Mission Statement

Austin Pets Alive! Technology is a group dedicated to optimizing and improving the operations of no kill animal shelters through the application of scientific, engineering, and mathematical thinking. The group uses these perspectives and the associated skills to construct solutions, optimize processes, analyze data, and advance scientific understanding in and around the animal shelter environment in order to further the objectives of the no kill philosophy (i.e. saving all healthy or treatable animals regardless of logistical concerns). In accomplishing these objectives, the group generates open source solutions, processes, data, and scientific publications in order to maximize the impact of these efforts within and beyond the Austin Pets Alive! community.

JOINING

To join the APA! Technology group, we ask that you complete the normal APA Volunteer orientation--details can be found here--and once you have completed the orientation, we also ask that you sign this confidentiality agreement and email it to technology@austinpetsalive.org. Please reach out via email if you have any questions.

Core Project Focuses

In order to accomplish our mission statement, we will apply our skills in several key areas which are targeted in order to maximize the impact of our projects. These focus areas are subject to change with the ever-changing issues facing animal shelters, but the current focuses include:

  • Constructing applications for optimizing shelter volunteer and staff workflows
  • Constructing applications for furthering the gathering of data on all aspects of shelter operations
  • Analyzing data gathered from all parts of the shelter organization to advance our understanding of all aspects of shelter operations
  • Developing and researching innovative applications of science and technology to identify and solve previously unknown problems in the shelter setting

Tools

In order to accomplish our core project focuses, we use a standard set of tools for our different project areas. It is acceptable for projects to use tools outside of these sets, but only when the project appropriately calls for a specific set of tools. For each of the prior project focuses, the following tools are generally used:

  • Optimizing workflows
    • Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Forms/etc.
    • Google Chrome and Google Chrome Extensions
    • Python
    • HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Flask (as appropriate)
  • Data gathering
    • MySQL
    • Python
    • ShelterLuv
    • HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Flask (as appropriate)
  • Analyzing data
    • Python
    • Numpy/Scripy/Scikit-Learn/Survival/Pandas/etc.
    • Plotly/D3JS/Matplotlib/Seaborn
  • Developing and researching innovative applications
    • Preference towards the previously mentioned tools, but any appropriate tool should be used

Communication

Communication with the group can be performed via Slack and email. Preference is given to Slack as it allows for better project organization. Additionally, appropriate Issues and project management should be done via the GitHub project.

The current Slack channel (preferred) can be found at: https://apatechnology.slack.com/ (invitation required)

The current administrator contact is: technology@austinpetsalive.org

Active Projects

To see a list of active projects, visit the GitHub project page for APATech (invitation required) at: https://github.com/orgs/austinpetsalive/projects/1