EmComm/EmPrep & GEOCODE Info

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
srasay2-p40
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EmComm/EmPrep & GEOCODE Info

Postby srasay2-p40 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:04 pm

Hey all -

I am new to this site, and love that it's here. I am trying to get things rolling from what feels like ground zero, and have not used the member software since my clerk days in a BYU ward some 13 years ago. My sister is her ward's EmPrep Coordinator, and said that there is some built in info into the MLS? system that allows reporting to specific GEOCODE grids, and so my question to you is, what is this GRID system based upon - i.e. LAT/LONG - GPS coords, or some other mapping system? And is there a report that the Stake Clerk can generate for me or does it have to be done from each ward level?

I am trying to create a methodology that will be implemented at the stake level so that it is consistent throughout. We are a newly formed stake, so to speak(Jan 07), and it seems like a great time to use the new data options to power the EmPrep/EmComm efforts and get a new baseline established.

Thanks,

Rich Asay
W6SRA
Emergency Communications Specialist
Folsom California Stake

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:51 pm

srasay2 wrote:what is this GRID system based upon - i.e. LAT/LONG - GPS coords, or some other mapping system?


What do you want it to be? It's a blank field. The clerks are free to define it as they see fit to meet the needs of the unit. Some units span a few blocks, some span a few states. So there is no "one size fits all" solution. There is a field for both the Ward and the Stake to fill in.

There are also fields that can be used to notate any skills, talents, etc. They had some things pre-defined. I know Amateur Radio license is one of them. More categories can be added.

srasay2-p40
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Hmmmm

Postby srasay2-p40 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:20 pm

RussellHltn wrote:What do you want it to be? It's a blank field. The clerks are free to define it as they see fit to meet the needs of the unit. Some units span a few blocks, some span a few states. So there is no "one size fits all" solution. There is a field for both the Ward and the Stake to fill in.

There are also fields that can be used to notate any skills, talents, etc. They had some things pre-defined. I know Amateur Radio license is one of them. More categories can be added.


I guess I thought it was setup as a defined field, address goes in, and a grid indicator comes out. If it is as I am reading from what you're saying that it is a open field, then it is of no use to me. I will have to just simply take the entire stake directory in CSV and load it into MapPoint or something to generate maps, and then create some other overlay grid to devide the wards into quadrants.

What I hoped it was, was a defined grid system, taking the address of the member, and placing them within that grid. I am trying, as I mentioned to come up with a plan that is uniform. Even if some units span states, which in our case they are only a portion of a city, the addresses would/could fall into quadrants that could then be divided and assigned to grid captains to then assess and report back to the stake level on the needs of the members in a given grid that could then be reported up the line to the storehouse, and ultimately SLC HQ in the event of a regional crisis or disaster.

The church has so much data, and so little tools available to make these kinds of logistical callings possible - it's quite frustrating.

Rich
W6SRA
Smile like you mean it!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:07 pm

srasay2 wrote:I guess I thought it was setup as a defined field, address goes in, and a grid indicator comes out.


Nope. No one system would work for everyone so the church allows you to come up with your own.

The whole mapping thing has been gone over a few times. Do a search for those topics so you don't have to re-invent anything.

srasay2-p40
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Postby srasay2-p40 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:52 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Nope. No one system would work for everyone so the church allows you to come up with your own.

The whole mapping thing has been gone over a few times. Do a search for those topics so you don't have to re-invent anything.


Thanks for replying - I actually did search several variants prior to posting, and have not found any threads that resulted in a conclusion. I found some that were headed in a nice direction, only to be clipped short due to policy. So at this point, I guess I'll look to non-church resources to find a solution. I have been involved with a lot of data mining, market analysis and research for companies I have worked for in the past, and at this point I dont feel it should be necessary to purchase licensing for software for doing this.

If your comment that because no one system would work, the church doesnt provide something is true - it seems kind of sad. While I realize that church units are across the board from several blocks to states, every address on the planet could be assigned to a grid of varying altitude based on lat/long coords. As an administrator, you could choose 100' altitude for a BYU198th ward where your ward boundaries are the Villa Maria Apts, or 2 miles if you cover county sized boundaries; then your grids might be 1/4 mile squares, vs. 50'. Aside from Provo or all of UT for that matter, the rest of the world is a bit more reasonable in its dispersion of members. Because it doesnt fit for UT or ID in a nice little box, doesnt mean that it cannot be a very usable system - and from what I can gather from the church at the SLC as well as the regional level, nothing is consistent, which seems so contrary to the pattern the church follows.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Rich

fraserredmond
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Postby fraserredmond » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:52 pm

Hi Rich,

Like RussellHltn, I've found the geocode field to just be a blank field - you might want to check whether it has a length restriction. I just use a grid-reference using a local map - so A7, F2, K9, and so on.

One other funny thing I've noticed with the geocode fields, is that entering the ward geocode often duplicates it into the stake geocode, so your stake geocode could potentially get overwritten. :(


One option for you for generating the geocodes would be to adapt the mapping page I just posted recently here:
http://beta.tech.lds.org/forum/showpost.php?p=6361&postcount=10

Presumably you could round the Lat/Long generated down to less decimal places. If you wanted a grid-reference you could subtract a standard amount from each too.

If thats what you're looking for I'd consider doing the changes direct in the software for you (could be a while till I got it done though - it's just html/javascript so you may know someone who'd do it for you.)

jenkinsja-p40
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Postby jenkinsja-p40 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:22 am

While it is possible that some sort of grid system could be implemented to automatically generate GEO-Codes, it seems that such a solution would be more of an annoyance to people than it would be useful. Many wards are already contained in several predefined areas (as in your apartments example) which make for very good GEO-Code areas. Unfortunately, software is not good enough yet to recognize these areas and automatically account for them. Such a task is best done by individuals, who actually know and reside in the areas in question. I suspect that it would be much more useful to have a ward geographically divided by neighborhoods, apartment complexes, or cities than it would to have a boundary line going through the middle of a neighborhood, with the residents on either side of the street in two different areas. I would propose that this is the reason why a 'one-size-fits-all' solution has not been included in MLS, but the geographical division of wards and stakes has instead been left up to the discretion of the clerks who reside therein.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:25 am

The Church has a project to expand geocoding of addresses. Currently this type of technology is used when records are moved from ward to ward. If or when this type of technology will be made available to the wards is not something that I currently have any information on.

Tom

mzundel-p40
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Grid

Postby mzundel-p40 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:52 am

The title sure sparked an interest for an area that I like: HAM Radio. In HAM Radio, there is a grid system. If I am not mistaken, the system is based on Lat/Lon. It divides the whole earth into grid squares. There are even contests that deal with getting contacts from certain grids.

How is it calculated? I don't know off hand but I do know the grid square for my home: http://www.qrz.com/detail/KD7HHW

Here is more information about grid squares: http://www.arrl.org/locate/gridinfo.html

SmithGW
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GEOCODE Info

Postby SmithGW » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:19 pm

If you're wondering how GEO codes work, there is a clerk lesson called "Using MLS To Create Boundary Realignment Proposals" that does a fair job of explaining this. You can watch this lesson on mls.org by clicking on "Serving in the Church," then "Melchizedek Priesthood," then "Record-Keeping and Auditing Training." The lesson is listed under "Stake & Ward Clerks." Good luck!


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