What drove me into this project?
I try to go to church on Sundays. I know the service hours in our local parish, and there’s a weekly paper newsletter announcing service hours in the neighbouring parishes. If I can’t make it on the regular service hours or if there’s a feast day with irregular service hours, it is frustrating to find out that there’s no way to look for services in parishes in the wider area!
There’s a central database on the website of the diocese but it has a terrible user experience: you have to navigate through lists of parishes, visiting the webpage of each parish individually, in order to find out where you can attend mass. Moreover, this database is not listing special feasts, probably because there’s no direct information flow from local parishes towards the manager of the webpage at the diocese and because it’s conceptually only setup to show the weekly recurring services. Individual parishes may have websites of their own where more accurate information may be published, but really, would our Lord want me to spend one hour browsing crappy websites in order to find out where I can meet Him?
The catholic church is definitely not the only organization facing this kind of problem. Any large de-centralized organization organizing public events should be able make event schedules easily accessible in a single view, without requiring to setup a centralized administration.
Future articles will drill down into the event management concepts in MapTiming to show how these requirements are filled in.