Yet another Map-maker post

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
fraserredmond
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Yet another Map-maker post

Postby fraserredmond » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:00 pm

Mapping seems to be one of the things that the LDSTechies seem consistently interested in.

So far several people have built Geocoding apps to take the membership.csv export file and map all the members on Yahoo Maps or Google Maps, most notably kevancan and dostler. And nowI'm adding my own version in html/javascript.

(Its also worth noting that supertitus wrote a really comprehensive privacy analysis of using external mapping/geocoding systems, which you should definitely read if you haven't already.)

Dostler and I are both from New Zealand, where the Yahoo Maps Geocoder doesn't work (finds the town, but not streets), which may have been the impetus to him reinventing the wheel by writing his own Python script to generate a KML file from the Google Maps Geocoder.

I didn't want to have to install the python runtime, so what I've done (with dostlers permission) is convert his Python script to an html page which uses javascript to connect to the geocoder.

Apart from working here in NZ, this version has a few other advantages over what was already available:
-- It is an html page, so can accept parameters, have instructions, and remind the user of privacy concerns.
-- Ability to filter families out (to do only members in one area, or exclude Do-Not-Visit's or to exclude those who've requested their details not be public.)
-- Set columns so you can use a csv file other than membership.csv (for example from a custom report)

This file can be run locally as a file from your hard-drive - regardless of where its used it doesn't store or transfer any information away from the client's computer except to send the address to the Geocoder.

I'll put the instructions and Information text from the page below in a separate post (for those that are interested but don't want to open the file.)

If anyone has suggestions for additional features, or bugs, or other changes let me know.
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mls2GoogleEarth.zip
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fraserredmond
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Postby fraserredmond » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:14 pm

redzarf wrote:I'll put the instructions and Information text from the page below


This page can be run locally. Save as a file on your computer and double click to open in your browser. Note: Firefox has security restrictions that means this won't work if run from a website.

Church Policy is explicit that membership data in any form should not be uploaded to other servers. If you want to view the KML file with Google Maps the only way would be to temporarily host it on your own local computer and paste a URL that points to your computer into the search box of Google Maps (and delete quickly so its not indexed by search engines, etc.) More analysis here.

Steps
  1. In MLS:
    1. Go to File->Export and download Memebership.csv.
      Use the default column numbers under settings.
    2. Go to Custom Reports and make a report.
      Specify which column is which in the fields in the settings.
      Phones and email can be replaced with other columns if using a custom csv file (eg. childrens names.)
      This is particularly useful so you can use the report field 'HOH & Spouse'.
  2. Open csv in a text editor (eg. notepad), select all, copy and paste into first textarea.
  3. Click 'Generate kml data'
  4. When finished, select all from the second textarea, copy and paste into new file (in notepad), save with the file extension .kml
  5. Open kml file in Google Earth.
  6. The KML file will contain information about any addresses it couldn't find at the end of the file in comments (<-- -->) these lines can be deleted if you wish. Often these are just misspelt street names.
Google maps may block your IP address from using their services if you run this script too many times or if your list is too long (>1000).

No data leaves this page except to send each address (excluding name/phone/email) to Google Maps to get coordinates.

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BenJoeM-p40
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Postby BenJoeM-p40 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:01 pm

I really have liked all the mapping software, but the problem is our ward is so small and close together, all the names are smashed together. Our ward covers 3 streets and expands over 4 blocks on each street.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:31 pm

Ben any particular solution that you can think of?

In google earth you can zoom into that small section so that it still spreads the points out to point from house to house if you want.
- David

craiger
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Postby craiger » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:38 am

Would it be too difficult to make this work with the csv download of the ward directory from the ward web site? I just tried it and couldn't get it to work, even after manipulating the columns.

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bjhom-p40
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Postby bjhom-p40 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:07 am

BenJoeM wrote:I really have liked all the mapping software, but the problem is our ward is so small and close together, all the names are smashed together. Our ward covers 3 streets and expands over 4 blocks on each street.


With a ward with boundaries that small, how helpful would mapping software be? I think that it is most helpful when you have a ward that covers a larger geographic area, where you might know where all of the streets are.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:26 am

Usually it would not give an idea of the members' actual locations, but mapping a ward that small via Google Maps would tell you where all the buildings are, including larger places like apartment complexes.

An example is a ward in Provo that is across from me, it is only two blocks across by three blocks down. Six total blocks. About 400 members I'm guessing, lots of condo and apartment complexes within those boundaries along with a good number of single-family homes. What complicates matters as far as keeping track of members even by mapping out the buildings after tracing the building locations is the fact that you have BYU students, largely couples, and members who go to the Hispanic ward that overlays the stake the ward is in.

So it is good for drawing a map showing where buildings and homes are, but not for actually placing the members due to the high concentration. Once you get the map drawn, you then draw building layouts for the apartment/condo complexes and indicate on another sheet of paper what members are in what apartment or condo.

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BenJoeM-p40
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Postby BenJoeM-p40 » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:07 am

The ward clerk about 6 years ago created a hand drawn ward map. This has been a valuable tool for new members moving into the ward. When I first moved in they handed me a ward directory and a map, it made it so easy to find people and see who lived where. Also our missionaries have loved it as well.
When I took over as ward clerk, I had been in the ward only 7 months. I hardly new the ward so when people moved out and in (which happens nearly every month) I was getting lost who was who. The bishop is constantly asking me to update the map, but I don't know who has moved and he is still her half the time. I find myself sitting down with the High Priests asking them who is still here. Then I thought If I could just load the names from MLS right into Google Maps, I could easily update the map with no worries. Unfortunately the region is so small even zooming in doesn't work. For now I have scanned the ward map into Photoshop and have digitized and I am changing the names via copy and past.

Now I have been in nearly a year and I know nearly everyone and I am caught up and up to date. I was just looking for a fast way, to make a nice map, and not have bug the Bishop. If that makes any sense?

BenJoe

fraserredmond
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Postby fraserredmond » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:08 pm

craig wrote:Would it be too difficult to make this work with the csv download of the ward directory from the ward web site? I just tried it and couldn't get it to work, even after manipulating the columns.


Craig, if you (or someone) can send me a sample download (edited to only be a couple of lines, with no personal data, of course) of that csv file I'd be happy to take a look. I can't download it myself though, because LUWS is only available for North America.

fraserredmond
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New Version

Postby fraserredmond » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:47 am

Fixed/Improved the filter, and increased number to 4 filters.
Added ability to import/export settings.
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