Technology comparison: Rescue relay transport tools

In this technology comparison and product review segment, we review the top rescue relay transport tools to help you coordinate your rescue relay transports.  We have provided you an executive summary for each of the four tools that we reviewed and a feature comparison down below.  What’s your experience with each of these tools?  Tell us. – Established in 2008 and has far reaching brand recognition in the aviation community and rescue community.  They use an open-sourcescreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-12-17-37-pm forum tool called OpenForum to manage their discussion boards.  There is not much automation and requests are posted to the board like a group message.  Their system notifies pilots that they have a new message but requires them to come back to the forum to see specifics of the transport request.  It is simple to use and quick, but does not have many of the features regular transporters would be looking for.

Pros: Simple to use and setup.  Quick to post a transport request

Cons: No verification of volunteers or anyone posting transport.  Requires extensive checking on posts and manually cobbling together a transport route.  Does not include drivers or overnights, only pilots.  No differentiation between profiles (volunteer, organization, animal, etc) as it is just a message board. – Their organization was originally formed in the late 90’s and was a pioneer in technology serving animal rescue.  Their site is custom developed by the owner but is somewhat screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-12-17-15-pmdifficult to utilize for transport features.  While it has a map and the from/to destinations for animals are plotted for you to see, trying to determine the legs is somewhat arduous and does not appear to be very successful given the number of completed transports.  They do allow you to attach animals and their site is very responsive and not hard to navigate.  The owner/developer continues to build it out further to help make things more seamless.

Pros: Quick to get setup and post an animal for transport; Established name and brand, well known.

Cons: Transport process is difficult to utilize without some playing around to get comfortable with it; no verification that the animals are coming from verified organization; no verification of users. – A later player to the game, launched in May of 2014.  While their initial functionality was limited and difficult to navigate, they have screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-3-15-36-pmmade tremendous enhancements in the last two years and now this is a very robust and fully developed software platform that makes tremendous strides in rescue relay transport.  They verify both volunteers and organizations and include many types of volunteers in the process (drivers, pilots, foster, photographers).  There are some quirks related to getting at the information you need but with over 13,000+ volunteers across the country they are by far the largest and most advanced player and still free for both volunteers and organizations alike.

Pros: Verification of volunteers & organizations; powerful, custom-built mapping and sign-up process; inclusive of all types of volunteers; includes advanced features like privacy not seen on other platforms; has both iOS and Android mobile apps.

Cons: With the powerful system comes complexity and while there are videos, there is also a learning curve

ASPCA MAP – [NOTE: As of the time of this review, the MAP system had not been functioning for several months.  We are not sure if this outage is temporary or if the ASPCA has permanently discontinued the platform as our inquiries have gone without reply.  The information here is based upon previous experience in using the platform and will be updated should the platform be re-opened for use]  The ASPCA MAP program (moving animals places) was initially launched back in 2013 and was designed to be a form for shelters to communicate securely and discuss transferring animals.  There is an approval process and the focus is on organizations, not volunteers.  There are some good features that enable an organization to find trading partners and respond and reply securely to inquiries however there is no rescue relay transport capabilities built into the system.

Pros: Secure messaging system and organizations require approval; built on Salesforce FORCE platform allowing for growth and scalability.

Cons: No mobile apps; focus on shelters and not volunteers or rescues