New Meetinghouse Locator on LDS.org – Beta Release

LDS.org has a Meetinghouse Locator application that allows users to enter an address to find the nearest LDS meetinghouse. We are pleased to announce the beta release of an upgraded version of the meetinghouse locator application on LDS.org at maps.lds.org.

This application provides many new features not available in the existing application, including:

  • A dynamic user interface. (No more drop-down lists!)
  • The ability to identify the closest meetinghouses and congregations worldwide.
  • The ability to enter address information or simply point at a location on a map to get information.
  • The ability to switch between map providers Google and Microsoft to get the best map for a given location.
  • The ability to switch between map and aerial/satellite views.
  • The ability to see all congregations at a location, not just the residential unit (for example, Young Single Adult wards and language wards).
  • The ability to select a ward/branch and get additional information, go to the unit Web site, or get driving directions.
  • The ability to provide robust feedback that can identify a variety of issues that can be tracked more easily.
  • The ability to send a link to a friend of a location.

Please feel free to try this new application and share it with your friends and neighbors.  Feedback, suggestions, and corrections are welcomed and encouraged by using the Feedback link on the application.

{ 40 comments… add one }

  • David June 19, 2008, 4:48 pm

    That is great. I’ve used the previous meetinghouse locator to find the ward I would be moving into in the midwest, but it was nowhere near good enough if I were moving into an area like Utah. I typed in a Utah address in the current one and saw the nearest churches and all the various wards in each building plus the assigned wards (regular, student, spanish, etc.) for that address.

    I’m quite impressed.

  • Jordan June 19, 2008, 5:20 pm

    This is a great improvement. Thank you very much.

  • jacob June 19, 2008, 5:27 pm

    What was it about Microsoft Virtual Earth that made it more appealing to use than map services from Yahoo or Google?

  • green mormon architect June 19, 2008, 5:55 pm

    Does this mean we will now be able to attend the meetinghouse located closest to our home? :)

  • Silus Grok June 19, 2008, 6:25 pm

    This is a huge improvement. And an attractive approach befitting the Church’s web site. I especially like that I can toggle between Google’s and Microsoft’s ( *cough* ) solution.

    Having said that, I have a couple critiques.

    First: I searched on “84101”, and the initial load time was nearly unbearable. I retried it several times (and was surprised it wasn’t cached… or didn’t behave as though it was cached), and the load times ranged from 15 to 25 seconds.

    Second: Even though the primary window found the area without a problem, the picture-in-picture on Microsoft’s version is _way_ off, showing a plate out by Saltair.

    Third: Overall, the left-hand information pane is lovely, and very well laid-out. It’s easy to find the ward houses, and there’s a lot of great information there.

    Fourth: The term “assigned congregations” is confusing. I can only assume you mean wards/branches that overlay standard ward/stake boundaries… but I only figured that out because I noticed that my family ward wasn’t listed there. Something like “specialty congregations” or “special needs congregations”. Also, I would suggest having a listing of all general-use congregations as well (and a way to mark stake centers). These two lists might be appropriately concealed in a collapsed section of the sidebar. This would allow for users to see both headers.

    Fifth: I’m surprised that ward boundaries aren’t delineated on the map. I understand that the polygon data would be a hassle to maintain/integrate… and that it would never be 100% up-to-date. But the church has that data… why not share it? Here are my reasons to include it: members know and understand that they belong to a geographic unit, and that they are expected to attend their assigned unit. Which means the closest chapel is, in many many cases, not the chapel housing their unit. Ward and stake boundaries would make finding _your_ ward a slam-dunk. Moreover, the church is constantly asking wards and branches to update their ward boundaries. If these boundaries were _live_ online, the church would receive active feedback from real-world members. Yes, some of the feedback would be counter-productive — but you have means of filtering that.

    Sixth: it appears that there’s a mechanism to mark the chapel on the map that is selected in the left pane… but it’s not working in Microsoft maps — but is in Google. Specifically, the pop-up doesn’t autoload at the numeric marker. Rather, when I click on the marker, an explanitory pop-up presents itself. If the map has to shift, though, the pop-up remains focused on the cursor and not on the numeric marker.

    Seventh: it’s kinna depressing to go from the lovely and intuitive (albeit, beta) maps area to the out-dated, out-moded, and downright krufty ward website. :(

    Here’s hoping that an overhaul of those hard-to-find and hard-to-use sites is forthcoming.

    PS… My call for the web team to stage a coup and wrestle control of MLS from whomever is doing it now is still in force.

    Viva la revolucion!

    :)

  • Silus Grok June 19, 2008, 6:29 pm

    Um… it looks like the emoticons aren’t behaving correctly. They should just be inline.

    :)

  • ldsWebguy June 19, 2008, 6:35 pm

    Jacob,
    The application has BOTH Google Maps and Microsoft maps. We don’t have a preference and allow the user to use either one.

  • Phouchg June 19, 2008, 9:41 pm

    The zip code search was a bit wonky…I typed in just “018” hoping to get a list of all meetinghouses in that zip code zone near my hometown in Massachusetts. what came up for selected location was “018 Vernal, UT”.”923″ for my current zip code zone in Southern California brought me to Finland! You may wish to enable zip code searches only for 5 digits.

    I also second having ward and/or stake boundaries deliniated on the maps.

  • Kim Siever June 19, 2008, 10:02 pm

    Looks great. I love it. I will be using this when I travel to Laie next winter.

    The only thing I have to critique is that the locations are a bit off, but it’s a big improvement over what is there now.

  • Connor June 19, 2008, 10:38 pm

    Awesome.. now if only my address would validate. I type in my location (in Utah, where five chapels are within a stone’s throw), and no results come up…

  • Ted June 19, 2008, 11:12 pm

    @Everybody with feedback — use the Feedback link on the beta site! That’s the shortest path to the development team. Although it’s fun to see it here too!

    @Silus — what a great list! Thanks, we’ll review this. If your residential ward doesn’t show as the first “assigned congregation” for your address, then something else is wrong. This is not just for “specialty” wards, but should first highlight the normal residential ward.

    @Kim and Connor — submit feedback with the specific addresses or meetinghouses you were looking for.

    @Jacob — as noted by others, you can choose between MS or Google maps, and your choice is remembered next time you access the site on the same computer (a cookie setting). We offer the choice because road and satellite coverage varies (try Venezuela with a Microsoft map, or Iceland with a Google map, for instance). We could conceivably use other vendors, but each vendor obviously increases costs, so right now it’s just the two.

    Thanks for the feedback everybody.

  • California Condor June 20, 2008, 12:17 am

    This application is a disaster. It is slow and it doesn’t work.

  • Silus Grok June 20, 2008, 7:54 am

    Yeah… it appears we’ve taken the server down altogether. The 15-25 load time has now jumped to “infinite”.

    :)

    Can’t wait to play with it more. Let us know when it’s ready for the traffic again!

  • Kevin Tams June 20, 2008, 8:58 am

    Looks great, but it can’t find Provo, Utah United States. It took about 2 minutes to load.

    I still haven’t gotten a successful search result.

  • Heather June 20, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Yes! Thank you so much! Not a week goes by that I don’t get some kind of email wondering where a ward is located in Finland or Norway. This is a huge help.

  • Troy June 20, 2008, 1:42 pm

    From June 19 at 11:00 PM to June 20 11:00 AM the GIS Services that feed the beta were having some problems. These issues have been fixed. Enjoy!

  • Kim Siever June 20, 2008, 4:05 pm

    Awesome.

    I did the feedback, and it’s is really cool that I can pinpoint where the location is myself.

    Great job.

  • Greg June 20, 2008, 4:58 pm

    Could you explain some of the technology behind this web app? Are any ESRI products being used to power the back end of this app?

    Also, how were you able to resolve issues with the original version where user’s addresses were incorrectly being assigned to the wrong ecclesiastical unit?

    This is greatly improved from the original version on the Church’s website. Great job.

  • Bruce June 20, 2008, 6:41 pm

    Greg,
    We are using ESRI’s ArcGIS Manager on the back end to do proximity analysis (closest meetinghouses) and to query the Church layers to see which wards/branches are at a location. We have also created a custom geocoder for certain high-growth areas in Utah and other locations that is being published and used by ArcGIS Manager.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  • CuriousGIS June 21, 2008, 8:34 am

    This is a big improvement over the current meetinghouse locator, the membership will enjoy it. It did have issues with rural route / box addresses. Then again I am assuming they are using a standard geocoder to find addresses. Most rural routes will never geocode using standard fair street data.

    To help those that do have rural routes and or places where they do not have a street files, and/or the geocoder source data is not robust they should include a layer to view the boundaries of the units. I searched for a few rural routes in our unit and none of them even came close to being properly geocoded. I also tried some less developed countries and the application would tell me to please wait while it searched but never continue.

    If they set up multiple geocoders the application could try each in turn until it had a match, for those areas that it could not find a good match it could return the boundaries of the units/stakes based on city, state equivalent, or even country.

  • Silus Grok June 21, 2008, 10:52 pm

    … another reason to have unit boundaries!

    YAY!

  • LDS Art Collector June 25, 2008, 9:24 am

    Great Post

  • Ted June 25, 2008, 3:21 pm
  • Brian J. Hill June 26, 2008, 2:50 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!!
    My job requires me to be in a new town EVERY week (currently I’ve been in a new ward each week for 83 consecutive weeks,) and I’ve had a terrible time using the old meetinghouse locator. The interface was terrible and Mapquest isn’t nearly as useful as Google or Microsoft maps. I’m sooooo glad there’s a new version. One suggestion: I’ve found that the meeting times on the old meetinghouse locator weren’t always accurate, meaning I’d end up missing church for that week. If there’s a way of updating the meeting times more otften than with the old locator, I sure would appreciate it!

  • Ted June 27, 2008, 11:05 pm

    Hey Brian — killer schedule! Good luck with that. Hope this is an improvement. The meeting times are up to the local wards and branches to keep updated.

  • Matt Nico July 1, 2008, 8:53 am

    I’ll vote up ward boundaries being delineated on the map.

    I’m also wondering if there’s any way to tap into the information available on the site. I’m creating some all-inclusive mapping software that helps LDS people when they relocate to a new area. I’m wondering if there’s a way I can find out which ward each home in a group of listings is located in. Is there an API for that?

  • Ted July 2, 2008, 2:41 pm

    Thanks everyone for all the feedback. The enhancement requests have all been noted. I’ll probably stop checking this post for new ideas, so anything else should be funneled through the Feedback link on the site. Thanks again!

  • jeri robbins November 16, 2010, 7:15 pm

    trying to find location of ward near 5l6 elana lane, san clemente, CA and also one in palm springs. thanks

  • toni seymour February 9, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Hi kids,
    cannot get this locator site to work for me. I am new here in Las Vegas, excommunicated, and willing to have another go at it!! Please help me find my new ward. I am in the 89108 zipcode. Phone will be on soon and would love and welcome a call at 702-421-1509. I do not drive and need a ride to meetings.
    God bless you and yours, Toni
    ps. love to have and e-mail too!!!!

  • toni seymour February 9, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Hi kids,
    cannot get this locator site to work for me. I am new here in Las Vegas, excommunicated, and willing to have another go at it!! Please help me find my new ward. I am in the 89108 zipcode. Phone will be on soon and would love and welcome a call at 702-421-1509. I do not drive and need a ride to meetings.
    God bless you and yours, Toni
    ps. love to have and e-mail too!!!!

  • sarah killian December 22, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Hi my name is Sarah I JUST moved to Daly city I don’t know where or what church I NEED to go to this Sunday or time if anyone can help please do and my member number is no good trying to get that fix no luck u can call me at 415 312 9075 hope heat from someone soon before Sunday merry Christmas god blessed

  • Larry Richman December 23, 2011, 1:51 am

    Sarah, you can go to maps.lds.org and type in your address. It will tell you your new ward, the address, the meeting time, and the name and phone number of the bishop. The first phone number listed is for the bishop’s office, and the second number is for his home. I hope you enjoy your new ward.

  • Kristin November 17, 2012, 5:26 am

    Well, this is great IF you know your church membership number, which I don’t b/c I haven’t BEEN to Mormon Church for 20 years. Now, I want to find my ward, but I have to provide my church membership number in order to USE the map to FIND my ward. I have been searching all night on the web to find my ward. Does any one know other resources to find my ward? This should be so simple. I just want to enter my address & zip and be given the name of my bishop & the location of my church. Thanks.

  • Larry Richman November 17, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Kristin, you can just go to http://maps.lds.org and enter your address. No need to sign up for an LDS Account or enter your membership record number.

  • Les Wigger March 9, 2014, 12:58 am

    How do I find the correct ward I would go to if I were a non-member? I’m trying to locate the ward whose boundaries would include my daughter. She is an inactive member and I need to know where to have her records sent.

  • Larry Richman March 9, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Les,

    Just go to maps.lds.org and enter her address. On the left side of the page will be the name of the ward and the bishop’s phone number.

    Larry

  • Anna March 29, 2014, 8:10 pm

    I don’t like it, before I could just go on and put in my address and it would show me what Ward I’m in I’m having such a difficult time trying to sign in I don’t have my membership number so I still don’t know what we’re supposed to be in to go to church tomorrow there should be a place with somebody who is not tech savvy can just put in their address and have it show them where they’re supposed to go I don’t read maps very well so showing me a map is Greek to me I just want to know what Ward I am in and I can’t go to church because I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.

  • Larry Richman March 30, 2014, 3:06 am

    Anna,

    You can now use maps.lds.org to find out your ward without signing in with your membership number.

    Just type in your address, and it tells you which ward you belong to on the left side of the screen. Under the name is the address of the meetinghouse, the name of the bishop. and his phone number.

    Good luck in your new ward!

    Larry

  • Robert June 6, 2014, 10:52 pm

    It is impossible to find out what ward you go to if you are moving, I really am frustrated about it and have been trying for some time and now give up , Stinks.

  • Larry Richman June 7, 2014, 1:06 am

    Robert,

    Sorry you’re having trouble. It should be as simple as entering your new address at http://maps.lds.org and your new ward will show up on the left side of the screen. It shows the meetinghouses’s address, meeting times, and the name and phone number of the bishop.

    Larry

Leave a Comment