GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

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michaelcox
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GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby michaelcox » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:25 am

Is there any plans to add the MLS GeoCode fields to Clerk & Leader Tools on LDS.org? Just recently, for example, as Ward Clerk, I updated a members address in the Ward. The members new address was in a different GeoCode. However, they remained in the old GeoCode and so I had to ensure that I updated this the next time I was at the Church.

This is actually a pretty common double step. As an alternative, if GeoCodes are not added to LDS.org, it would be nice to just delete the MLS GeoCode if the address is updated on LDS.org, although I would prefer to have it available online.

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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:24 am

Rather than duplicate online the legacy Geo Code fields in MLS -- which are really just arbitrary codes, geographically dumb, that someone keys in -- an ideal solution would be to build online functionality to let clerks draw the geographic boundaries of the small area represented by each.

That would integrate with the more sophisticated geocoding of households to lat/lon point coordinates in the LDS maps application. When each household is geocoded, the corresponding area containing it would be calculated automatically.

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mlh78
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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby mlh78 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:09 am

RossEvans wrote:Rather than duplicate online the legacy Geo Code fields in MLS -- which are really just arbitrary codes, geographically dumb, that someone keys in -- an ideal solution would be to build online functionality to let clerks draw the geographic boundaries of the small area represented by each.

That would integrate with the more sophisticated geocoding of households to lat/lon point coordinates in the LDS maps application. When each household is geocoded, the corresponding area containing it would be calculated automatically.


Just starting another ward realignment project - this would make life so much easier...

michaelcox
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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby michaelcox » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:48 am

Which will be a simpler solution? Add the existing Geocode to LCR or change MLS to a new GeoCode field and update MLS? Stake GeoCode seems to be stored in Salt Lake so adding it to LCR seems like it would be pretty painless. Then perhaps replace the "legacy GeoCode" with something newer as time and resources allow.

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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:32 am

michaelcox wrote:Which will be a simpler solution? Add the existing Geocode to LCR or change MLS to a new GeoCode field and update MLS? Stake GeoCode seems to be stored in Salt Lake so adding it to LCR seems like it would be pretty painless. Then perhaps replace the "legacy GeoCode" with something newer as time and resources allow.


From the outside looking in, I can't speak to that completely. As a general matter, I do not suggest that programming a user interface to let clerks define areas interactively online would be easy, but the rest is basic GIS technology the church already uses.

But from the clerk's point of view, I think it is burdensome to ask them to do two tasks: Manually geocode the households for LDS Maps (which also must be updated whenever an address is edited); and manually key in the legacy "Geo Code" values, which still must be figured out externally somehow.

Actually, I think the LDS Maps geocoding itself is still more burdensome than it needs to be, but that is a separate issue.

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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby michaelcox » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:58 pm

I guess I'm a slacker as I have never gone into LDS Maps and done anything with Geocoding.

I do have 100% of my ward geocoded in MLS. Its pretty easy to maintain once its done. This has always been the one the Stake asks for and its always one of those late Wednesday things that they need done by Sunday morning.

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Re: GeoCode on LDS.org Clerk & Leader Tools

Postby RossEvans » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:54 am

michaelcox wrote:I guess I'm a slacker as I have never gone into LDS Maps and done anything with Geocoding.

Actually, we don't do much either, and our stake does not require it.

The reason is simple: The "verification" process in LDS Maps is very labor-intensive -- needlessly so, IMHO -- for too little benefit. Precisely because there is not yet any leadership functionality that uses the LDS Maps data for boundary analysis, HT/VT routes, fast offering routes, emergency preparedness districts, etc., our leaders don't see a good reason to do the work.

We have done a lot of ambitious geographic work for most of these functions at the ward level at various times, but we do it outside MLS and lds.org because we have better tools than the church provides. We used to have a ward clerk who maintained the LDS Maps verification as a labor of love, but that practice lapsed a couple of years ago when we lost him to a boundary split. Today, the nice-to-have feature of simply eyeballing the whole ward on a map online is not sufficiently compelling to justify the effort. Our membership clerks are already swamped with higher-priority duties.

However, in the long run, the church is supposed to be planning (if not actively developing) at least some of the higher functionality I am talking about, which then would make the LDS Maps data an important asset. Right now, boundary analysis uses the ancient "Geo Code" fields in MLS, which are inherently dumb geographically. But my bet is that the migration of the function to lds.org will use the real geocoding from LDS Maps somehow.

michaelcox wrote:I do have 100% of my ward geocoded in MLS. Its pretty easy to maintain once its done. This has always been the one the Stake asks for and its always one of those late Wednesday things that they need done by Sunday morning.


Sounds like somebody is actively contemplating a boundary adjustment. :) That's when stakes tend to care about getting this data on a tight deadline. I doubt that many stakes require such near-realtime updating of the MLS "Geo Code" fields routinely.


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