iShare My Alerts

Overview

iShare My Alerts enables a member of the public to sign up to a Local Authority alert service that automatically sends an email when any council related service event happens within a predefined distance from their house. The module plugs into My House / My Nearest and picks up any new additions to data for a particular location.

Alerts can be configured for a wide range of council services and activities, South Tyneside Council offer 21 different potential alerts that a citizen can sign up for, including planning, road works, news and event alerts.

Once configured My Alerts is fully automated with minimal administration required. My Alerts encourages citizens to self serve and provides a regular broadcast of locally relevant information supporting citizen engagement and channel shift.

The following is a typical scenario:

  • A user can subscribe to receive general alerts (news, jobs etc.) which are independent of their selected address(es)
  • A user can subscribe to location based alerts for one or more addresses of interest
  • For each address, the user sets a radius of interest and selects the alert categories of interest
  • The user then receive emails informing them when data changes

Alerts can be set up for any Layer Group and, if required, the actual Layer configured in My House / My Nearest. 

Users subscribe to alerts for Layer Groups  rather than individual Layers.

What Triggers an Alert

The following events will trigger an Alert in My Alerts.

  1. The addition or removal of Layers from a Layer Group
  2. Changes to the data that servers a Layer or a Virtual Layer.

Layer Group configuration overrides Layer configuration i.e. if you add a Layer into a Layer Group, but don't enable My Alerts on that Layer, then the initial addition of the Layer will trigger an alert.

Pre-Requisites

My Alerts will require the following components to be configured before running:

  • My Alerts database - This can be created using the AstunPGInstaller which may be found in the following folder e.g. D:\Astun\ishare\n.n\AstunPGInstaller. Enter the details of your Data Share database and click the My Alerts... button. This task would normally be performed by your Astun Consultant.
  • iShare Studio - This is where you can Configure My Alerts and also configure MyAlerts Users via the My Alerts Administrator Module.
  • My Alerts Front End - MyAlerts front end will need to interact with both iShare and My Alerts Web Services. From iShare it gets information about available MyHouse configuration and layer groups. And from My Alerts Web Services it gets access to user/location information which is stored in My Alerts database.

As users are entering passwords that get sent from the browser to the server as plaintext, we should strongly recommend that if a customer has My Alerts implemented on a live site, then that site should use HTTPS.

  • My Alerts Console - My Alerts Console only needs to know where it can find My Alerts Web Services so that it can retrieve users’ details and check changes using the web service function.
  • My Alerts Web Services - My Alerts Web Services will need to know where to find the Locate and Lookup SOAP Web Services from iShare to retrieve MapSource and Layer Group information, iShare root path/file information (to be used by MapSource library) and My Alerts changes checking options.

The relationship of all the modules mentioned above and detailed configuration options needed are shown in the following diagram:

Logging

To set up logging for My Alerts go to the My Alerts installation folder (e.g. D:\Astun\iShare\5.4\MyAlerts). In both sub-folders create a logs folder if not present already. Copy / paste and rename the log4net.config.example to log4net.config in both the the Webservice and Console folders. Logging will now be generated on the next run. 

To control the number of log files held by My Alerts adjust the MaxSizeRollBackups value in log4net.config. To control the file size of each backup adjust the MaximumFileSize value in the same file.