MetaCat offers the perfect tool for custom projects
that need collaborative data collection and real-time reporting!
MetaCat is ideal for any type of data management project (simple to complex) requiring collaborative web-based data collection and includes dynamic graphing for visual presentation.
MetaCat's database is highly-secure for sensitive data collection projects. MetaCat databases can be integrated with other websites and systems. Import/export data at any time from/to Excel, CSV, and XML.
Non-technical teams can set up and deploy online databases in minutes and begin tracking the desired data immediately. Native applications for data entry and management from mobile devices are in progress and will be available soon.
Consider an ongoing project (such as for a math, science, or economics class) to track gasoline prices over time. Based on the needs of the project,
the teacher (or project manager) decides what fields should be tracked and sets up a web database similar to the screen shot below.
- The teacher (or other project manager) enters desired fields for data tracking. In this example, the plan is that students will calculate the average gasoline price in their city each month and record the result.
Setting up Database Fields
- The teacher (or other project manager) creates student accounts and assigns individual or group permissions as to what they can see and do. Data tracking projects can span any length of time, as is illustrated by this example.
- The teacher (or other project manager) can upload any existing data (via XML, CSV, Excel, etc.) or have students, teachers or others, add data according to the project needs.
- When data available, teachers and students can search for data and experiment with dynamic charting capabilities. Data can be exported as needed using common web formats (CSV, XML, etc.)
Visualizing Data in Real-time
- Example of actual chart showing average U.S. gasoline prices 1976 - 2010. Interesting to note that prices always increase at the start of summer!
Building upon the Example:
One way to build upon this basic example is to put the database components within a custom structured document that includes sections such as project title, alignment to standards, and teacher and student instructions (for example).
Collaborative teams of experts could create a series of research-based projects that are ready-to-go for both teachers and students. Teachers could search by standards, project title or grade level, for example, to find projects appropriate for their needs.
The scope of data can also be broadened to include location - from city, state, region, to global - depending on the project. The complexity of the database can also increase depending on the project.
The screen shot below shows an example of a page of a custom structured document designed for collaborative development as well as dissemination when projects are ready to be used.
Teachers and students can easily access supportive material while working with the database. For example, students could click on the student instructions to see what they should do. Clicking on the database link will access the database for management and analysis. The link below to "Smithsonian Resourcs" represents the idea that other entities, with useful resources to the project, could have edit permission to their section only, and maintain their own sections to provide access to more information..
When working with data, teachers and students can search data by any available search category (such as date, location, etc.) An example search window is shown below. In this search example.
consider that a teacher or student is interested in analyzing data every 10 years from central and northeast regions of the U.S. They can search and retrieve just this data to use for charting. Text, numeric and date searching are also available in any combination for powerful searching.
Searching the database