Using Web Tools to Map the Members

Use this forum to discuss issues that are not found in any of the other clerk and stake technology specialist forums.
russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:22 am

Have you opened the CSV file in Excel? It's notorious for messing up CSV.

fraserredmond
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Mapping software already exists

Postby fraserredmond » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:37 am

Any one else interested in this should take a look at these pages, as I built something to do this using the MLS/LUWS/other csv file.

Intital introduction here:
http://tech.lds.org/forum/showpost.php?p=6238&postcount=1

Latest version here:
http://tech.lds.org/forum/showpost.php?p=8350&postcount=96

I'd like to add a little to the above discussion about privacy concerns using geocoding software:

The batchgeocode.com website never store/see the addresses as the requests are sent from the user's client computer directly to the yahoo server.

My program (and Google Earth for that matter) is similar, in that it sends addresses direct from the user's client computer directly to the google server.

In both cases, each address is sent one by one. The only way that you end up with a situation where "these guys have a list of 2000 or so addresses." is by google/yahoo recording your IP address as you make those requests (or if you use a Google API Key.)

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they do store those requests, but I think we're still a few years away form them being able or willing to do datamining with them, and by then there will be so much other data floating around I don't think it's going to matter much. (Case in point - the UK Government losing the data-CD that had 1/3 of the population's bank information.)


One other interesting comment was that back in december I had a missionary contact me for advice on how to set up maps of ward boundaries to help with locating addresses of people that were responding to TV ads for the Lamb of God video. He was looking for help, because the mission office didn't have any digital version of the boundaries, and it was taking a lot of time to process each request.

It'd be nice if the boundary information was made available at least to mission/stake leaders, if not local leaders, if not members. For example, my mother was wanting to know what ward she should go to in australia while travelling recently, and there was just a list of suburb names, but we had no idea which was closest to where she was staying - it'd be nice to see it on a map.

The only problem someone's got to maintain all that data with boundary realignments :(

(BTW, the easiest way to do the boundaries is in Google Earth, you can just draw them in - I did it with my stakes's units, and it was taking about 2minutes per unit, so it would have only taken a couple of hours to do the whole mission, and would have saved that much time pretty quickly.)

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:38 pm

JamesAnderson wrote:In the US, they are very slowly converting over to road and street addresses
Don't hold your breath for it. Usually switching addresses from rural routes to names streets and house numbers usually occurs at the time an area (like a county) switches from regular 911 to enhanced 911 service. My current ward covers 1 and a half counties. When one county switched to enhanced 911, they assigned names to all the rural routes. The other country, howeve, decided that would be too expensive to so. Instead they just went around with a GPS unit and geo-located all the corresponding rural route addresses.
So there is still no easy way to find where someone in that county lives, unless one is familiar with the postal routes, or makes friends with a postal carrier.
Sometimes technology advances too fast.

JasonG-p40
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Postby JasonG-p40 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:37 am

jbh001 wrote:Don't hold your breath for it. Usually switching addresses from rural routes to names streets and house numbers usually occurs at the time an area (like a county) switches from regular 911 to enhanced 911 service. My current ward covers 1 and a half counties. When one county switched to enhanced 911, they assigned names to all the rural routes. The other country, howeve, decided that would be too expensive to so. Instead they just went around with a GPS unit and geo-located all the corresponding rural route addresses.So there is still no easy way to find where someone in that county lives, unless one is familiar with the postal routes, or makes friends with a postal carrier.
Sometimes technology advances too fast.


Similar situation here, except that our ward covers 6 counties in the Texas Panhandle.
Jason D. Griffith
Pampa Ward, Amarillo Stake (Texas)
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MikeJ-p40
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Postby MikeJ-p40 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:23 pm

HI. I am the emergency communications specialist in my ward. I thought about using Google Earth to show the locations of member homes so I could set up a system of area captains for emergency communication. Searching for information led me to this thread.

I downloaded the html file linked here so I could convert our ward list. I have been talking to our ward clerk and bishopric counselor about using Google Earth. They are interested but also cautious. We decided that as a way to demonstrate the idea I would create a sample csv file by simply typing a few names and addresses into Notepad, rather than by getting a csv file from the computer in the clerk's office. However, I can't figure out the correct format for the cvs file. When I look at the MLS to KML page, it lists several column names with numbers. For example,
3 Name
11 Address1
and so on. What do those numbers represent? I thought they were column numbers but when I created a text file using those numbers as the columns numbers, the KML converter was not able to convert the addresses.

Can someone give me some guidance for creating a dummy file of name and address information in the format that the tool can accept? Thank a lot.

Mike

fraserredmond
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Postby fraserredmond » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:47 pm

Sorry it wasn't clearer Mike.

Yep, those numbers are column numbers. The easiest thing might be to take a download from MLS/Website and delete most of the rows (leaving your own and the bishops and clerks, maybe.)

Otherwise, to make a dummy csv, I think you'll need the values in double-quotes:
"name", "address", "zipcode", "town"
"John", "123 Grey St", "555123", "Provo"

MikeJ-p40
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Postby MikeJ-p40 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:48 pm

Thanks for your quick response. I tried playing around with it some more but still no success. The ward clerks usually work on Tuesday night so I will try to get part of a real MLS file from them and work from that.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:12 am

MikeJ wrote:Thanks for your quick response. I tried playing around with it some more but still no success. The ward clerks usually work on Tuesday night so I will try to get part of a real MLS file from them and work from that.


To get extracts from MLS, someone with Admin prviliges on the system will need to be present to authorize it. Typically that might be the bishopric or ward clerk. (Assistant clerks may not have the privileges. Best to check ahead of time.) So long as the bishop supports your project and knows you are getting the data, there should be no problem.

There is sensitive data in the extracts, such as temple endowment info, that the clerks would want to scrub if you have no need to know. And in any event, you should take care to protect the files yourself and keep them off any third-party servers. Also keep in mind the audience of your intended application. The bishop is likely to approve the display of more information to leadership than to members generally.

Of the six .csv files available for download, four are designed with column headings that are pretty much self-explanatory. The other two files, PalmFamily.csv and PalmIndividual.csv, don't have column headings. I have always been able to divine the data elements I need. There is probably documentation for these file layouts somewhere, but I have not stumbled across it. The detail data in the two Palm files is not all neatly fielded, but concatenated together for display with annoying embedded Line Feed characters. It can be parsed programatically, but with some effort. The other files are easier to deal with.

Hope this helps.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:25 am

boomerbubba wrote:The other two files, PalmFamily.csv and PalmIndividual.csv, don't have column headings. I have always been able to divine the data elements I need. There is probably documentation for these file layouts somewhere, but I have not stumbled across it.


One source of some documentation on the Palm exports is at http://www.ldsclerks.org/index.php?title=MLS_Export#Palm_Export

MikeJ-p40
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Postby MikeJ-p40 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:27 pm

Boomerbubba, thanks. The information does help. This has been interesting so far. Our ward clerk and membership clerk are both wonderful men, very smart, but WWII vets in their 80's and not very computer literate. I have never seen the membership program so have no idea what the output looks like. So when we talk to each other none of us really knows what we are talking about.

Fortunately the bishopric counselor I have been talking to does know how to use computers. I have no interest in seeing the information for other members so I would like to have someone open the file in Notepad and cut out everyone except me. (Or maybe they can request a report with only my name?) Anyway, I don't think either of the clerks could do that so I will have to see if the counselor can do it for me.

For those files with the linefeeds, have you tried opening them with Wordpad instead of Notepad? Wordpad is a little smarter about handling linefeed characters.


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