data easier. Lamothe turned to AppSheet to create a customized app. The process was remarkably easy, as AppSheet was able to consolidate the many spreadsheets of existing data. As a result, he was able to develop an entirely unique app suited for the campaign’s unique needs. With the app, volunteers and pollsters were able to use this powerful tool right on their cell phones with the following features:  All information canvassers gathered was automatically saved and updated in real time. This meant all team members had access to continually updated voter information. A dashboard that gave an overview of the total number of people and households reached, demographic information and who they were likely to vote for. This information was further segmented into voting districts. The app utilized Google Maps to mark which homes had been visited, whether people were home or not and if the canvassers needed to return. Relevant voter information (age, gender, who they were most likely to vote for) was conveniently stored alongside this geographic information. Though many were older and not digital natives, the intuitive nature of the app was remarkable. Within two weeks they were able to reach around 35,000 individuals, greatly expanding their database and improving the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort. Simple, accessible, revolutionary For Lamothe, the process of seeing an app take form was, in his words, “enchanting.” What he most liked was the ability of the app to draw data from multiple platforms, making the entire process highly streamlined. “I believe the app will transform and change how people will use information,” Lamothe says. In a world where being able to properly use data is increasingly important, organizations of all sizes will want to look into unique, app-based solutions to meet their needs. Please check out Alejandro Lamothe's video here on how he designed the app and how volunteers used the app. Not sure what app might be helpful to you? Go to our Sample App page, copy apps for free and customize your apps your way. Citizen Developers are Workplace Innovators. They build custom apps to improve and optimize work processes in their organizations, introducing innovative ways to "get work done." As citizen development becomes the new normal, it promotes innovation, agility, and flexibility throughout an organization. To learn more about AppSheet and citizen developers, check out the following page:

5 Ways to Visualize Data in Your AppSheet App

Your mobile apps must be great at capturing but also great at displaying it. When you have a spreadsheet that you want to take while on the go, AppSheet can help you consume the data in a richer, mobile-friendly way. We built a sample app with a list of colleges in the State of Oregon to showcase the main ways you can display information with AppSheet, they are all available in the UX Menu of the app editor. If you want to use the sample spreadsheet we used for this app, you can find it in a link at the end of this post. Remember to visit our community to share questions and ideas about your app! [UPDATE] Many of our users asked us to provide access to the sample app in addition to the free sample sheet. You can a link to the sample app at the end of the post. Get the free spreadsheet Click Here Get the sample app for free  

5 Types of Views to Enhance Your AppSheet Apps

 In most cases, your AppSheet apps start as a single view of your data, displayed as a list. On its own, this is prety useful; but there is a good amount of precious real-estate within your app that you can still use. With a few selections, you'll be able to expand the number of views in your app beyond the default, bringing richer visualizations and new ways for your team to interact with your data. How can AppSheet display my data in a mobile app? Today, I'll show you how to add Maps, Galleries, Charts, Lists, and Forms views to enhance your mobile app experience. Views are the way to go if you want to unlock your data from a table and add new functionality to your app. Let me point to an example we've used before. Assume we're a grocery and coffee shop distributor in New York City. The distributor is almost always out in the field and manages customer information from spreadsheets. The current set of customers looks like this (please remember, this is sample data): We'll skip the first steps for creating the app (which is very quick! please go to our how-to page). Once you arrive at the app editing page on, you'll be able to change the different views and test them as you edit your app. First, the Live Emulator Once the app is created, you will get to see it on the Live Emulator window which is a live view of the app where you can actually edit your data. The Live Emulator will come in handy to decide what to do with the available real-estate for the app. In the bottom section, you will notice the available views for it. In this case, there is only one view called Customers located at the bottom of the app. Now, my data contains more than a single possible view. I have addresses, pictures of storefronts from Google Street View, and total orders for each customer. I'd like to use those data points in a way that helps me take more advantage it. This is where the additional views come in handy. Adding a View When you are in AppSheet's Basic editor, click the UX tab. In this section you can select the views to add to the app; there is a maximum of three views in the main page of the app, but you can add more views via the Advanced Editor, which will be added to the "hamburger" menu on the top right of the app. To add a new view, type in the text box next to it the name you want to give to the section, and then press the tab button. The app will be updated and will give you edit fields for the new view. You can choose from four different types of views. Please keep in mind that the views will only work if the data you have matches the type of view (for example, Map View won't work if you don't have a column with complete addresses): Map The Map view shows different locations listed your table in a map. This is particularly useful for teams that are distributed geographically or teams in the field that want to visualize key locations such as customer service providers or interest points. Map views are automatically generated when AppSheet recognizes a list of complete addresses in your app. For tips on how to best enter location data to use in map view, follow this link. Gallery The gallery view needs images from your cloud folder or as URLs. I named the view Store and selected medium-sized images to be displayed. In our app, it shows the images we collected of the storefronts via Google Street View. This is a useful way of providing visual cues to staff in the field and to help the user quickly navigate to the right customer. Learn how to add images to your spreadsheet and app here. Chart Chart views work for numerical data. In our case, we have the total number of orders, so a view showing the orders per customer will help us quickly view the biggest customers. You will need numerical data to produce charts and you can currently select line charts, bar charts, or histograms. More chart types are on the way! List List view is the default view of your data, and you can select different types of views as well. In this case, we selected Deck so we can have a thumbnail of the pictures. Once you select any entry, a complete set of data that you can edit (if you've allowed this permission) appears. This is particularly useful for field teams that need to collect data on the go. Form The Form view allows you to turn your forms into convenient mobile apps. You can both visualize form responses through an app as well as conduct surveys and collect data. Forms are a great tool for data collection and make it very easy for the app creator to view and interact with responses. The AppSheet Google Forms add-on makes this really easy. Simply open a Google Form, click the add-ons button, and install AppSheet. Once you click "Go", you've created a mobile app based on your form data. We are working on better ways to make your data truly mobile. We'd love to hear your ideas on data visualization from spreadsheets and other features to add. If you want to share those ideas, we invite you to join the AppSheet user community on Google+. See you there! Other tips of making app, please visit Features, Tips & Webinars.