GEO Codes and Boundary Realignment

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:19 am

boomerbubba wrote:I and others note that the church member-mapping project has not achieved release. I understand. It is ambitious. But yes, I still have faith.

I'm with ya, I hope it succeeds. I just would like to see some kind of update on the project (or project idea, if that's all it was).
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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:51 am

boomerbubba wrote:My point is that all those numbers can be computed by any decent GIS package directly. Rekeying the codes into MLS to allow it to replicate that computation is not necessary. And as you and Alan_Brown confirm, it is not required by policy.


I agree with your point about the math. My point was that more than the math is involved. The need for rekeying is not to replicate or confirm the math computations. The reasons are in my previous post.

No GIS package can do the next step unless it is tied to the detailed membership data in MLS. And the codes have to be in MLS to do it.

Nevertheless, I am fully onboard with any program, GIS or otherwise, that will work through the entire process. For that to happen, I believe it will have to be a GIS program that will run in conjunction with MLS either on the MLS admin computer, so the membership data is secure, or by way of a secure server from CHQ.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:53 am

BTW, if one generalized wishlist item for MLS ever came to pass -- importing data for certain membership fields -- that would make it possible to extend the existing GEO code fields with smarts from external programs. Those programs might be full GIS applications like the one JTaber uses, or specialized apps such as the one HPaulsen has been building.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:02 am

lajackson wrote:No GIS package can do the next step unless it is tied to the detailed membership data in MLS. And the codes have to be in MLS to do it.


A GIS package performing this task would routinely import the detailed membership data from MLS. And the GIS software could produce detailed lists as well as summary aggregations. Such functionality is baked in the cake of any decent GIS application.

Are you familiar with the content of the four core MLS export files? Is there any data needed that is not in those files? The only thing I can think of is finance information, but I don't know if that is used directly in boundary work.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:29 am

mkmurray wrote:I'm with ya, I hope it succeeds. I just would like to see some kind of update on the project (or project idea, if that's all it was).


I am assuming that the member-mapping project is continuing. Since I can hypothesize about several obstacles that could have arisen and I think the project is ambitious, it does not disillusion me that it is not completed yet.

If, on the other hand, the project really died, that would be good to know. I have held off pursuing a couple of recent ideas for standalone geocoding and mapping for wards because I keep expecting the church application to be released Real Soon Now.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:45 am

boomerbubba wrote:I keep expecting the church application to be released Real Soon Now.


Define "soon". Last I heard, the Second Coming could also be called "real soon now". :D
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:11 pm

boomerbubba wrote:A GIS package performing this task would routinely import the detailed membership data from MLS. And the GIS software could produce detailed lists as well as summary aggregations. Such functionality is baked in the cake of any decent GIS application.


Then it would only be a matter of where the data resided (for security), and it should work. If I can draw the lines, then get detailed printouts of names with accompanying specific member data/status, similar to the custom reports feature of MLS, the job can be done.

MLS has the special reports coded into the Boundary function. If you feel that GIS could do easily the same reports, it works for me.

Financial data is not needed.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:33 pm

lajackson wrote:Financial data is not needed.


Does that include tithing-declaration status? I only ask that because I understand that data is uploaded from the ward to the stake but is not included in the four MLS export files I use.

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Postby aebrown » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:44 pm

boomerbubba wrote:Does that include tithing-declaration status? I only ask that because I understand that data is uploaded from the ward to the stake but is not included in the four MLS export files I use.


Tithing declaration status is not uploaded from the ward to the stake. That information is communicated from bishop to stake president via a printed report each January. (It is uploaded from the ward to the Church, but that has no bearing on the current topic.)

No financial information on individual donors is available in stake MLS. Indeed, no financial information of any kind is in any MLS export files, at the ward or stake level.

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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:11 pm

boomerbubba wrote:Does that include tithing-declaration status? I only ask that because I understand that data is uploaded from the ward to the stake but is not included in the four MLS export files I use.


Alan answered the specific question. As for information required to prepare the forms for a boundary change, some things are not available in MLS at all but are still required when preparing a request. Stakes gather that information using other methods than MLS.

And wards send some information to the stake that is generated in MLS, but the information is not available through MLS at the stake level.

I find it interesting to note that the form itself has changed very little in the last 25 years. It could still be completed with a sharpened pencil, but that would be no fun in this electronic age. [grin]


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