The Tree App project was run from Johannesburg using a remote team – data and project management was carried out with cloud, with the majority of data held on Google Drive. If you are looking at the future of work; bringing in people on projects as needed – employing freelancers then coercing them out of their comfort zones and into something new then Val, director of Tree App, is there at the mine-face cutting her way into the future of work. Tree App is a massively ambitious project to produce a smart-app to allow the novice to identify any of the 1, 100 South African Trees listed on their database.
We assisted with the cleaning, sculpting and data verification of a large amount of data using Excel. VBA, DAX and some very interesting IF statements did the job. Do you need to check that every species name in English has a capital letter? Do you need to verify that the data entry team have not made mistakes when providing the common names in 11 different languages? Do you need a count of trees that have both simple and compound leaves to verify they have been entered correctly in the database? Do you need to know the performance of team members, the current status of any particular project, estimate the amount of time left on a particular project? All this and more was provided – mostly with IF statements in Excel, sometimes with some DAX and occasionally a VBA macro was created for grabbing data and forming it for a different purpose.
With a project this large it is important to be able to estimate the volume of work completed and work done. With a little data analyses we were able to provide essential data for the project manager.
A key component to the project was to communicate complex botanical concepts to the lay person. This involved translating the botanical lexicon and providing an alternative, accessible language. In the trade it is known as substantive editing.