ScoutTrax

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ScoutTrax

Postby robmpeterson » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:39 pm

Does anyone use ScoutTrax (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Sc ... readsheets)?
If so are you aware of updates posted anywhere? I am unable to find anything, the author is unreachable, and they have not been updated with new requirements or merit badges since 2009.

If needed, I've started the work to update them and will be happy to share and keep them updated. Does anyone want a copy of what I've done so far?
I've asked for permissions to edit the wiki to at least say they are outdated and hopefully share my edits.

I'm happy to hear of suggestions for other tools to keep track or rank advancements to share with the committee, etc on a regular basis.

Thanks,
Rob
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Re: ScoutTrax

Postby agdparker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:12 pm

Our units use PackMaster (Cubs) and TroopMaster (Scouts). These programs are still maintained, but have a recurring cost that some units don't like. They have some interesting online and mobile options. There is also an active Yahoo mailing list for users to help each other.

www.troopmaster.com
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Re: ScoutTrax

Postby pzelchenko » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:35 am

We've actually just been through this. There are several options out there, being desktop software (computer-based but not necessarily connected to the Web), Web-based, and computerless. Here some of the main solutions:
  • TroopMaster is the 800-pound gorilla, around for years. It's great if you don't need online capability, but today the chief advantage of computerizing is to do it on the network. TroopMaster does have network capability pasted onto the product mix. In my experience, if you're committed to the software already, this may be an option, but such pasting onto legacy monsters is usually less than adequate, for several reasons. I'd like to hear others' opinions, though.
  • ScoutTrack is one of two relatively new products "born online." All units on a central server. Monthly fee. Basically, you can log in and give leaders (and Scouts) various access levels, search for and modify specific things, etc. After a look at ScoutTrack and its competitor ScoutManage (see below), I would say ScoutTrack is the weaker choice in terms of general usability, feature mix, and interoperability.
  • ScoutManage is ScoutTrack's competitor, another simple, no-nonsense online product. After comparing it with ScoutTrack, ScoutManage looks pretty clearly to have significant advantages in usability (better feature visibility, easier to work from small screen, others) and interoperability (better import/export of data from/to other platforms). (Note that this comparison was done in only about 15 minutes, but done with my little brother on the phone and we have 60 combined years of high-tech development under our belts.)
  • Scout Tracker (don't confuse with ScoutTrack above) is a relatively new open-source desktop package. It is "in beta and there are problems," so I wouldn't recommend it yet. Did not even try it. This one you would install on a server, compile, and run. When this kind of product is mature, it's truly going to be the way to go, because it will be free, open, and future development and maintenance supported by the userbase (at least in theory).
  • BSA's Troop/Team Record Book (SKU 606839, $4.99 at ScoutStuff.org) is the paper-and-pencil spreadsheet book long used in Scouting. Don't laugh. This product is more portable than any of these others; it can work at camp or meetings/events when you have no network signal or batteries, it works with a mere pencil, and it works wonderfully. Carefully designed for compact flipping through various ranks, but watch out for the kind of page-alignment problems that led to Florida voting problems (the "butterfly ballot" alignment problem), which would make one Scout's data seem to belong to the boy above or below him. (A few months ago I called national when I found most books misaligned, and they removed them from all shelves nationally and spoke to their printer.) The main disadvantages are that it is not shareable and there is no backup if you lose it. Major disadvantages. Also does not update with the times. But can be used in conjunction with other products; see below.
  • Google Docs Spreadsheets and other online spreadsheet and database products are a new viable option. Essentially, it's an Excel spreadsheet with as many rows as there are boys, and as many columns as there are requirements. This kind of simple solution lacks various search-and-management powers of the above products, but it also does not constrain you from doing such things if you so choose. It's also secure, eminently shareable, and simultaneously editable or viewable by multiple people. If you're good with Excel, have a close look a this. There are also forms capabilities (think Excel and Access). We're going to try this in conjunction with the paper book (as our "field" copy) above. The difficulty in this is what I call the "token" problem: which is the Bible (the book or the online), and how do you update one from the other? How do you remember "I updated this Scout's little requirement here, but need to remember to do it there"? I will probably just write things in pencil and mark over in pen when I've confirmed and copied. Not foolproof, but workable.
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Re: ScoutTrax

Postby Quailman » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:44 pm

Do those spreadsheets interface with ScoutNet?

My troop uses Troopmaster with the dotnet add-in. Only one person can update it at a time, but we only have me (AC), my backup and the training and medform updaters. No conflicts yet. I never leave it open (locking the database). The only problem we've had came when the CO implemented a firewall on the youth building network, blocking us from updating during meetings until we straightened it out.

I've never used a different software, so I can't compare.

[edit] I forgot to list the CC, SM and two ASMs, but they have read-only access. [/edit]
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