Parallactic Consulting :: Data & Web DevelopmentLocation: Chicago
Typical budget: $3,000-$10,000
Whether it's plotting locations on a map, graphing sales data in a real-time interactive view, or designing the database architecture for a robust academic catalog, Parallactic provides database design and programming to your specifications.
We specialize in web development and data programming and love working with academics, small to medium businesses, and non-profits. We combine sharp technical skills with a big-picture view of your project that enables us to recommend the most effective ways to put your data to work for you.
Whether it's plotting locations on a map, graphing sales data in a real-time interactive view, or designing the database architecture for a robust academic catalog, Parallactic provides web development and data programming to fit your needs.
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum was launching an ambitious project to catalog all telescopes made before 1775 that still exist in museums and private collections around the world. They had photos, scientific images, optical data, and historical and provenance information they needed to store in a coherent way for internal use, and also to make it accessible to the larger research community.
First we developed a custom database-driven website to help the Adler organize their data internally. Digital images and other files are easily attached to entries, technical data is imported from spreadsheets, and each entry is tracked from initial draft to final approval by a senior researcher. Then we built a public site for use by researchers around the world, allowing them to easily collaborate and build on the existing research.
Instead of a mess of spreadsheets with data, portable hard drives with pictures, and a pile of Word documents with historical research, the Adler has one centralized repository (http://dioptrice.com) that is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Adler staff in the field can make quick updates, and researchers at other institutions can benefit from immediate access.
Fly Over the City is a bike messenger service in downtown Boston and New York offering a variety of car and bike messenger services. They process hundreds of deliveries daily, often with minutes-long turnaround times or special requirements. They need a fast database with a simple user interface and custom functions for their most frequent tasks in order to keep their couriers moving fast.
Our back-end system, developed in Ruby on Rails, makes entry and retrieval of the hundreds of jobs FOTC delivers daily simple. We created one integrated database with custom Rails programming that gives Fly Over the City a one-stop online portal for all the data their business needs to see and use.
Dispatchers view an easy-to-read dispatch board with key information like package destination, special instructions, and time due. Messengers can review jobs from their smartphones, mark the jobs completed, and add notes or pictures about the delivery. Clients have a convenient online portal where they can order deliveries and view delivery records online. Administrators access one unified page to manage jobs in the system and also edit the text or photo gallery for their client-facing webpage. The system can also automatically generate invoices and divvy up funds between messengers and administrators.
Local independent grocery store Open Produce had megabytes of sales data going back years, but didn't have the synthesis tools that would enable them to use this data effectively for their business.
We worked with the staff of Open Produce to establish which metrics would be most helpful, and wrote a collection of web tools to streamline their business processes. Now they can visualize sales by time of day or day of week, and see and predict seasonal variations. They share some of this information with their customers real time on their website. At the same time, we wrote them a series of inventory management tools to streamline their ordering process.
Open Produce stopped making business decisions in the blind and now can literally see what works and what doesn't. They use this information to set their hours of operation, ensure sufficient staff at peak times, and predict their cash flow needs during their seasonal slumps.
BallotReady is a website providing easy-to-digest information on candidates and referenda listed on local ballots.
Parallactic worked with BallotReady in the spring of 2015 to create a prototype for the web application, which checks a user's address and uses a variety of metrics to find all districts in which they're eligible to vote. The application then queries BallotReady's custom database to provide the voter with information about each candidate on their upcoming ballot.
Using their Parallactic-built prototype as part of their demonstration, BallotReady won first place (and $30,000 of venture capital) in the University of Chicago's 2015 John Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge.
A team of social science researchers at the University of Chicago were starting an ambitious project - the Chicago Archive of Indigenous Languages and Literatures - to preserve and catalog hundreds of pieces of fiction written in endangered indigenous languages. But without a technological framework, their information was disorganized, and they had no way to share the fruits of their research with others.
We built a comprehensive, web-based locus for collecting catalog data and scanned copies of the works. Different access levels for researchers, academic users, and the general public ensure that copyrighted or sensitive works can be kept private, and the entire effort is coordinated in tandem with an academic library which holds physical copies of many of the works.
Members of the research team can access and update the data from anywhere, whether they are acquiring new material in Latin America or in their office in the States. Digital scans of the works ensure broad access to users in any country, while helping safeguard the paper originals. CAILLA both preserves these ephemeral works for the future and allows more people to find and use these books and magazines in the here and now.