Initial responses

I have had a few positive responses to the site, which is encouraging, and also a couple of requests to put up events. Please note that this site is only for testing the concept, not for publicising events in the long term. If there is a consensus to go with a calendar site like this one then I think the first thing we need to do is decide on a name for the initiative. Once we have a name we could choose a domain name that is consistent with it. www.daveevans.nz is really not appropriate!

Getting events on to the calendar is not automated. I suspect it will always need moderating to some extent, given the destructive trolls that live under the Internet. I am willing to put the events up, but only if they are made known to me in an agreed form that gives all the details – hence the Google form in the previous post. Events can also be picked semi-automatically from a Facebook event calendar or a Google calendar. If you want to submit several events I could supply a template spreadsheet that has all the necessary columns. I am not offering to search out an enter event details myself, that just wouldn’t scale to the potentially large number of events.

Comments can be made on any of these posts by clicking on the “Leave a comment” link below. Perhaps leave your suggestions for the name of the initiative. Once we have some candidate names perhaps we could use a SurveyMonkey poll to select the most popular. This would be quicker than waiting until the next networking meeting, if that’s the way people want to go.

Draft calendar operation

This site is a first attempt at providing an event calendar for environmental/ecological organisations in the greater Christchurch area. Nothing about it is “set in concrete” and I (Dave Evans) welcome suggestions for improvements. If the site is seen to be useful, then one of the first things that needs to be decided is a name for the site and a domain name could follow from that. Options could be proposed and a Doodle poll held to help decide.

The Events menu entry in the top right corner takes you to the full calendar. The right sidebar of the other pages features the most imminent events. Each event in the calendar and the sidebar is a link to a page for the event that has more detail on it. Some events have an associated image to create a bit of colour. The events in the calendar were mostly imported from www.braid.org.nz, courtesy of Sonny Whitelaw, or uploaded from the Trees for Canterbury Facebook page. I added a couple of Travis Wetland Trust events to test the processes.

The home page is a blog that could be used to feature events, or pass on information not related to any particular event. An RSS feed could be used to alert people to upcoming events. I started on a page linking to associated groups, but you’ll see that I didn’t get very far. Pages for other purposes could be added – this is a WordPress-based site.

I can envisage a number of ways to get events into the calendar. Importing events from a Facebook page is one of the easiest and all I have to do is tell the Event Aggregator software the URL of the page. Importing from Google calendars is similar. Events can also be imported from an ICS file, a widely used calendar format. I got the events from Braid by exporting events from its calendar to an ICS file and then importing them into this site’s calendar – a couple of minutes work. I have also made a Google form where event details may be entered, but this is still a work in progress. They go from there to a spreadsheet, from where I can easily import the events into the event calendar. Some imports can be done automatically on a regular basis.

Hosting and domain name registration would be about $150 pa and the Event Aggregator plugin for automated event imports costs $130 pa.

Comments and questions are welcomed.