Filtering on verified location status missing

Beta testing of maps.lds.org
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dobrichelovek
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Filtering on verified location status missing

Postby dobrichelovek » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:48 am

The previous version allowed a nice filter to sort those households that are verified, unverified, unmapped (looks like this status has been changed to unknown), or approximate location. This ability is missing but is very, very useful.

The use case is that our ward was able to start with the Ward List and start organizing every household based on whether we knew they were there or not. We were able to filter out the list based on the status and (using the download utility or the print map utility, printing only the pages with the names) with the help of the FTMs in our ward reduce the number of households we knew nothing about to a much smaller number. This is allowing us to know where we needed to spend our efforts and which households we should focus on finding a new address for, in one way or another.

It's such a simple feature, but has turned out to be an important tool in organizing our efforts. Please make sure it isn't left out of the new version.

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Postby erinbourgeous » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:51 pm

dobrichelovek wrote:The previous version allowed a nice filter to sort those households that are verified, unverified, unmapped (looks like this status has been changed to unknown), or approximate location. This ability is missing but is very, very useful.

The use case is that our ward was able to start with the Ward List and start organizing every household based on whether we knew they were there or not. We were able to filter out the list based on the status and (using the download utility or the print map utility, printing only the pages with the names) with the help of the FTMs in our ward reduce the number of households we knew nothing about to a much smaller number. This is allowing us to know where we needed to spend our efforts and which households we should focus on finding a new address for, in one way or another.

It's such a simple feature, but has turned out to be an important tool in organizing our efforts. Please make sure it isn't left out of the new version.


Thanks for your feedback, it's on list of to-do items.
Erin Bourgeous
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Postby erinbourgeous » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:55 pm

dobrichelovek wrote:The previous version allowed a nice filter to sort those households that are verified, unverified, unmapped (looks like this status has been changed to unknown), or approximate location. This ability is missing but is very, very useful.

The use case is that our ward was able to start with the Ward List and start organizing every household based on whether we knew they were there or not. We were able to filter out the list based on the status and (using the download utility or the print map utility, printing only the pages with the names) with the help of the FTMs in our ward reduce the number of households we knew nothing about to a much smaller number. This is allowing us to know where we needed to spend our efforts and which households we should focus on finding a new address for, in one way or another.

It's such a simple feature, but has turned out to be an important tool in organizing our efforts. Please make sure it isn't left out of the new version.


Thanks for your feedback, this is on our list of to-do items.
Erin Bourgeous

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Postby dobrichelovek » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:51 pm

Erin, thanks for following up confirming that it is in the works. I'm glad to know that, as a feature, it will be back. That feature combined with the ability to sort the list by map number have been great tools that allow us to be more efficient in finding people and organizing visits.

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Postby dobrichelovek » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:40 pm

So I'm curious now that the old map app has been replaced with the new version. I still don't see the ability to filter on the status of household location information (verified, unknown, etc.) and this is a really important feature that we had before. Is it there and I just can't find it, or is it not yet implemented? Erin suggested it was on the to-do list. Is it still there?

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:16 pm

dobrichelovek wrote:So I'm curious now that the old map app has been replaced with the new version. I still don't see the ability to filter on the status of household location information (verified, unknown, etc.) and this is a really important feature that we had before. Is it there and I just can't find it, or is it not yet implemented? Erin suggested it was on the to-do list. Is it still there?


The option is there for me. Just above the directory, next to the search box, there is a funnel-shaped icon with a drop-down arrow. Clicking the arrow shows the filter options, which include the verification status.

But from your initial post, I don't understand your use of this feature. You said:

The use case is that our ward was able to start with the Ward List and start organizing every household based on whether we knew they were there or not. We were able to filter out the list based on the status and (using the download utility or the print map utility, printing only the pages with the names) with the help of the FTMs in our ward reduce the number of households we knew nothing about to a much smaller number. This is allowing us to know where we needed to spend our efforts and which households we should focus on finding a new address for, in one way or another.
But the concept of verification within the maps.lds.org application is supposed to refer to whether that address is plotted correctly at that location, not whether the member actually lives at the address. Verification is essentially just a manual geocoding step.

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:32 am

RossEvans wrote:The option is there for me. Just above the directory, next to the search box, there is a funnel-shaped icon with a drop-down arrow. Clicking the arrow shows the filter options, which include the verification status.


As it turns out, the filter-by-verfification-status is not there after all. When I posted the comment above yesterday, I was apparently pointed at the older version of the maps application, which I reached from logging into lds.org and selecting Tools -> Maps. But now, following that same login path, I am pointed at the new version of the maps application.

And dobrichelovek is correct. That filter option is absent. The option was very useful for its intended purpose of tracking verification of the geocoding. You can work around that by downloading the member list as a CSV, which displays the information in the Location Status column.

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Postby dobrichelovek » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:32 am

RossEvans wrote:[...] from your initial post, I don't understand your use of this feature. [...]

But the concept of verification within the maps.lds.org application is supposed to refer to whether that address is plotted correctly at that location, not whether the member actually lives at the address. Verification is essentially just a manual geocoding step.


So let me try to explain how we have been using it once more.

Yes, we use the verification status to identify whether the location is plotted correctly, but what would be the point of verifying an address at the correct location when we have discovered that the person doesn't live there at all? When we started we had a list of member households (over 100) that nobody in the ward leadership knew anything about, and we started with all households unverified. We quickly were able to verify those who come to church and those who were receiving their home and visiting teachers regularly, but we needed an organized way to keep track of, and sort through, those who were left.

The verification status of the maps worked great for this purpose, as we were able to change the status of those households where we knew that the members of that household were either there or not. The list of unverified locations were households that we still needed to address, those who no longer live in the ward were unmapped and put on the list of households that the clerk needed to deal with. Almost everyone else was verified as being where they were mapped, whether we see them regularly or not.

The point I made about the use of the filter feature is the fact that it would carry forward (in the previous version) to printing, allowing us to filter on the statuses when printing a map and unit list associated with that map. When the missionaries or quorums printed the map, they could filter on those who were verified, or those who were unverified (depending on their goals for the map) and sort them according to map number, which is a rough North-South/West-East filtering of the addresses, so the households would be generally grouped based on their neighborhoods, allowing those who were going to visit an easy way to consider a nearby household to their current location after a dinner appointment or some other visit. In areas where the units take up more than four city blocks this tends to be particularly useful.

I am aware that it is possible to download the list into a .csv file, but this doesn't address the point I just made about being able to use that filtered list when applying it to the map when printing and using a map-number sorting.

The download doesn't work correctly for some other languages, either, and gives unreadable characters when downloading the file, instead of household names. This is currently a problem in units where their language is based on Cyrillic characters. Not really a workaround for those whose language wasn't considered (or if it was, the fix hasn't been a priority) when the feature was implemented.

So, if the concept of the verification status was only meant to whether the address was plotted correctly and I am using it incorrectly, then I guess I didn't quite understand correctly :) but I figured it's a forgivable offense, since it really met the need that we had in our ward and I am advocating for it, with this explanation, as a way to accomplish the same things we did where the lists had gotten stale and we needed to sort them out.

I was hoping, by bringing it up when the new version first entered Beta, to avoid the situation where this feature was missed in the new version when it 'officially' replaced the old one. I am hoping, as I said, that this feature is still on the list and will be implemented.

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:39 am

dobrichelovek wrote:Yes, we use the verification status to identify whether the location is plotted correctly, but what would be the point of verifying an address at the correct location when we have discovered that the person doesn't live there at all? When we started we had a list of member households (over 100) that nobody in the ward leadership knew anything about, and we started with all households unverified. We quickly were able to verify those who come to church and those who were receiving their home and visiting teachers regularly, but we needed an organized way to keep track of, and sort through, those who were left.

The verification status of the maps worked great for this purpose, as we were able to change the status of those households where we knew that the members of that household were either there or not. The list of unverified locations were households that we still needed to address, those who no longer live in the ward were unmapped and put on the list of households that the clerk needed to deal with. Almost everyone else was verified as being where they were mapped, whether we see them regularly or not.


Much better to use the application as designed. There is always an ongoing task of tracking MLS membership when records come in without verifying that the members are really there. But that is a larger, complex problem that needs to be worked outside the maps application.

During the period between the time the member's presence at the address is confirmed to be wrong and the time the clerk resolves that situation in MLS, I suppose there is no harm in unmapping the location on maps.lds.org. Only bishopric members and clerks have the privilege to do that, anyway, with good reason. This is their responsibility. But the maps application does not come close to meeting the clerks' need for tracking the status of lost members and forwarding addresses, etc. They and other ward leaders still have to keep this family on some separate to-do list to distinguish it from other addresses that simply could not be geocoded, which is the documented definition of what unmapped is supposed to mean on the website.

If the clerk does unmap the address during this period of limbo, then it doesn't interfere with the map-based canvassing effort you describe -- without additional filtering -- by other ward leaders.

But there is confusion introduced among all users if members are told that "Unverified" effectively means, "We don't even know if this person really is in the ward at all." In fact, many active members may show up as "Unverified" for some significant period of time. Since the "Unverified" status was typically assigned automatically by a geocoding process that is inherently fallible, all that status is supposed to communicate is that there is a chance the geocoding might be inaccurate. Conversely, rank-and-file users should not be led to believe that "Verified" means anything more than it is supposed to mean in the churchwide design of the maps applications -- that the geocoding of the address is accurate. Clerks often can verify that much using online tools without ever going to the location.

Just by showing up at the door and confirming or refining the geocoding on a GPS-enabled phone, that address can be marked "Verified" even if no one answers the doorbell. That itself is progress for the clerk, who ultimately is responsible for setting the location status of everyone on maps.lds.org. Once the geocoding is flagged as "Verified," he knows that he does not need to repeat that task.

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Postby dobrichelovek » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:59 pm

RossEvans wrote:Much better to use the application as designed. There is always an ongoing task of tracking MLS membership when records come in without verifying that the members are really there. But that is a larger, complex problem that needs to be worked outside the maps application.


Well, we're using it as it was designed, just for a purpose that wasn't originally intended, which is often how products morph into something better and more useful. But that's a discussion beyond my point. :)

In reality, all new addresses (so far, unless I misunderstand the way the process works) get put in an unverified status until someone who has permission changes that. This serves very well as a list of households that haven't yet been 'processed' and I see absolutely no reason to not utilize this a a good starting point for a trigger for other activities (much like the member's moved in list, but with a state machine that takes them off the list once they have been verified) that need to happen. Is it THE solution to what we are trying to do? No. It's a tool, just like all the other lists that are available in MLS, which would be a greater burden on the Clerk if he had to distribute the same information to those who can now get it so easily when we use it this way. Your point about tracking MLS membership being larger than this is well understood, but it met our needs to get things under control, and continues to meet the need by giving the WML a list of new members to visit when the missionaries (ward or full-time) are in a certain area and an appointment falls through. If we simply used it to confirm or correct the accuracy of an automated geo-location attempt, we would be getting busy work done, but in this case, we get that task done and accomplish even more.

What we do is run the risk of the program changing and not working as we have come to expect because it was not originally intended to meet the need it happens to fill so nicely. I suppose it is a risk that I think is worth it, but in general, most people use something the way it is designed without specific regard to how it was intended to be used. I think it's a great thing that it was originally designed in a way that was not restrictive so that we could get something done that was needed in a more efficient way.

Should all the members come to expect that a certain status means something specific? No, probably not, but I also see no reason why members that aren't where their address says shouldn't be unmapped, and the clerk could use that list of unmapped households to do what a clerk should do with those households, including moving them out, or correcting their address and verifying their correct location. Members that aren't verified are a good indication that someone needs to verify that location, and if we make an effort to ensure that someone is actually there in the process, it's a good thing in my book... because that means there was personal contact, instead of just a verified address. If the HPGL and the EQP and the RS President happen to use the list to make sure they have home and visiting teachers for everyone who has been verified, because we know that they are actually there, then they can at least have a better hope that they won't be sending someone to a house where a member never actually lived, because we have already dealt with that in the process of 'verifying' the address.

So, wherever this documented understanding of what verified means is canonized, I hardly think that what we have chosen to do with this tool breaks that, because at the end of the day we have verified that a household address is physically where it is represented on the map, but we also have taken the opportunity to sort out and visit those individuals who are actually there, represented by a dot. While doing so, we might have saved some home teacher months of frustration knocking and getting no answer, just to find out that the person actually lived across the street... even though the address that was recorded was 'verified'. Perhaps a spiritual thought was shared with someone who needed to hear it while we did just a little more than confirming the address was plotted correctly.

Respectfully, :) if your goal was to convince me that our use was not really acceptable, you'll have to try again. I can be stubborn sometimes. :)

But the whole point of my reviving this thread is still not accomplished. Is the filter for location status still a feature that will be implemented? I am trying to make the case that is should be, even if it's not a documented and approved reason... it is effective and has uses that make it more effective to serve those for whom we have responsibilities.


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