The MADD project
The data of the Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings of the Swiss Confederation, must be accessible. Until recently, the process of making the data available was very manual. The Federal Statistical Office (FSO), initiator of the project, describes the MADD project as follows: "MADD, an acronym for ‘Mise A Disposition des Données’ (Provision of data), is a project that was carried out by the GEWO (Buildings and Dwellings) section of the FSO. The objective of this project was to automate the ordering process as much as possible and to offer a standardized access to the data for the users".
Despite the many challenges, an excellent collaboration between the FSO and Camptocamp made it possible to specify, develop and put into production a reliable solution that meets the needs perfectly in June 2021.
Many stakeholders in Switzerland need access to building and residential data. This data can be ordered. Prior to the implementation of MADD, the files for the orders were largely prepared manually. The aim of the project was to automate the process and to implement the eCH-0206 standard, which describes the XML format of the output data.
Data and upload requests are transmitted to MADD via an interface called SEDEX. The data is then validated and filtered according to the requests. Two outputs are finally possible:
- A Zip file corresponding to each request, made available for download, with login access ('GUI')
- An XML Web service ('REST') implementing the eCH-0206 standard, with direct access to the data based on parameters
The first challenge was the complexity of the data itself. The data commands transmitted via SEDEX are structured in such a way that a dynamic query construction was required. In addition, the XML output format and the web service query system are particularly complex. An important part of the project was therefore devoted to understanding the imposed formats and mechanisms. Other problems encountered included the principle of updating data and queries without causing system downtime. The volume of the generated XML files also posed real problems both in terms of data handling and performance.
These difficulties were solved thanks to the business skills of the FSO and the technical expertise of Camptocamps' development team. Both parties showed availability, openness and pragmatism to ensure an ideal and always solution-oriented collaboration. On the technical side, a modern software factory based on Docker containers facilitated the deployment process and the implementation of a scalable architecture.
Adapting to change
On several occasions, this project required a real ability to adapt. On the one hand, given the duration of the project and its development in several successive phases, the teams were changed several times, both at FSO and Camptocamp. On the other hand, the eCH-0206 standard and the SEDEX tool were not ready at the beginning of the project; they evolved along the way. This project helped to improve the standard in an iterative way thanks to the practical feedback of its implementation.
The organization and monitoring of the project were therefore particularly important. The Scrum development framework, implemented from the beginning, allowed the team to be reactive and to make the right choices at the right time, while respecting budgets and deadlines. Very regular sessions helped mitigate the disadvantages of working remotely due to the sanitary restrictions. Sufficiently long knowledge transfer periods ensured smooth transitions between staff.
The keys to success
The success of the MADD project is therefore due to the combination of an efficient organization supported by Scrum, the skills of the teams, an adaptation to change and a collaboration based on openness, availability and positivity. This is what the FSO underlines: "Thanks not only to its technical and technological skills, but also to its well-targeted solution proposals and its very short reaction time to the problems encountered, the team of Camptocamp allowed the project to be carried out efficiently and on time. The FSO highly appreciated the professionalism and commitment of Camptocamp to the success of this project".
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