Building Searches

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The mine action information collected and stored in IMSMANG is useless without the ability to find it and use it to make operational decisions. That’s why IMSMANG includes a robust data search mechanism that provides an easy-to-use interface for building and running searches. The IMSMANG search function has three primary purposes:

  • to navigate to data
  • to display data on the map
  • to prepare data for reports and analysis

The navigation and map display searches are typically designed to find a single record or a set of records. These searches are generally simpler than the other kinds of searches and are designed to return records that users can browse through to find the necessary data.

The reporting searches are typically more complicated than navigation searches since they are intended to return a set of records to populate a report directly without any additional user interaction. These searches can also be saved and run independently of reports and used for browsing data.

Data quality analysis searches help identify possible data problems and ensure that mine action programme-specific workflow steps are being followed. These searches can be used to help protect data integrity.

In IMSMANG we refer to different types of functionality in the Search menu:

  • simple as in only one filter option may be used
  • advanced as in more than one filter option may be used and complex critera using AND / OR is possible to define
  • saved searches which are prepared by information managers for usage by all users.

Saved searches simplifies the user experience and ensures consistency of use by sharing identical searches with all users. Of course all users have the ability to save searches which is a convenient way to re-use favourite searches.

Particularly, creating saved searches facilitates access to programme data. Reporting is a key component of implementing and managing a mine action programme’s information workflow.

The IMSMANG version 6.0 database is pre-populated with saved searches developed by GICHD that may be customised to meet the specific needs of the mine action programme.

Simple Searches

The simple search options in the Search menu function exactly as all other filters in IMSMANG, see Search Items.

Advanced Searches

The different types of search criteria (e.g. subobject and geo area) are described in Search by Subobject and Search by Map Area, respectively. The possibility to use AND / OR and to specify the search parts makes the Advanced searches very flexible.

Using Prompt

When the prompt function is used in Advanced searches the re-usability and user-friendliness are greatly increased. For example, if a user wants to find all progress reports submitted by the "XYZ" organisation and another user wants to have the same search but for the "ABC organisation, it is better to save one search and prompt on Organisation.

SQL criteria

While the IMSMANG search functionality is extremely flexible allowing searches on CDFs, customised option list values and links among items, there are cases where users may want to run more complex searches that cannot be built using the Advanced search interface. For these cases, IMSMANG includes a special SQL search criteria that allows information managers to use a SQL query as filter criteria.

Creating searches using SQL criteria requires a detailed understanding of PostgreSQL's SQL syntax and the IMSMANG data model. Your GICHD IM Advisor may support you in developing the SQL.

To use SQL criteria, simply provide a valid SQL statement in the following format:

SELECT [item_guid] FROM [item_table] WHERE...

The SQL query may be complex with left joins and subqueries but may only have one output column which should be the item_guid of the Search target i.e if your search target is Land then only output column should be hazard_guid.

Note.jpg We strongly recommended to develop and test the SQL query with a SQL tool before pasting it into the SQL criteria since IMSMANG does not provide SQL debugging support.

Saved Searches

Saving a search saves the criteria of the search rather than the search results. This means that searches are automatically updated when additional data is added to the system, ensuring that searches are returning results using the updated data.

Inspiration Saved Searches

IMSMANG version 6.0 database is pre-populated with 40 different data quality Saved searches of different kinds:

  • suspected duplicates
    • e.g "Victim Duplicate Name & Date Of Birth"
  • items without any geographical data
    • e.g. "Accident Without Geodata"
  • items that do not have any links to other items
    • e.g. "Assistance Without Links To Victim"
  • items which are assigned to different locations
    • e.g. "Land & Activity Not Same Location"
  • task as Search target
    • e.g. "Land Included In More Than One Task"
  • possible mine action process quality issues
    • e.g. "Status Open with links to Activity or QM"
Note.jpg These Saved searches should be seen as inspiration and should be adapted to each mine action programme's processes.