Emergency contact zone lists

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
reedcom
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Emergency contact zone lists

Postby reedcom » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:25 pm

In case of a disaster, our ward is trying to organize emergency contact lists. In other words if something bad happens, a zone leader will visit the members near them and report back if they are OK. These have to be very geographically local (only visit people closest to you), unlike home teaching which should not have such restrictions. But the way it could be organized would be very similar to home teaching in MLS.

So I am suggesting you add a way to organize zone leaders, companionships and families similar to home teaching, for purposes of emergencies in MLS (or better, the website). Currently a separate list must be kept, and it is very difficult to keep it in sync when members move in and out and contact info changes. It is also very difficult to figure out who lives closest to whom (which could be automated).

Before this feature could be added, an easy report could be created, which shows a printout of recently changed contact information or move-in, move-outs so that an external list like this emergency list could be more easily maintained. This report would be useful for other reasons also.

idjeeper2
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby idjeeper2 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:20 pm

You could probably get some ideas about this by reading some of the threads on geocodes. I don't remember which subforum they are in, but search for that term and you will find them. My ward uses the Ward Geocode field in MLS for this purpose among others.

Some aspects of what you want to do would be easy for a person with experience in Geographic Information Systems but with a little effort anyone can do it with a map and a sharpie.

reedcom
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby reedcom » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:26 pm

The emergency prep people in our ward made zones with geocodes. I was just suggesting somebody program something to make it much easier, and so all wards could use it to be prepared. Shoot, I'd program it if they let me at the code.

idjeeper2
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby idjeeper2 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:21 pm

Got it! Other than the Geocodes, the only other possibility I know of is using the custom member fields. That is still a lot of work and kind of a clunky work-around. Your idea is a good. It could be easy to implement by simply cloning the Home Teaching structure and renaming it Emergency Response, or something along those lines.

I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of some of the MLS developers that hang around here periodically. They might feel this gets away from the core purpose of MLS (?).

russellhltn
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:37 pm

idjeeper2 wrote:I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of some of the MLS developers that hang around here periodically. They might feel this gets away from the core purpose of MLS (?).

Right now I think the focus is to bring more MLS functionality to the web.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

RossEvans
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby RossEvans » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:52 pm

I think there is little chance of adding such functionality to MLS, which is geographically dumb as a rock (and that includes the so-called "Geo Code" fields).

If the church provides such tools for emergency preparedness, it likely will be online, based on the member latitude/longitude coding in maps.lds.org. At least the underlying data structures there are based on modern geocoding, and emergency preparedness was one of the purposes for building that resource. Unfortunately there has not been much visible progress there since this thread was written almost two years ago, but one can always hope.

scgallafent
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby scgallafent » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:23 am

idjeeper2 wrote:Got it! Other than the Geocodes, the only other possibility I know of is using the custom member fields. That is still a lot of work and kind of a clunky work-around. Your idea is a good. It could be easy to implement by simply cloning the Home Teaching structure and renaming it Emergency Response, or something along those lines.

I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of some of the MLS developers that hang around here periodically. They might feel this gets away from the core purpose of MLS (?).

The home teaching structure (user interface and database) is designed around home and visiting teaching. That general user interface could probably be adapted for emergency response, but the database design would need some adjustments to accommodate the change.

The "core purpose of MLS" is to provide a way for units to manage their membership and financial information. (There's probably an official statement that I could find if I searched or asked around.) What that encompasses is what our product manager defines, which is based on the priorities set by his manager and the Brethren.

New functionality is going to appear in Clerk Resources. MLS will get new functionality when required, but the there are conscious decisions made on a regular basis for whether a specific feature ends up in MLS or whether it should be web-only.

Will this feature ever get added to MLS? No. Clerk Resources/Maps? Maybe, but I don't know where it falls in the priority scale -- there are still higher-priority items to be completed on those systems.

idjeeper2
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Re: Emergency contact zone lists

Postby idjeeper2 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:09 pm

I just saw the above reply and wanted to thank scgallafent for taking the time to post it. I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of databases but I'm always interested in learning how easy or difficult some suggestions might be and the process behind what I see on a screen.

I expect my "easy to implement" and "simply cloning" words could have been chosen more thoughtfully. Creating new tables in a database is sometimes easy but getting them indexed and working with everything else in the database can be a time-consuming nightmare. Those of you who do this day-in and day-out have my sincere admiration.


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