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Using Web Applications To Mobilize Pesticide Information

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Using Web Applications To Mobilize Pesticide Information

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The National Pesticide Information Center has developed four mobile web applications that allow easy access to a variety of information previously unavailable or difficult to find. See how and why we developed these apps, and how you can enable access to hard-to-use datasets from a variety of devices, using techniques and technologies you may already know.

The National Pesticide Information Center has developed four mobile web applications that allow easy access to a variety of information previously unavailable or difficult to find. See how and why we developed these apps, and how you can enable access to hard-to-use datasets from a variety of devices, using techniques and technologies you may already know.

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Using Web Applications To Mobilize Pesticide Information

  1. 1. Kaci Buhl - NPIC Project Coordinator Sean Ross - Supervisor for NPIC Information Resource Capability NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between OSU and the U.S. EPA (cooperative agreement #X8-83560101).
  2. 2. Kaci Buhl, MS, is an expert in risk communication and integrated pest management (IPM). Ms. Buhl has acted as the Project Coordinator at NPIC since 2006 and also has several years of experience as a pesticide incident investigator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Sean Ross has worked as the Supervisor of NPIC Information Resources since 2001. Mr. Ross has been instrumental in developing the NPIC databases, desktop applications, websites and web applications used by the public and our pesticide specialists.
  3. 3. The National Pesticide Information Center  Operated at Oregon State University since 1995  A source for science-based pesticide information ▪ Toll-free phone line open 4 hours/day, Monday – Friday ▪ Expansive website available in English and Spanish ▪ Email/voice-mail response within one day We answer questions about:  The health effects of pesticides  The environmental fate and properties of pesticides  Product labels, regulations  Pests and potential IPM strategies
  4. 4. Up to 25,000 inquiries per year About 1 million page views per quarter
  5. 5. Translate technical information into accessible language Adapt each conversation to meet the needs of diverse audiences Use the risk framework to promote informed decision-making Recognize incidents and opportunities to prevent incidents Promote legal use practices and label comprehension
  6. 6. About 90% of callers/inquirers are from the general public in residential environments The other 10% includes:  Government agencies (155 in 2012)  Health agencies (60 in 2012)  Physicians/veterinarians (215 in 2012)  Manufacturing/marketing (144 in 2012)  Lawyers/consultants (54 in 2012)  Master gardeners (24 in 2012)  Environmental organizations (39 in 2012)  And many more.
  7. 7. NPIC currently hosts four mobile web applications:  P.E.S.T – Pesticide Education & SearchTool ▪ A tool for the public to find pest and pesticide-related information: http://npic.orst.edu/PESTapp  M.A.P.L. – MobileAccess to Pesticides and Labels ▪ A tool for professionals to find pesticide product-related information: http://npic.orst.edu/mapl  P.A.L.S. – Pesticides & Local Services ▪ Used by the public to find pesticide-related services in their area: http://npic.orst.edu/pals  My Repellent Finder ▪ Helps consumers find information about insect repellent products: http://npic.orst.edu/myrepel
  8. 8. NPIC’s web applications are heavily data-driven.  Two of the apps (MAPL, PEST) rely on data from EPA’s publicly-available PPIS and PPLS databases.  One app (PALS) relies on contact data built and maintained solely by NPIC.  One app (My Repellent Finder) relies on data about insect repellent products published occasionally by EPA. Quality and usability of publicly-available databases varies widely. Finding, analyzing, and manipulating such data into usable tools can yield valuable information assets.
  9. 9. PPIS = Pesticide Product Information System PPLS = Pesticide Product Label System These data sets are available online, updated weekly They were not designed or maintained for the general public  Technical jargon, awkward file formats  Counterintuitive logic for lumping/splitting like items  Over 70,000 products, so the results are often overwhelming
  10. 10. Intended for the pest control shopper  Deciding whether to use a pesticide  Comparing different pesticide products
  11. 11. Users get a quick, boiled down list of IPM tactics
  12. 12. Users get a product-specific search box If standing in the pesticide aisle, they can look up products one-by-one
  13. 13. Intended for the pest control shopper  Users cannot search by product name; the data are too squirrely  Users cannot search for products by pest; there would be too many results to be useful (over 10K) We used our experience with callers/inquirers to determine what would be helpful, and what would be a hindrance.
  14. 14. Intended for professionals in the pesticide world  Familiar with terms, sites, regulations Users can search by product name, knowing it may or may not work because names can be interchanged Users can search for pest/crop combinations, knowing that crops/sites have jargon-laden names
  15. 15. Show me products registered for fire blight on apple trees
  16. 16. The master (federal) product label (pdf) is available within MAPL  Professionals would know that variations exist. ▪ States can add restrictions to the label, for example.  The product label accompanying the product is the one that is legally binding.  Users may need Adobe installed EPA publishes the version of the label they accepted  Including very technical, regulatory language
  17. 17. In any combination, professional users can search for products by:  Pest  Site (crop, or location)  Active ingredient  Product name  Registrant (manufacturer)  EPA Registration number
  18. 18. PPIS is published via EPA weekly, as a collection of compressed raw text files, with fixed-length records. We developed code to automatically download, transform, and create/insert/update tables in an Oracle relational database. Text files frequently contain corrupted records that are automatically filtered out. PPLS is published as a web page listing of PDF label files. A custom parser was written to extract the current product label PDF files and add them to the Oracle table.
  19. 19. What kind of data formats have you seen and need to work with?  Other regulatory data?  GIS .csv data?  ???
  20. 20. Experience building web-based tools using various technologies from the mid-90s through the present. Mostly traditional PERL/CGI scripting and Java Servlet/JSP based. Needed to utilize those experiences as a foundation to efficiently move into the current era of rich, mobile aware, products.
  21. 21. Needed to produce tools available to the widest possible audience. Phone and tablet technologies in transition. Android on the rise, iPhone/iOS established, Blackberry diminishing, Windows phone/tablets an unknown. Browsers, both desktop and mobile, finally reaching a basic level of maturity and compatibility so that interface development and consistency was possible across platforms. HTML5 (and its various underlying pieces, CSS3, DOM scripting, AJAX, JSON, etc.) becoming an accepted platform. Open source tookits became available, reliable, and widely used, making development significantly less cumbersome.
  22. 22. We decided the best and most efficient approach was a combination of what we already knew, and HTML5:  HTML5 eliminated almost all worry about platform compatibility.  Continue to use Java server technology as the supporting back-end. It works, and is known.We're using the Apache HTTPd, with ApacheTomcat connected to it as the servlet container to handle incoming client requests.  Servlets use JDBC to communicate with Oracle RDBMS queries/procedures
  23. 23.  Servlets return data to client via JSP/HTML5/JSON  Utilize HTML5 mobile toolkits to ease UI development. JQuery Mobile was chosen based on its features and established base, but other toolkits could be used to do the same things.  Continued some use of JSP and JSTL when advantageous and/or easier than AJAX/JSON for client UI. Especially when processing concerns or volume of data caused limitations for the client devices.
  24. 24. When users look in the app store (Apple or Google Play), web-based apps do not appear Some users cannot distinguish between the app and other web pages that might be linked within When using an external source of data, errors cannot be easily attributed/corrected
  25. 25. http://npic.orst.edu/pals PALS – Use this web app to find the phone number/website for over 3000 county Extension offices. Also, one-click dialing! http://npic.orst.edu/myrepel My Repellent Finder – Use this web app to find a repellent for the right pest (mosquitoes, ticks or both), and the right protection time (2 hours, 4, 6, etc.)
  26. 26. Identify existing data sets for which there is demand Consider the target audience Consider the limitations of the data set Evaluate options for ‘mobilizing’ the data set Let’s play with the NPIC mobile web apps now!
  27. 27. 1-800-858-7378 NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between OSU and the U.S. EPA (cooperative agreement #X8-83560101).

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