New Meetinghouse Locator on LDS.org - Beta Release

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The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:14 pm

boomerbubba wrote:
FWIW, I also agree with Alan_Brown -- I think the burglar scenario is a red herring. There is no real security in obscurity, only the illusion of such. Besides, to mix my metaphors even further, that horse has already left the barn. A Wasatch Front burglar casing a given street or house can already punch in the address to the new Meetinghouse Locator app, and learn directly about meeting schedules.

I suggest that people just lock their doors when they go to church.. :)


Seems like a silly concern, when simply driving a neighborhood (casing, as buglers do) would tell you more information than the boundaries and meeting times. I can tell you who is going to church / who is not just by standing on my porch on Sunday morning, regardless of religious affiliation.

We seem to have more trouble here with people going through the parking lot during meetings than breaking into houses. It isn't that hard to figure out when the meetings are going on from the cars parked out back.

As you move out of heavily LDS areas, the concern becomes even less, as it gets harder to correlate membership and address.

I agree that 'security concerns' is a non-issue for me.

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jeromer7
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Misdirection

Postby jeromer7 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:43 am

boomerbubba wrote: ... burglar casing a given street or house can already punch in the address to the new Meetinghouse Locator app, and learn directly about meeting schedules.

Ahhh, now I understand why those wily ward clerks don't keep the meeting times in MLS (and thereafter in LUWS) up to date! It is to confuse the "enemy" so they won't know when we are actually in our meetings. :D
JLR

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Postby lajackson » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:03 pm

JLRose wrote:Ahhh, now I understand why those wily ward clerks don't keep the meeting times in MLS (and thereafter in LUWS) up to date! It is to confuse the "enemy" so they won't know when we are actually in our meetings. :D


Yeah. We have to work really hard at it and plan ahead, since we only get one crack or two each year to pull it off. [grin]

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borenmt
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Postby borenmt » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:09 pm

Hey mk -- refute away ;-) I liked boomerbubba's characterization of the situation. Nuff said.

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dobrichelovek
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Searching for meetingplaces in other countries-

Postby dobrichelovek » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:42 am

I just put in a search for the following locations and was impressed to find that in general they all got about the same result:

Moscow, Russia
Moskva, Russia
Москва, Россия

I was concerned that putting in the name of a city or country in the native language (or accepted transliteration thereof) would not result in the correct results. Obviously, this tool is intended to cover the worldwide church and this issue should be addressed.

When I try to enter the country Suomi (which is the Finnish name for Finland) I get one location in Finland, so it looks like it got the right country using the native name. YAY! Hopefully this is a policy and not an happy accident.

I try some other countries and it looks like I get the closest unit to the geographic center of the country entered. It might be nice if there was the possibility to get a list of the next-smaller geographic entity or a breakdown of Missions if the country only is entered as long as there is a number of units greater than a certain threshold within that search parameter. If there are only a few units in the whole country, it doesn't make a lot of sense to not display them all, but if there are more than, say, 6 or 10, perhaps I could get a region breakdown by mission or something that the church has a little more control over. Generally, the Mission names are good indicators of geographical coverage.

Perhaps the geographic center of the county is just fine too. It certainly has the advantage of being programmatically simple , but it leaves a lot to be desired if the country is small and the vast majority of visitors will be aiming for the population center or just want to know where the church is established in their country.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:40 am

I recently used the beta tool too visit while I was traveling. I ran into a couple of issues. I don't have time right now to write up the full experience, but I'll outline the problems:

1) The closest buildings seems to be done by "crow flies" distance, not driving distance or driving time. Unfortunately the 3 "closest" buildings may not be the quickest ones to get to due to minor details like mountains, rivers, etc.

2) The directions is using GPS coordinates - this can result in the directions sending me to the wrong street. I realized the problem when I was being directed to a street that was different then the address. That's assuming the GPS coordinates are correct to begin with. Unfortunately most of the buildings in my stake are incorrect resulting in totally bogus directions. As such this tool can't be rolled out in it's present form until the building coordinates are corrected.

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borenmt
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Thanks for the feedback!

Postby borenmt » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:00 pm

@dobrichelovek : For now, this is for the most part an English release, though as you've discovered, there is some language support for queries. It is intended as a replacement of the existing meetinghouse locator, which has map coverage only in the US and Canada (though you can get lists of meetinghouses without a map internationally) and no language support at all. So while we know we have a ways to go, international support is much better in this release than it has been previously. Thanks for your patience as we strengthen our weakness!

Thanks also for your feedback on the "geographic center" issue we'll take it into consideration.

@RussellHltn : You're right about the crows fly issue. It boils down to both performance and cost. Doing what is essentially a "drivetime zone" is expensive and time-consuming (both to develop and calculate). But are trying to figure out some ways to improve that.

Concerning the meetinghouse locations, we rely on latitude and longitude because matching to street address will result in too many "not found" situations, especially internationally. Even in the US, a match rate of 80% or so is common, leaving 20% not found. For those that are found, the algorithms for placing an address at the correct point along a stretch of road is always approximate, and can result in errors of many feet or even miles in rural areas. Algorithms can also not reliably place the meetinghouse on the right side of the street, not yet anyway. So... we rely on local employees, clerks, and members to help us gather accurate lat/long coordinates. You're right that many need to be improved; please let us know via the feedback link when you find a meetinghouse out of place or missing. You can even click on the right spot with the Place Marker tool to send us the corrected coordinates. So far during the beta period, many, many people have submitted corrections which should soon be incorporated into the database, once they are verified. I hope you submitted the problems you found yourself through the Feedback mechanism.

Thanks again everybody for your comments!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:25 am

borenmt wrote:So... we rely on local employees, clerks, and members to help us gather accurate lat/long coordinates.


Do you have any details on how this was done? Was it the FM group?

But there's still an issue with GPS coordinates - if the spot measured happens to be closer to another street, then the directions are going to route the user to that street - even if there's no driveway there. In the case of the chapel on 1515 SW Cherry Park Rd, TROUTDALE, OREGON; the GPS coordinates may be "correct" in that it's on church property, but just too far back from the main entrance and it's created erroneous directions.

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borenmt
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Postby borenmt » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:34 am

Russell, I don't have a lot lot of specifics on how locations are initially entered, but the FM groups certainly play a role in keeping things accurate. Many FM employees have submitted feedback during the beta period to improve locations in their area. But we hope that everybody who uses the site will help as well.

Can you give some specific cases of the problem you are seeing with the building sitting far off the road and the streets for directions being consequently off? I think I know what you mean but I want to be sure.

falisrm-p40
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I like the new beta map but...

Postby falisrm-p40 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:25 am

The old set up and the new beta maps do not have the capability to search for entire areas. For example looking at all of the meetinghouses in Washington or in a specific county or country. Or to have the funtion with a search by mile radius.

This is only to be able to see the number of meeting houses in any given area and to see where the church is strong. I mainly like to see how big the church has been growing.

This results in big search results any might make things messy but i'm sure you can figure out a way to keep it clean. Thanks


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