Benetech New Projects

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To submit a new project for Code Alliance volunteers, you can use the examples below and send an email attachment to:, or you can use the Google form here:

Current Project Submissions

These are the projects we could use help with:

Preferred Project: ODK 2.0 Visual Survey App

Organization Category Data Collection
Organization Name Benetech
About Us Benetech is a tech non-profit in Palo Alto whose mission is to empower communities in need with scalable technology solutions. Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman, over the last 15 years Benetech has built large-scale programs in education and accessibility (where we run the world’s largest library of accessible digital books in the world, reaching more than 400,000 readers worldwide with disabilities), and in human rights, where we’ve enabled strong digital encryption for human rights activists collecting highly sensitive data. Benetech Labs, our new product development arm, is where we experiment with new solutions to find the next high-impact social good tech Benetech will take to scale.
Project Name secureApp in ODK 2.0
Description Benetech's secureApp system is a prototype of a mobile data collection tool built using ODK 1.0 and on top of our existing Martus encrypted data tools for human rights activists. The system includes a web-based app generator that allows users to quickly build a custom app online, as well the resulting Android app, which sends data to our Martus server. We would like to take advantage of ODK 2.0 to improve the functionality and usability of secureApp, focusing first on the Android data collection app itself. Because this is a Labs project, one of the primary goals will be to learn more about the stability and extensibility of ODK 2.0 and identify gaps in the current release.
Time Estimation 8 - 12 weeks at 20 - 40 hours per week
Skills Needed
  • Java / Android Development
  • Basic HTML/CSS/Javascript
  • ODK/XForms Experience a plus
  • Experience Deploying VM images to servers
Number of Volunteers Requested 2  Engineers with a focus on Android App Development
3  Engineers for server setup and stability research
1 UI/UX designer
Specific Tasks Initially we would like to create a mobile survey tool that offers
  • visual survey (user selects from image choices instead of text choices) with custom HTML, CSS, and JS
  • multiple form selection from within an application
  • multiple form translations from within an application
  • skip logic and intra-survey calculation support
  • Location input via GPS and visual map
  • Capture of video and audio
  • Drawing capture 
  • Post survey summary reports available on device
  • Upload of survey data to hosted ODK Aggregate instance
  • Follow-up surveys that creates database relationship  to previous surveys
  • Whitelabeling of resulting App
  • Minimal app configuration by installing user (config, forms, and media should be baked in)
Contact Deep:

Alt Project: Benetech's Poet Tool

Organization Category Accessibility Tools
Organization Name Benetech, Poet (DIAGRAM Center)
About Us Benetech's DIAGRAM stands for “Digital Image And Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials,” a reference to its original mandate in 2010 to focus on making image content more accessible. At the end of 2015 the DIAGRAM Center was funded for another five years as DIAGRAM Center + to expand its work beyond images, looking broadly at creating new technologies and communities for accessible education. The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech Global Literacy initiative. Developed by The DIAGRAM Center, the Poet image description training tool is an open-source, web-based tool for creating and providing guidelines to writing image descriptions for images in existing DAISY and EPUB books. With Poet, it is possible to crowd source the creation of image descriptions, which can reduce both the cost for content creators and delivery time for end-users.
Project Name Poet Description Tool
Description We currently an old and basic version of the Poet tool, but it needs to be revamped and created anew from scratch with new technology. The UI and content is very outdated. We need a full rebuild and are hoping to have a volunteer team work directly with our internal Engineering team on the rebuild - splitting tasks up by week. Your team would be part of the 6 - 12 weeks of core work around the UI and Book content interface.
Time Estimation 8 - 12 weeks at 20 - 40 hours per week
Skills Needed To be consistent with the architecture and skills available within Benetech, we would use tools and technologies that have strong support both within Benetech and within the industry.
  • Postgres database
  • AWS hosting services (EC2, RDS, S3, etc)
  • Java 8 and Spring framework
  • Mainstream UI template system (Freemarker, Thymeleaf)
  • Mainstream UI libraries (jQuery, Bootstrap)
  • Github code repository
  • Jenkins build server
  • The system would be constructed as a traditional server-based webapp written in Java.
Number of Volunteers Requested 5 - 15 Engineers with a focus on Java and front-end UI (JQuery, Bootstrap)
Specific Tasks Key features to reproduce are:
  • upload EPUB
  • parse EPUB for images and be able navigate to images
  • add/edit EPUB with descriptions (alt, long), math (MathML or link to MMLC to grab alt text), Diagrammar support
  • inject edits back to original EPUB file
  • export updated EPUB
  • single library with uploads, allowing people to share files and/or return to a previously edited file
Links Project Sheet:
Contact Deep:
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