Getting Managers and Congress the Information They Need to Make Decisions.
Resource Activity Management System (RAMS)
The National Park Service (NPS) holds as its primary mission the preservation of our natural and cultural resources - the flora and fauna, the historic structures, the landscape itself, and our cultural heritage - within the 388 areas and 84 million acres that comprise the National Park System.
Management of these diverse and widely dispersed resources requires massive amounts of data. The desktop-based management reporting and tracking system that NPS had in place was cumbersome. Because users in the field were required to enter the same or similar data in multiple systems with slightly different nomenclatures, the data finally generated was sometimes redundant, conflicting, and inaccurate. And resource managers and others could not pull reports from the data that were of real-time value. Then Congress issued new budget reporting requirements that the system could not support.
To solve these problems, in late 1999 NPS hired PPC to develop the Resource Activity Management System (RAMS), a web-enabled management reporting and tracking tool for the Offices of Cultural Resources and Natural Resources that provides for better data integrity, more current data, and better data mining.
With RAMS, staff with limited phone lines and slow modems can enter and save data offline on their desktops, and then upload when the line is available.
Data integrity is preserved in a number of ways. Data is entered once - and then, when accepted, propagated to other linked reporting systems. The program automatically enforces strict business relationships among the data fields. And if two people enter data on the same topic at the same time, the program "redlines" the data so that a manager can quickly and easily verify it, modify it, or send it back for resolution.
RAMS provides robust reporting tools. Using timely data, it allows both standard and ad hoc reporting in response to Congressional and GAO queries or to provide specific information as requested by senior management and stakeholders. Resource managers can now pull up-to-date, comprehensive information from RAMS to quickly identify progress on projects, make fact-based projections, identify gaps between needs and funding, generate data to support a funding request to fill that gap, or even decide to try another approach.
RAMS is secure, employing secure sockets and a fully encrypted password system. And the reporting requirements can be easily updated: new data fields can be added without the hassle and delay of sending out new program installation CDs for every desktop.
Built to support as many as 800 users tracking thousands of activities, the RAMS engine is so successful at meeting its needs that NPS plans to use the engine to access seven more of its databases.
Web and client based architecture using:
Microsoft SQL Server 2000
Microsoft Active Server Pages
Microsoft Visual Basic
Microsoft Internet Information Services
Microsoft Visual Studio .Net
IBM Workstations w/ Microsoft Windows > 98
Application Developed for Internet Explorer > 5.5