Public Lab Research note

2015 Web Working Group report

by warren , liz | January 14, 2015 16:59 14 Jan 16:59 | #11521 | #11521


This quarter, we moved all major services into Rackspace hosting, taking full advantage of Public Lab’s donated space there. This will eventually reduce monitoring costs with Pingdom as well, since that service is included in Rackspace’s offerings. We will soon using almost the entire donated space! Public Lab is growing, growing...

Web development has been prioritized in the latter half of the quarter, and major infrastructural upgrades were completed for the MapKnitter and Spectral Workbench services, which we hope will result in greater volunteer participation in code improvement, bug fixes and feature development.

Contributors and Google Summer of Code

Major integration of GSoC and other projects has been added to the coding projects at the end of this quarter; this is taking lots of time, but should soon result in a major overhaul of, and in the subsequent quarter, Spectral Workbench. Read a bit more in Justin Manley’s great post:

Servers and services

Migrating servers took some services offline for a few hours, but uptime remains reasonably high: was at 99.92% for the quarter, down from 99.98% last quarter; Spectral Workbench has seen some intermittent outages which may relate to the major upgrades and new code; we anticipate this will be resolved in the next quarter.

Usage & mailing lists

We’ve seen continued strong mailing list growth through the 4th quarter of 2014 -- around November 11th 2013, the main publiclaboratory group surpassed 3,000 members and at time of writing has 3,189, up from approx 1800 one year ago.

Three new lists were created in the last quarter of 2014--all in the Americas: regional list public-lab-northwest, chapter list public-lab-vancouver, and Portuguese language list publiclab-portugues. The northwest and vancouver lists are nested, a structure that demonstrates our a renewed commitment to regionalism without excluding popular city-specific lists. Notably, public-lab-northwest is the only list explicitly created to span national boundaries. Other examples of regional lists include US Midwest and US Northeast. We anticipate 2015 regional developments in the US Mountain West as well as the northern coast of South America (Peru, Ecuador, Colombia).

The Portuguese language mailing list emerged from a publicly facilitated conversation among over a dozen Brazilian members that began on a private email thread, then moved onto a research note that garnered over 50 comments; the list has grown rapidly to 25 members from Brazil and the US. In many ways, this was an ideal process of mailing list formation. The spectroscopy list gained an average of 50 new members each month in 2014 in contrast to the grassrootsmapping list which has been plateaued for the last two years.

Below: regional and chapter lists growth and development are tracked in CartoDB:


Other interesting statistics follow, including graphs of activity over the past 52 weeks; 2258 research notes have been posted by 378 contributors since almost 4 years ago; 278 since the last quarter.


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