Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Use this forum to discuss issues that are not found in any of the other clerk and stake technology specialist forums.
Bobbeo24
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Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby Bobbeo24 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:42 pm

I'm curious if there's a way to further divide the ward map into zones for emergency preparedness purposes?

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:41 pm

Bobbeo24 wrote:I'm curious if there's a way to further divide the ward map into zones for emergency preparedness purposes?


Yes, but not in the online map at maps.lds.org, if that is what you mean. Several others have suggested the same enhancement you have asked about. For example, seethis thread , this thread, or this one. The same basic functionality might be leveraged for other purposes, as well, such as unit boundary analysis, etc.

The MLS system in the clerk's office provides for the manual entry by clerks of arbitrary codes per household, in a field called the Ward Geo Code. But the actual geographic analysis (drawing the lines, determining who lives within them, etc.) must be done somehow outside of MLS, which remains geographically dumb.

One can export the households from maps.lds.org, including their lat/lon coordinates, as a CSV file and import that file somehow into external geographic software for display and/or analysis. But you are on your own for doing that.

At the simplest level of external software, there are map visualization tools such as Google Earth. See this thread, for example. At the far end of the spectrum, one might import ward data into a Geographic Information System, which is capable of doing what you ask and much more. But there is a significant learning curve involved with doing that. I am fortunate to have GIS software, within which I subdivide our ward into lots of different areas for different purposes -- fast offering districts, service project districts, what-if unit boundary analysis, etc. So defining emergency prep zones would probably be no big deal for me, but it took significant effort to build that general resource in the first place.

aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:38 am

Fairly easy to do in Microsoft Streets & Trips.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:47 pm

aclawson wrote:Fairly easy to do in Microsoft Streets & Trips.


Could you expand on that? I have not used the S&T application, just read most of the Microsoft marketing stuff and browsed the user forums. If this relatively low-priced application really solves much of the problem at hand, I might try it, but I was not very impressed by my basic research.


  • I can understand how S&T readily allows users to define what it calls "territories," so long as those territories are comprised of preloaded area-units including countries, states, zip codes and census tracts. But I can't see how those basic units can be split by the user if need be. Is that possible?
  • I also understand that it is possible for a user to draw a single custom area, but that does not seem to be the same thing as a "territory," so does all the territory-oriented analysis functionality apply?
  • Are there tools to draw multiple custom areas that fit perfectly against each other with common boundaries (with no overlaps or gaps)?
  • Once these custom areas are defined within the application, can the user export the boundaries in some standard format so other users without the proprietary Microsoft software can import, display or print these boundaries?
  • Can the user import any boundaries, such as the KML files exported by the church map sites?
  • Can the user import address points already geocoded with lat/lon coordinates from some external source such as maps.lds.org, or does the application always rely on geocoding those addresses itself?
  • From what I gather, the user can export a list of addresses to a spreadsheet grouped by territory. Does this also work with multiple, custom-defined areas?
  • Does the exported file of addresses include the lat/lon of each geocoded point?
  • Is there an ability to print maps, especially on a large printer format, that show both boundaries and family names as pushpin points?
  • Can multiple family records (addresses) occupy the same pushpin location, and if so how are they displayed?

aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:53 pm

You are describing functions far beyond what S&T can do (Quantum can do those things but there is a significantly steeper learning curve).

1. A "territory" in S&T is just a map markup, as if you scribbled on a map with a pen. You can divide them as much as you want, just keep marking.

2. A "territory" is nothing more than a mark on the map.

3. Not really.

4. You can print the map to a .pdf form with the annotations showing and send them to anybody you wish.

5. You cannot import boundaries.

6/7. I'll get back to importing.

8. S&T does not claim exporting as a strong point.

9. Yes.

10. They can overlap somewhat making readability somewhat difficult to see.

Importing is something at S&T does fairly well. Set up an .xls or .xlsx spreadsheet, or a comma/tab delimited file would work (but not as useful). Within the spreadsheet place each "territory" on its own tab. You can then import each tab as a separate set into S&T and turn each set on/off as you see fit.

S&T has a free 30 day trial you can download - give it a try.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:13 pm

aclawson wrote:You are describing functions far beyond what S&T can do (Quantum can do those things but there is a significantly steeper learning curve).

1. A "territory" in S&T is just a map markup, as if you scribbled on a map with a pen. You can divide them as much as you want, just keep marking.

2. A "territory" is nothing more than a mark on the map.

3. Not really.

4. You can print the map to a .pdf form with the annotations showing and send them to anybody you wish.

5. You cannot import boundaries.

6/7. I'll get back to importing.

8. S&T does not claim exporting as a strong point.

9. Yes.

10. They can overlap somewhat making readability somewhat difficult to see.

Importing is something at S&T does fairly well. Set up an .xls or .xlsx spreadsheet, or a comma/tab delimited file would work (but not as useful). Within the spreadsheet place each "territory" on its own tab. You can then import each tab as a separate set into S&T and turn each set on/off as you see fit.

S&T has a free 30 day trial you can download - give it a try.


Sounds like there is a basic ability to draw freeform lines on a map and view/print the lines, and other users would have to view those lines in PDF/printed form or buy their own copy of S&T. That might be worth the purchase price, if that is all someone wants to do. For me it lacks appeal because I already have several other tools to do that, and I can more readily share the boundary files with others. However, it might meet someone else's more limited needs.

The relationship between lines and points within S&T still seems pretty weak. I don't want to determine myself -- visually or by some external process -- which members live inside which areas, then load them manually into S&T as you suggest. I would want to import all the member points and have the software tell me the areas in which they lie.

At this relatively low price point, for such a limited display application, my personal preference would still be DeLorme's Street Atlas USA Pro. Its users can also draw freeform lines and boundaries, and it can import boundaries. The print and display functions handles multiple families sharing the same point -- a case that tends to occur a lot in ward member files -- quite cleanly. But the export functionality is crippled. And like S&T, there is no point-in-polygon analysis.

The relatively dumb polygon drawing tools offered by either S&T or the DeLorme product -- without coordinated boundaries shared by multiple areas -- can be had for free in Google Earth or even Google Maps, which have good export functions to KML

I am still looking for a lightweight, easy-to-use, free or cheap app to recommend that would allow quick authoring/editing of multiple area (polygon) boundaries that fit together perfectly, as well as export functionality. Basic point-in-polygon grouping of points would be great, too, which begins to cross over into the world of GIS applications.

As you mentioned, free Quantum GIS can do that stuff but has a bigger learning curve.

Evansmarketing@gmail.com
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby Evansmarketing@gmail.com » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:00 am

Google Maps Engine Pro is easy to use. Costs is $5 per month. Here is our map below. Allows up to 10 layers with 200 entries per layer. Draw borders, add data tables, photos, custom icons etc. There is also a lite version for free with 3 layers and 200 enteries each. Both work slow on handheld devices but work well on tablets.... Phones not so good yet.. Imports csv from LDS Map. Does not Export any useful format...KML only which is only a GPS coordinate.
Last edited by russellhltn on Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Link removed - map contained membership information.

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gregwanderson
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby gregwanderson » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:04 am

Evansmarketing@gmail.com wrote:Here is our map below.

You should probably remove that link from this public forum. It shows the locations and contact information from members of the ward, which likely came from MLS, and is considered confidential information. Whenever you use a third-party app you risk exposing church-controlled data to an uncontrolled place, which is bad form, on the one hand, and probably in violation of privacy laws and/or church policies about how you can use church data.

So, in addition to removing that link from this forum I think you need to take it off the web entirely. Such data should only be in the church's official Tools App, which is controlled by the church's own privacy and security protocols.

...unless I'm mistaken and those aren't the real names and addresses of real people, but it doesn't seem that way.

russellhltn
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:25 am

Looks like the policy has been updated. 4.9.3 seems to put an end to any mapping project.

4.9 MLS Data and Membership Information

4.9.1 Information about members, donations, and financial transactions is confidential and must be protected from unauthorized disclosure.

4.9.2 MLS data, database tables, or schemas must not be used or shared to create or assist in the creation of third party software.

4.9.3 The use of MLS data and membership information in third party software is prohibited, whether obtained from within or outside of a meetinghouse.

4.9.4 The use of cloud-based services for storing and/or backing up MLS or any membership related data is prohibited.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

atticusewig
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby atticusewig » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:17 am

russellhltn wrote:4.9.3 The use of MLS data and membership information in third party software is prohibited, whether obtained from within or outside of a meetinghouse.


That is going to be one tough policy to enforce. I've seen so many spreadsheets used by
wards for membership issues that it's hard to believe units are going to stop using them
altogether. Wonder if a privacy breach (or court case) prompted the policy change.


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