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Global UFO Database goal of MUFON’s Kickstarter campaign

Construction of a “new, global UFO database” was announced today by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), according to Executive Director Jan C. Harzan.

“The new system has been designed to capture UFO reports, display the data, and find answers,” Harzan said. “Now we need to build it.”

The announcement comes as MUFON launches a Kickstarter campaign to raise $78,000 in funding.

As the world’s oldest and largest investigative body into the UFO phenomenon, MUFON promotes “the scientific study of UFOs.”

From their Kickstarter page:

WHO is MUFON? Why are we qualified?

MUFON was founded in 1969. We are the oldest and largest civilian UFO research group in the world. But we know as well as anyone that being the oldest and the largest doesn’t necessarily make you the best. Here is why we believe that we are the organization best qualified to tackle this important challenge.

We already have the data. We’ve been logging and capturing UFO data for over 40 years.

As a non-profit organization, we have no motive other than our mission.

As a civilian organization, we have not ties or pressure from the agenda of the US government.

We have a vast trove of historical documents and evidence that is now locked down in our Hangar1 archives. We want to make the documents accessible to the public, not just through a show but also through our database.

Our new Executive Director, Jan Harzan, has 37 years of experience in information technology as an executive at IBM. He also has a BS in Nuclear Engineering.

MUFON has already invested countless hours and over $30,000 of its own dollars in the pursuit of this initiative. We are enthusiastic, dedicated, and have the expertise to pull it off.

MUFON has partnered with ReWired UX Studio to tackle the design and usability of the system. Sophia Voychehovski, the founder and lead designer for the agency, is a long-time member and volunteer for MUFON. ReWired is providing MUFON with volunteer and discounted services – without discounted quality. Sophia’s past work includes: CNN.com, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, ADP, the Australian Tax Office and several technology start-ups.

WHEN will we launch the new system?

As long as this campaign is successful, we plan to finalize our developer hiring by the beginning of January. We’ve started the interviewing and estimation process but we want to make sure we find the right people and scope-out the work based on how much money we raise. We hope to kick-off development by mid-January and launch the first iteration of the new site by May/June 2015.  That said, we will likely continue to launch features and fixes after the first release.

One of the donation rewards is this MUFON T-shirt. (Credit: MUFON)

One of the donation rewards is this MUFON T-shirt. (Credit: MUFON)

WHY do we need 78k?

Sure, using WordPress you can launch a website in an afternoon. But what we are trying to accomplish is a BIT more complicated. It’s not rocket surgery, but it will take months of skilled development.

Have you ever been to a site that loads painfully slow? That breaks when you try to use it? That seems to be missing important functionality? This is what we want to avoid. We’ve come to terms with the fact that you get what you pay for. And we cannot accomplish this using only volunteers. We need to bring in the pros to do this right.

The Kickstarter campaign offers several levels of donation: $5, $20, $35, $70, $100, $175, $325, $500 and $800. Each level offers donors complimentary perks ranging from stickers to t-shirts to entry into their annual Symposium.

The pledge period runs through December 2, 2014, and the project will only be funded if it raises at least $78,000. Nearly $9,000 was raised in the early hours of the campaign.

For more information or to donate to MUFON’s fundraiser campaign, visit their Kickstarter page.

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About Roger Marsh

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Roger Marsh is a UFO writer and content developer. He is Director of Communications for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) where he manages media contact, rights and permissions, and content development for television, film, documentary, radio, print and stage. Roger is a MUFON case researcher for History channel’s “Hangar 1: The UFO Files.” He is editor of the monthly international MUFON UFO Journal, executive producer of the weekly “MUFON UFO Traffic Report” radio show; serves as the MUFON webmaster; reporter for the daily “UFO Traffic Report” in web and audio formats; and publisher of the “MUFON Books” imprint. He is the author of Sacred Dialogue, editor of Silent Invasion, and co-editor of Ron Paul Speaks. Roger was featured in the 2015 season premiere episode of Destination America's "Monsters & Mysteries in America." Roger and his wife, Joyce, live in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, restoring a 1910 Pennsylvania four-square.

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