all church locations (data dump)

Discussions about the Maps Tool on lds.org.
trhodes-p40
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all church locations (data dump)

Postby trhodes-p40 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:28 pm

Hi there, is it possible for me to get a data dump of all the US church building locations? I would like to take all those addresses and format them for my TomTom. While traveling it would be great to just simply look up on my TomTom POI the location and time of the nearest ward.

I have already taken the mls export and programatically created a POI for all the members in my ward and it works great. Pretty neat actually, but just need a way to get all the ward buildings. If you have a webservice I can hit that would work just as well.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:55 pm

trhodes wrote:Hi there, is it possible for me to get a data dump of all the US church building locations? I would like to take all those addresses and format them for my TomTom. While traveling it would be great to just simply look up on my TomTom POI the location and time of the nearest ward.

I have already taken the mls export and programatically created a POI for all the members in my ward and it works great. Pretty neat actually, but just need a way to get all the ward buildings. If you have a webservice I can hit that would work just as well.

I can't provide official information about whether the Church will provide web services or data dumps for just anyone to download, as I am only a volunteer community member. I seriously doubt a data dump being made available, and web services seem only somewhat likely. The Church has a web site that will find nearest meetinghouses (and/or assigned wards) to a specific location: http://maps.lds.org

There is no way for the site to give you all meetinghouses everywhere though, and I think that is most definitely by design. If you have a data plan or web browser on your phone, then that's probably your best bet.

trhodes-p40
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Postby trhodes-p40 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:59 pm

ummm..I wonder why though? Because if the information is freely on the web, which it is as you pointed out, then why couldn't a person have it all at one time? Also, before the maps.lds.org website, there use to be another site where you could search for meeting houses. If someone took the time they could have built an application which would have scrapped the pages to get all the information they wanted. Personally, I wouldn't want to do this, but it could have been done. I have scapped pages in the past and it's not really all that fun.

Another thing, there are POI's for all temples in the US and it's a great tool.

Oh, I just thought of another thing, any member can grab every single members name, address and phone number (if listed) in their entire Stake. I'm getting ready to create a POI for a member of the Stake Presidency so he can easily find his way to those members. Tools to help the work go forward.

Again, I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. However, if it's the Church's official position then of course I'm cool with it.

BTW, cute kids. ;)

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:43 pm

trhodes wrote:ummm..I wonder why though? Because if the information is freely on the web, which it is as you pointed out, then why couldn't a person have it all at one time? Also, before the maps.lds.org website, there use to be another site where you could search for meeting houses. If someone took the time they could have built an application which would have scrapped the pages to get all the information they wanted. Personally, I wouldn't want to do this, but it could have been done. I have scapped pages in the past and it's not really all that fun.

Another thing, there are POI's for all temples in the US and it's a great tool.

Oh, I just thought of another thing, any member can grab every single members name, address and phone number (if listed) in their entire Stake. I'm getting ready to create a POI for a member of the Stake Presidency so he can easily find his way to those members. Tools to help the work go forward.

Again, I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. However, if it's the Church's official position then of course I'm cool with it.

BTW, cute kids. ;)

Haha, thanks.

Well, it's the knowledge of knowing the location of every meetinghouse in the US (or even the world) that I think the average person just doesn't need to know. I mean yes, it is public information and you can obtain a few meetinghouses around a specific location, but I can't think of a way to scrape this information in a reasonable way. Maps.lds.org asks for an address, city, state, and/or country and then it will show you meetinghouses nearby. In order to scrape you would have to go through a very thorough set of cities or even down to addresses to get everything. The interface makes it difficult to get more than a small set of meetinghouses at one time, and that is why I said I think it is by design. It appears intentionally difficult to get all or most of the data in one query.

trhodes-p40
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Postby trhodes-p40 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:30 am

I'm not wanting to be too difficult, but it's not as hard as one would think. The website allows you to search simply by zip code. Take all the zip codes (http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/zips.txt)....throw them programmatically onto the search page for maps.lds.org and scrape the findings. Write a program that will search and remove duplicates from a text file or database you just filled from maps.lds.org; then call the yahoo API webservice to get the long and lat coordinates; then format for your TomTom POI file.

The part I don't want to do is scrape the page; it would be easier if I could just have all the ward building locations and meeting times. I have everything else written and ready to go and would make it free to anyone wanting the POI.

All I'm stating, is that it can be done and would love the opportunity to make it avaiable for others to enjoy.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:28 am

trhodes wrote:I'm not wanting to be too difficult, but it's not as hard as one would think. The website allows you to search simply by zip code. Take all the zip codes (http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/zips.txt)....throw them programmatically onto the search page for maps.lds.org and scrape the findings. Write a program that will search and remove duplicates from a text file or database you just filled from maps.lds.org; then call the yahoo API webservice to get the long and lat coordinates; then format for your TomTom POI file.

The part I don't want to do is scrape the page; it would be easier if I could just have all the ward building locations and meeting times. I have everything else written and ready to go and would make it free to anyone wanting the POI.

All I'm stating, is that it can be done and would love the opportunity to make it avaiable for others to enjoy.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

I'm not sure but I believe that the reason the Church does not publish a list of all meeting houses world-wide would in part be for security reasons. Because of this, I'd check with CHQ before posting this information.

Tom

falisrm-p40
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there is a member that does this for fun on his own time.

Postby falisrm-p40 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:34 am

I can't find the website right now. It's like lds meetinghouses and it's a blog but i do have the downloaded file for you. oh, it's not letting me do the attachment. you can email me at pstanek@homeengineering.org and i can send it to you. He has all of the meetinghouses in north america mapped.

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:01 am

trhodes wrote: ... then call the yahoo API webservice to get the long and lat coordinates; then format for your TomTom POI file.


Aside from any potential problems the Church might have with publishing this compilation of information, the method described above would seem to violate the Yahoo! Maps API Terms of Use:


1. Licensed Uses and Restrictions.
...
YOU SHALL NOT:
...
(ix) use the stand-alone geocoder for any use other than displaying Yahoo! Maps or displaying points on Yahoo! Maps;


There are other methods of geocoding, but I think this one is coloring outside the legal lines. (IANAL)

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:47 pm

As for the desirability of publishing the addresses of meetinghouse locations, and related questions raised about security, I have to wonder if there is a significant issue. The addresses of LDS meetinghouses are hardly a secret. The area meetinghouses are listed in my local phone book, and I assume the same is true for other locations. Online directories are also easy to find in the United States. A search herefor "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" returned more than 22,000 entries.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:27 pm

boomerbubba wrote:As for the desirability of publishing the addresses of meetinghouse locations, and related questions raised about security, I have to wonder if there is a significant issue. The addresses of LDS meetinghouses are hardly a secret. The area meetinghouses are listed in my local phone book, and I assume the same is true for other locations. Online directories are also easy to find in the United States. A search herefor "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" returned more than 22,000 entries.


The original question was why the Church does not publish online data on all meetinghouse locations. It seems reasonable to assume that it is not because of privacy concerns; as several people have pointed out, that information is public knowledge.

But just because the Church could publish such information does not mean that they consider it to be worth the effort. What exactly would the benefit to the Church be? It seems like it would benefit a very small number of members. On the other hand, deciding how to publish it, gathering the information, developing the web service or other interface to deliver the information, and keeping it up to date would cost some money and take time that could be spent on other more important priorities. In my opinion, it is simply a matter of cost-benefit analysis, and the benefit does not justify the cost.


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