YSA Directory - Group By Address

Discussions about the Directory Tool on lds.org. Questions about the Directory on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
n8elgr8
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YSA Directory - Group By Address

Postby n8elgr8 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:36 pm

This came up during the last round of testing for LDS Tools for android, but I think it really belongs here.

YSA wards, as a rule, have groups of unrelated people who are all heads of household all of whom live at the same address. When it comes time to print the directory, it is sorted by name which causes all sorts of headaches. What would be great -- better than great, fantastic -- is to group by address.

Grouping by household or name makes sense in traditional family wards. However, it is a common source of frustration in YSA wards. Currently, there is no easy way to see who lives where and with whom. When trying to determine needs, home teaching routes, home evening groups, and many other tasks, this presents a problem. It also makes it harder to know if you've got less actives or just lonely folks that are living alone without support. Group or order by address and those problems are all solved. (Not to mention when asking someone out and you didn't realize a "roommate conflict" existed. :) )

Most YSA wards have someone assigned to make a ward directory and they do it around 4 times a year. For my ward I've created a Crystal Report to do most of the work, but it still requires a good deal of effort to gather all the photos and format the CSV from lds.org to make it work.

As the membership clerk for my ward, I think the most common whining I hear is when there isn't a directory grouped by address. I'm not sure if others hear/experience the same thing, but if the dev team is open to suggestions, a order by or group by address function (even just in the print options) would be a hugely beneficial tool.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:57 pm

I'd think that Group By would be easy enough. But how would it be sorted? If it's by address, how would you find anyone by name? If by address, is it by street name or street number first?
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n8elgr8
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YSA Directory - Group By Address

Postby n8elgr8 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:15 pm

It's a good point and it really is a use-case problem. If someone asks for an address for Sally Jones you would either have to be looking at an alphabetical list or know where sally lives. Often if a ward prints and distributes a directory, they will attach an index which is little more than a short alphabetical listing for just that reason.

For a large number of cases, singles living together are often treated as a group. Home teaching, FHE groups, dinner invitations, etc generally are delt with apartment by apartment. Even visiting teaching assignments are made considering the group (i.e. roomates don't typically visit teach one another.)
As for sorting, I would think that ordering on street first then address would be best simply because it would cause the list to be more geographically sorted. In Provo wards it makes little difference because our wards take up a couple blocks or an apartment complex and not much more.

If it would be helpful I can send you some examples of what people are putting together "in the wild".
Image

rontilby
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Postby rontilby » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:52 pm

The MLS software has a GeoCode feature that will allow you to group your members geographically. The LDS.ORG directory does not carry forward the GeoCode from MLS (at least not visibly). It is an "old-fashioned paper-based" solution, but you could use the MLS GeoCode feature to group and report your members by location for leader reports.

n8elgr8
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Postby n8elgr8 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:38 pm

Not a bad idea for sorting once grouped but as for reports you wouldn't have photos. Also you wouldn't want to group on geocode alone since that does not uniquely identify houses/apartments. There are a number of ways to sort a text list by address, but that doesn't quite solve the need. If the online directory could pull and group on geocode that would be slick, though not really required to solve the basic issue.

rontilby wrote:The MLS software has a GeoCode feature that will allow you to group your members geographically. The LDS.ORG directory does not carry forward the GeoCode from MLS (at least not visibly). It is an "old-fashioned paper-based" solution, but you could use the MLS GeoCode feature to group and report your members by location for leader reports.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:47 pm

There are lots of ways to group by address if you export the data. One inherent weakness is that MLS and related online systems is that our address data tends to be dirty. There is no address standardization, and clerks may enter the same address differently on different records. This can be mitigated but probably not eliminated through discipline.

n8elgr8
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Postby n8elgr8 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:28 am

Ross,
You're absolutely right about the dirty address data. I spent a good amount of time coming up with a programmatic solution to building a picture directory and that was always a problem. You're also right about the address reports -- there are a ton of ways to group them by address, but no single easy way to create a photo directory grouped in that manner.

Keep in mind that it isn't just leadership that use this kind of thing. When I announced in our Elder's Quorum that we were doing the directory pictured above there were actual cheers and clapping.

The simple group by on the PDF print would mean that people could mothball their current solutions (which range from a glue stick and scissors to visual studio) and just use the tools the church provides.

If this is something that the dev team is interested in evaluating I'd be happy to write up a slew of use cases, scenarios, whatever is needed. I'd volunteer to code it, but my code is almost always terrible hacks so it's best I don't do that.

Of course this is just my suggestion -- I don't want to be the annoying pain in the rear end user that makes you want to kick puppies :).

Thanks for the input and feedback and interest in my idea!

gongo2k1
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Postby gongo2k1 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:48 pm

I think that it would be very helpful to have individuals grouped by address.
Sort by order would be something like: state, city, street name, house number, apartment number, last name.
This way apartment complexes in neighboring towns don't jumble the directory, and every apartment is sorted within its complex.
It's not perfect and there are definitely situations where it might not work the best, but it's certainly much more coherent than just a list of households with a single individual in each.
It's something that family wards will definitely benefit from as well since it makes it easier to group together families for visiting/home teaching.
How many Bishoprics and RS/EQ presidencies waste so much time looking at a map trying to figure out home teaching routes or car pooling for neighboring families? Answer: every unit I've ever been in.

wertdl
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Postby wertdl » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:48 pm

I am an EQP in a YSA ward, and I would LOVE a "group by" option. It would make my life so much easier when I organize home teaching, PPI's, visits, etc.

Just a thought - isn't there a feature that groups households on Maps? Is there a way we could expand that to the Directory?

douglas.valentine
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Postby douglas.valentine » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:27 am

I am a councilor in a YSA bishopric and we too struggle creating the ward directory by apartments. It is necessary to group by apartments as we assign callings, create family home evening groups, etc. . .

A group by feature on lds.org would be very helpful, but if not, we want to know a good way to produce one using microsoft office. Is there an easy way to organize address', pictures, and phone numbers to produce a ward directory by apartment?


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