Editor’s Note: make sure to check out our update to this article titled “The Easy Way to Put Your Ward on Google Maps“
I’ve read on several blogs about members putting their ward directory on Google Earth. Some of the possible benefits of doing this include:
- Helping stake and ward leaders develop new boundaries.
- Planning home teaching and visiting teach routes.
- Getting instant directions to a members house
- It’s tons of fun seeing your ward from outer space.
Creating a ward Google Earth does take a little computer know how. However, I hope to break the steps down clearly enough so that anyone could do this. Here goes!
- Download and install Google Earth 4– It’s free!
- Go to your membership directory under “Stake and Ward Websites” on lds.org– you have to register with your ward site to do this. You’ll need your membership number to do so.
- At the top of the directory there’s a link that says “csv.” This stands for comma separated value and is a type of file. You’ll need it. Click and download. It will save as an Excell spreadsheet (or whatever spreadsheet program you use.)
- You’ll have to convert your csv file into kml file so you can plot the ward members on Google Earth. The quickest way that I have found to do this is using Batch Geocode, an online csv to kml file converter. Go to it.
- Open up your saved csv file in Excell. You’re going to have to mess with it a bit. Above the column that says “addr1” type in “Street” as the heading. Above the column that reads “addr2,” type in City, State and Zip. Note: Many people have been reporting that they have to split up the city, state, and zip into three different columns for this to work. I haven’t had to do this, but I would suggest doing it. Use the spreadsheet “fill function”)
- Copy the entire directory from Excell and paste it in Batch Geocode.
- Click “Validate Source”
- Under Location Fields on Batch GeoCode select “Street” for Address and “City, State, Zip” for the rest.
- Click “Run Geocoder”- What the application does is turn the addresses into co-ordinates for Google Earth. This part can take awhile if your ward is especially large.
- Scroll Down in Batch GeoCode and click “Download to Google Earth (KML) File
- You’re done. Each dot represents a family in your ward. Bring your mouse over the dot and the name of the family will appear, their address, and phone number. You can also chose to get directions to or from this direction.
This is a kind of quick and dirty way to do it. It is possible to include some neat features by manipulating the csv file, like color coding for different organizations, less actives, ect. I’ll save that for another post. Until then, enjoy.
How have you all been creating kml overlays for Google Earth? Anything easier than the way I’ve done it?
Update: Some people have voiced concerns about privacy issues. This is done with Google Earth, not Google Maps. This won’t be published on the net or anything like that. It’s all done on your computer, not on the web. So, there shouldn’t be any concerns about privacy issues.
Is there any straight forward way to print this on a plotter after you have it all onto Google Earth? Can a “map” be exported to a file that can be printed? Acrobat, for example?
Hey, landed on your blog, nice stuff. I found a cool new tool for our blogs… http://www.widgetmate.com It helps get latest news for our keywords directly on to our blog. I added it on mine. Worked like a charm.
It looks like it limits the number of mapped addresses to 200. Is there a way around this?
Uh, FOLKS! Pasting your entire ward directory into the batchgeocode web site, which is likely logging every post to file, is a MAJOR SECURITY RISK!
I believe the geocode program just does a Yahoo geocode lookup on the address (street, city, state, zip). I don’t think that the other personal data is uploaded. I haven’t looked at the process, but a Yahoo geocode lookup is only interested in the street/city/state/zip data. That is not really ‘personally identifiable information’.
If you are really worried about the other data, then strip it from the CSV, so that only the street/city/state/zip data is left. Or just replace all that other data in the columns with junk, and then cut/paste the geocode info back after the lookup.
Temples are at:
There are also a few files with history sites, and other things. Poke around and add.
You should also come to LDSTech:
We have a lot of cool mapping discussion there.
A couple other tips to add to this list:
-Do create separate fields for City, State, and Zip
-Watch for addresses where the “SW” “SE” “NW” “NE” has mixed case and correct it. Fix “Sw” to be “SW”
-Use Google Earth as your place to create the Map content
-Keep it to simple things like folders, polygons, and placemarks and it will work in Google Maps as well.
-Use ‘Save Place As’ from Google Earth to save a KMZ file
-Host this file on a web server to get Google Maps. To get Google Maps to load it, do one of the following:
– From the Google Maps web page type in the full URL to this file in the Search Maps field. Example:
-Or launch Google maps and your data directly like this:
Great stuff, I am using this to set up our Emergency Response Zones!
I ahve been doing this through a different tool, but essentially the same. My problem is needing a map with a numerical or alphabetical reference placed on the map for each location.
This is then cross referenced to a excel list for each family, its particular needs, etc.
I cannot count on a priesthood leader having their laptop with them, and working, while attempting to contact members during a crisis.
I am now cutting and pasting a map together in an art editing program, then adding the necessary numbers, then printing it out to hand to each Ward Council member.
Do you know how to add a unique number to each location, which all will remain statically visible, allowing it to be printed with the number for each location shown?
This will be a big help, and reduce the amount of work considerably.
Great description, anyone have more detail or write-ups on using layers to add organization and/or HT/VT details?
here is a link to a church website that does the same thing
Thanks d cole! That's a great tip. You'll notice this post was done back in 2007, when this was just called "Mormon Hacker." Looks like the church realized the demand for this sort of thing. I'll probably post a quick article of this soon. Thanks again.