Building Searches

From IMSMA Wiki
Revision as of 22:21, 15 September 2013 by Alnaucler (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

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 cause all users have the possibility to saved searches which is convenience way to re-use favourite searches.

Particularly, creating saved searches facilitate access to programme data and 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 in the Using IMSMA portal.

Advanced Searches

The different types of search criteria e.g. subobject and geo area are described in Search in the Using IMSMA portal. The possibility to use AND / OR and intent the search parts (which correspond to brackets) 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.

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. Of cause 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.


  • 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.

Using Search Parameters

When a search is designed, it can be given a name and description and then saved for later use. 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 return the most up-to-date data. For example, an information manager can build a search called “Open Lands” that finds 25 lands with a status of “Open.” If 10 additional lands are entered into the system with a status of “Open,” the search would find 35 records when it is run again. In this way, searches are dynamically updated as data is added to the system, allowing information managers to assess data trends over time using consistent search criteria. Information managers can also use an existing search as a template to create other searches by using the “Save as” functionality.

Search parameters allow users to change one or more search criteria when running a search. For example, if a user wants to find all progress reports submitted by “XYZ” organisation, they can build a search for “XYZ progress reports.” If another user wants to search for progress reports submitted by “ABC” organisation, they can build another search for “ABC Progress Reports.” Alternatively, an information manager can build one search with a parameter for “Organisation” that allows users to provide different values for the organisation when running the search. This makes one search, for example, “Progress Reports by Organisation,” available for multiple purposes. The ability to build dynamic searches allows information managers to customise search capabilities to meet the needs of various stakeholders within their programmes.

Note.jpg Searches can include geospatial data as a parameter which allows users to define a geospatial extent to search within. For the purposes of searching, records without geospatial data are defined as “outside” the geospatial extent

Description Pre-populated Saved Searches

Template:NavBox Getting started with IMSMA