Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

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Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby brigmoore » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:10 pm

I had a thought the other day, though I am not a programmer, but the location data exists with significant life events of our ancestors; however, there is yet to be a very quick and digestible way to appreciate that information. How incredible would it be when planning a trip or in a place with a few hours to kill an individual could pull out his phone and through the Family Tree App get a list of places with distances from current location or planned location or a map of sites associated with one's ancestors for current/planned location? I think of Google maps that has a link into hotel and restaurant databases and is able to produce recommendations for you. Instead of hotels and restaurants it would pull up burial sites, birth places, marriage places. It could even scan stories and pull out places in memories associated with that person. How real do those people become when we can stand in the places they have stood and see the things they saw?

Some other quick thoughts exploring this possibility in my mind. Similar to games that send you push notifications, like Pokemon Go, when you are in an area where there are sites related to your family tree, the app could notify you and suggest close relatives or significant sites where events took place. This could be sorted by preference on proximity to your generation, follow a particular line (e.g. patriarchal or matriarchal), proximity to you or planned location. Restaurant apps provide another element that would be beneficial, to include operating hours and contact numbers if certain places warrant such information. For instance the sites also might include Church History sites, and it could pull from relevant documentation pertaining to pioneer ancestors or that which is captured in Family Search.

I thought of this, because of my personal frustration currently living in Europe, with lots of European ancestry and not having a simple way to do a query and find the locations that are nearest us or near locations we will be making a holiday. I personally think this could be a new wave of Family History efforts and more fully bring the Spirit of Elijah into a tangible and actionable effort to unite families. I think the interest could be very high in something like this and the technology and programming exists, it just needs to be linked with the data on or

Parting thought, this would only reference significant life events for deceased ancestors. This is in keeping with the privacy of living persons. Just a thought that I think could revolutionize the way youth and other people the world over can catch the spirit of things!

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Re: Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby sbradshaw » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:50 pm

FamilySearch is great for developers, in that it's relatively easy for a developer to get a third-party app approved to use FamilySearch data. The church's development resources are limited, but this sounds like a great project for an interested developer.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.

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Re: Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby SmootAR » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:26 am

@brigmoore, thanks for the thoughtful post. Ideas like this have been considered in FamilySearch and it is good to see that you are thinking about great ways to use our mobile phones with FamilySearch data. Please keep those ideas coming. Your post has been passed on to the product manager of the mobile apps in FamilySearch. You can also send feedback and ideas more directly to the mobile FamilySearch team by clicking "Help | Give App Feedback" in the Android or iOS Family Tree apps. We welcome your ideas, keep them coming. Thank you.

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Re: Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby ddanger7 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:00 pm

I'm interested in this idea and able to learn how to implement it. I want to know what ancestor graves are near me.

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Re: Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby adamquillanure » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:53 pm

If you all are still interested, the BYU computer science department has a project that has functionality similar to what you are looking for. It doesn’t have the push notifications and definitely doesn’t connect to family search or any website like that, but the general idea is to give a visual representation of family events on google maps in an android app. If you wanted a simple example, you could reach out to any BYU computer science major.

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Re: Ancestors Near Me | Lessons from restaurant apps and Pokemon Go

Postby aebrown » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:16 am

The Family Tree mobile app from FamilySearch has a feature called "Map My Ancestors" which shows on a map where your ancestors had significant life events. It was released in late 2017 (after the original post).

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