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The Next Generation of LDS Maps

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:11 pm
by McDanielCA
The Next Generation of LDS Maps was originally posted on the main page of LDSTech. It was written by Jonathan Fowlke.
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In the summer of 2008, the Church released a new version of the Meetinghouse Locator known as LDS Maps. Whereas the previous version of Meetinghouse Locator required users to drill-down through multiple static pages, LDS Maps has a single dynamic, interactive world map. Now, after more than two million visitors to LDS Maps and thousands of suggestions, we are preparing for the nearby release of LDS Maps 2.0. The pre-release beta can be accessed by going to https://beta-maps.lds.org. Note: this is a pre-release version, the final version will be released sometime next year. Any comments or feedback should be submitted electronically through the “Feedback” link in the upper right corner of the application.

The new version takes the best of the original release and adds an abundance of feature enhancements. One of the new features is the ability for Church members to login with their LDS Account and see their own ward membership and ward boundaries. This makes it easier to find directions to any member in the ward. Members can download a file containing the coordinates of all their ward members and import them into most GPS devices.

The new site also has an upgraded printer-friendly version of the map, enabling members to print custom ward directories. LDS Maps 2.0 has a new role-based permissions authentication system so when members of the bishopric sign in, they can correct the location of members in their ward.
One enhancement requested by our users was the ability to locate temples. We listened, and now, in addition to meetinghouses, the site will list local temples, deseret industries, and other facility types, as they become available.

LDS Maps 2.0 can display meetinghouses, temples and other LDS facilities worldwide, whereas the original meetinghouse locator could only display a few meetinghouses at a time. Those experienced with JavaScript-based mapping interfaces may find this enhancement hard to believe because of the limitations imposed on the number of map markers that can be placed without slowing down the entire interface. There are more than 15,000 meetinghouses worldwide – attempting to render all of these as individual markers would bring the map’s performance to a crawl.

This issue was solved using ESRI ArcGIS Server, which allows the site to dynamically overlay the images of the facility markers on the map without having the overhead of a JavaScript and HTML object for each facility. Then, by adding simple calculations performed on each mouse click, the site can determine if the portion of the overlaid image contains a marker. If so, the site can render an information balloon connected to the facility on the map.

We’ve appreciated all the wonderful feedback we’ve received from our users and encourage them to continue to send us inspiring ideas on how we can make mapping a better experience for everyone!

Jonathan Fowlke is an engineer for the Church.

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:32 pm
by slmsz20
Maps are looking great. One question, is there going to be stake level access? The ward administration is fine, since that is a ward level responsibility.

However, as a stake officer, I would like to be able to view all my stake's ward boundaries so I can verify information. Also for training purposes, the Stake Clerks need the same rights as Ward clerks. Other than that everything looks great (though my own house is marked wrong, but that is a google problem).

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:21 pm
by aebrown
JKELogan wrote:Maps are looking great. One question, is there going to be stake level access? The ward administration is fine, since that is a ward level responsibility.


That question was asked in this post, and answered by a Church employee in the very next post in that thread.

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:32 am
by RossEvans
I am glad to see the beta of LDS Maps 2.0 officially announced.

Understanding that it is still an early beta, with some significant design decisions yet to be finalized, I wonder what the effects will be of editing and moving household records by clerks. Is this production data, or might it be overwritten later?

BTW, the performance achievement to which Jonathan refers is worth appreciating. While users will notice some significant latency while the ward map initializes, that response time is far better than what they would see in the simple use of the Javascript rendering of many conventional mapping sites. If you ever try using Google Maps with more than a hundred data points, you know what I mean. And the rendering of precise boundaries, which are comprised of thousands of points when zoomed in, would really not be feasible without the leading-edge architecture implemented here.

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:06 am
by marianomarini
I gave it a try and it looks great.
I signed in with LDS Account and found all members located into ALABAMA - USA!!!
Also, all member living outside Vicenza are indicated ad GROUP with their address.
I tried to sent feedback but it seem to me (perhaps for my bad English) that there'snt a related category for it.

You read my mind.

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:55 pm
by mcochegrus-p40
JKELogan wrote:Maps are looking great. One question, is there going to be stake level access? The ward administration is fine, since that is a ward level responsibility.

However, as a stake officer, I would like to be able to view all my stake's ward boundaries so I can verify information. Also for training purposes, the Stake Clerks need the same rights as Ward clerks. Other than that everything looks great (though my own house is marked wrong, but that is a google problem).


I am a stake officer too, and I agree with what he said, we need to be able to see at stake level where our members are located, to better plan ward divisions or even stake divisions. Please consider this feature on the final release.

Also all the links for ward addresses are broken, they redirect to somewhere in the US, while I live in Queretaro, Mexico.:)

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:18 pm
by pete_arnett-p40
FYI - from headquarters

"On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 11:36 PM, **REMEDY** LDS Global Service Desk <servicedesk@ldschurch.org> wrote:

We are currently working on providing the ability for members to see members and boundaries for their entire stake.

Sometime in 2010.

Click on "Zoom to" located just above the household list, then "Stake boundary" to highlight the stake. "
</servicedesk@ldschurch.org>

Great to see the new LDS Maps!

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:20 pm
by kevandcan
As one keenly interested in this technology, I'm thrilled to see this tool coming to light. Thanks to all involved in bringing this forward!

Authentication is not working for me

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:27 am
by SingerGuy
I am trying to access the site from work, going through a proxy server. Using LUWS works fine in this scenario, but the map site won't load. I can log in to LUWS and then load the beta map site and my user name will show in the upper right as well as my personal information in the panel on the left, but as soon as I try and interact with the environment in any way I am presented with some form of re-authentication which fails. It simply will not accept my user name and password. Asking to see the ward boundary causes the site to kick me all the way back to a login page with an idle timeout error. I have not tried the site with a non-proxied connection to the Internet.

Can't login

Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:12 pm
by DougNorCal-p40
I just found this and tried to login using my account -- works for both lds.org and cdol.lds.org but just hangs when I try to login to the maps. :mad:

Is it down?