belomorgan wrote:I was wondering if it was (or could be added) to the project plan the idea of a future maps app for mobile devices. Although nice to access the map through 3G/4G, it would be more convenient to sync the directory (similar to LDS Tools) over a wifi connection before heading out to rescue the members. This would be more beneficial for units with large boundaries. My current work around for my Android tablet has been to use Google bookmarks to star household locations on Google maps. Anyone else have similar needs or thoughts?
This really belongs in the Mobile Applications / LDS Tools subforum(s). And note that development for different mobile platforms is forked independently for each device.
Generally, I think you have a sound idea to capture on the device the church's own geocoded location data from maps.lds.org. I made similar suggestions in those mobile development channels last year. At the moment, I don't think that is happening on any of the devices, although I lost track of where the iOS version is. The Android LDS Tools app certainly does not capture this location today. Rather, when the user asks to map a member on the device, the app passes the raw street address to Google, which attempts to geocode it on the fly and map it. (I know that the iOS app did something similar the last time I saw it.) That typically takes a few seconds because the geocoding services are computationally expensive.
So the response time could certainly be improved by passing prestored lat/lon coordinates directly for mapping. This apparently is what the lds.org directory website does.
However, the downside is that the quality
of the geocoding on maps.lds.org remains spotty today because it relies on manual coding by ward clerks, and that tends to be considered an optional task. Even some locations marked as "Verified" on maps.lds.org might be grossly wrong if members have moved and the clerk has not taken the extra step to move the markers online, so that flag in the master data (which could also be captured on the phone app) is not reliable. So the accuracy of the on-the-fly geocoding by Google, which tends to be quite good, may well be better than the coordinates that might be downloaded from the church web server. For the time being, I am glad that the LDS Tools developers have not yet implemented this suggestion. I prefer more accurate geocoding even though it takes a little longer.
The exciting promise of the church's geocoding on maps.lds.org -- with the goal of capturing rooftop-level geocoding for every household -- can have big payoffs for many applications. But that goal remains largely aspirational in practice.