Is there interest in custom data fields from other sources?

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Jan 4, 2010, 4:40:24 PM1/4/10
to Ward Tools Development
I have been pondering whether and when it is worthwhile to extend the
schema of LSQql to incorporate data from optional sources other than
the core MLS export files. I wonder what Ward Tools developers think
as potential consumers of such data.

In general, I would probably implement these as auxiliary tables to
extend the MLS export structure.

There are several potential sources I am thinking of right now:

1) MLS custom reports, which can include several membership data
elements including HT/VT visit history, divorce status, date moved in,

There could be a standard MLS custom report definition created and
distributed to clerk users for import to MLS, with instructions to
export as CSV. The unique ID for linking would be the MRN.

2) The download file available to local leaders from the Church's new
geocoding/mapping application. This could be valuable if there is a
decent method developed for ward clerks to capture the precise
coordinates, and those clerks actually do it.

Once such data is captured, it could lead to geographic functionality
beyond just passing a single address to Google to map on the fly. For
example, mapping HT/VT routes and fast-offering collection routes. A
handheld app probabaly lacks the horsepower to map an entire ward at

The link fields would be MRN and address.

A related capability for sourcing might be capturing the lat/lon
coordinates of a member directly from a GPS-enabled handheld.

3) User-supplied notes. The link field could be either MRN or the
"Indiv ID" / "HofH ID" columns.

4) Photos of families/couples and individuals. These might be
downloaded from the web site, imported from local sources or snapped
directly on a handheld.

One difficulty with downloading the photos from the web site is the
lack of a common link field. But that data might become better
integrated with the MLS data in the new version of the web site that
is under development.

There are pros and cons to these proposals, including uncertainty
about how such data will be available in the future as MLS and the web
apps evolve, and some policy questions. I don't think I have to
decide these issues immediately, as I have other more urgent tasks to
work on.

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