New Mormon Meetinghouse locator

URL:  maps.lds.org

In case you haven’t noticed, the church has been rapidly building and deploying all kinds of exciting new technologies.  I intend to cover a few of these over the next little while (as infatuated as I am with technology).  It’s wonderful to see the church leveraging the powerful technology available to us today in order to move the work of the Lord along.

The first that I’ll cover, is a new (and upcoming) way of locating places of worship anywhere in the world.  The site is actually a “mashup” (a site that merges technology/information from disparate locations) and works wonderfully.

This new interface creates a far more visual, interactive way to find meetinghouses.  It lets you toggle between Google maps or Microsoft maps, depending on your preference, and lets you switch between the two at will.  Doing this lets you use the great pan/tilt/zoom features of Microsoft, including their Aerial mode for satellite imagery (birds-eye view doesn’t seem to be available yet), or use Google’s satellite or map view (or merge the two).  Interestingly, the Google Maps view doesn’t currently work in Google’s new Chrome browser, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed soon, but Microsoft maps do work (PP, that’s a paradox).  Still it’s in beta, so some bugs will likely exist.

What’s cool though, is if you know of a chapel that’s not yet shown on the map they even give you an interface to add one.

Searching yields results divided into two categories “closest meetinghouses”, showing the three nearest locations, and “Assigned Congregations” showing a list of locations you can attend living in the selected location, along with language-specific worship services, young single adult wards, and student wards.

It even contains local leader contact information, and will give you directions.

If you haven’t yet seen it, check it out.

Rusty

0 replies
  1. Rusty Lindquist says:

    I just checked out your post (cool blog, btw, I’ve visited it before, but not for a while). “User friendliness” is becoming an increasingly challenging endeavor.

    Usability, Interface Design, and User Experience have always been of particular interest to me (which is why I’ve centered my career on them).

    Several things are happening at once. First, you’ve got increasingly more technology and information available, from an increasingly large amount of disparate sources using different technologies. Secondly, you’ve got growing expectations for information and rising functional demands from an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base growing up in an era of thinking “anything is possible”, but seldom having experienced any of the “pain” involved in making it all happen (all the expectations, none of the appreciation).

    Also, functional innovation often (and unnecessarily) comes at the cost of interface innovation, particularly in the “mashup” space.

    The church does have a new CIO (I say new, but I guess he’s not that new – to the church that is), Joel Dehlin, that seems to be making great strides. He’s got 11 years experience at Microsoft (including having co-founded and managed the Microsoft Surface project – some incredible technology), then at Arthur Andersen and Novell prior to that. Plus, he’s the father of seven – he’s even ahead of my 6, but I won’t accept defeat so easily.

    I noticed that he has a position open for a Director of User Experience, reporting directly to him, so apparently he understands the need. Judging solely on the expansive list of high-tech projects he’s managed to get underway, and a church-wide focus on making the most of technology, I’d say we’re in good hands.

    Still, I guess it is just in beta, knowing the church’s high standards, I imagine once it’s rolled out live it’ll be near-flawless. It worked great for my area (but living in Utah, that’s easy!).

    Reply

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