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Mission Personnel Database

Mission Database is a web-based personnel database and message broadcast system designed for small-to-medium size international organizations such as missions and NGOs. Its purpose is to provide a unified, consistent and accessible source of the organization's personnel data in a single location. Its details are arranged specifically for the group SIM in Nigeria, but it can be modified to fit the needs of many other organizations. The main features include

  • Since it is web based, any authorized user can access the data from anywhere as long as an Internet connection is available.

  • Users can also use email and SMS (mobile phone text messages) to retrieve information such as a calendar, report, or contact info for another user. This means that Internet access is not needed for basic information retrieval.

  • Users can broadcast messages to all employees or selected subsets, with the messages sent by email and/or SMS. For example, an authorized user can use her mobile phone to send a text message to the system, which will then rebroadcast it to all the members in a certain location.

  • The system can email notices about updates to the travel and contact data. Travelers receive email reminders about their planned travel, so that they can communicate any changed plans before it's too late.

  • Report capabilities (most of these can be shown in the browser as well as downloaded as PDF files)

    • directory (phone and email list) by name and/or location
    • travel schedule
    • current and projected tours of duty
    • calendar (one month) showing birthdays and travel
    • birthday list (by name and by date)
    • blood type list (great when emergency donors are needed)
    • a few basic statistical reports such as tables of members by age and sex, locations, positions, and so on
  • Data an be exported into comma-separated-value (CSV) files for importing into spreadsheets or other databases.

  • Employee data includes

    • demographics such as birthdate, nationality, sex, and current location, spouse (may also be employed), children ...
    • basic health data including blood type, medications, medical problems
    • organization data such as position (ministry), qualifications, and date employed
    • contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, blogs, emergency contacts ...)
    • current and past travel (assumed to be international travel to and from the assigned country)
    • tours of duty (in missions parlance, "terms") past, current, and planned

    Employees/members are organized in family units [since SIM uses the term "members", we will use that term interchangeably with "employees" in this document].

Technical Overview

Framework: Ruby on Rails version 3.0.7, with ActiveScaffold.

Database: PostgreSQL

Pre-configured SMS Gateways: Clickatell, Twilio


  • Username-password authentication
  • All Internet access is secure (HTTPS)
  • Group-based authorization
  • Email and SMS communication is authenticated based on the phone number or email address. (While an email "from" address could be spoofed, the reply can only be sent to the valid email address.)
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