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Place problems and request

places merging

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#1 MessengerFamilyGuy

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:41 PM

I have been using the authors software since the family origins days. I have tried other programs, but prefer and recommend Rotts Magic. However, I have compiled a list of problems and requests which I will enter in one or more posts.

PLACES*****************
What a pain! The gazetteer and place list have both helped and hurt.

Problem #1 there is a disconnect between the Gazetteer, and the County Check, with no good way to track Historical places, and Coutny Check's more info has conflicting information. Example: I find a person Hugh de Baliol with a birth in Gainford, Durham, England, but it was misspelled Gianford, Durham, England. To make sure I get the right spelling and place, I click the Gazetteer button. I select the correct selection, "Gainford, Durham, England, United Kingdom". Great. Now I click save, and the problems start. It says "County Durham wasn't created until 1 April 1974. United Kingdom wasn't created until 1 May 1707." Yet if I click on "more info" and "known as" tab, I see that County Durham is a county from 28 September 1066 to 1 April 1974. So which is it? Was the county created in 1066 and ended in 1974 or was it created in 1974?! Also the county check window, like several other windows has labels where the text is cut-off and not fully visible. Specifically the created date, and eliminated date both have the bottom of the text cut off. What is really needed is to select a specific geo location that does not change. If the names or civil district of a given geo-location have changed over time, that is not very relevant to storing where the event took place. If I choose "Gainford, Durham, England, United Kingdom" the software should be date/district aware. Clearly by the websites, you have this information available. Settings can be made to how this is handled. According to your County Check screen it clearly knows Durham County, it knows England, and it knows the United Kingdom. When entering this information in reports it should put it in as something like this if abbreviations are not selected to be used, "Gainford, Durham, England, United Kingdom, formerly Gainford, England" or "Gainford, England, now Gainford, Durham, England, United Kingdom"

PROBLEM #2 Place abbreviations ... PLEASE use them! There are numerous grids where places are one of the columns, yet if you have an abbreviation for the place it does not use it. Those columns resize based on the text in the field. The "Standardized" place names from the Gazetteer are really long and make the grids much less readable.

PROBLEM #3 Place abbreviations ... Automate them. Just as we can automatically Geocode all places We should be able to automatically abbreviate places with standard abbreviations. ISO 3166 has standard country and subdivision abbreviations that can be automatically applied. For example Durham County, England, United Kingdom = GB-DUR. I am not sure in other countries how well known these standard abbreviations are. In the U.S. everyone knows them because the postal codes are used. So Florida is US-FL. It is a little unbalanced. Italy, for example, is smaller than California. Yet Italy has 110 ISO province codes, California on the other hand has no sub codes because it is just one state in the country. Even better you could collaborate with other gen software folks, and publish a recommended geocoding abbreviation standard that incorporates ISO and other standards(http://neatlas.org/NECounty/index.html http://www.unece.org...e/location.html http://en.wikipedia....ki/Chapman_code
http://homepages.nil...la/counties.htm ) that is adapted based on common use. So "Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States" might become "Exeter, ROCK, NH, US" 20 readable characters instead of 47. Or "Winslow, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom" becomes "Winslow, Bucks, GB"

Problem #4 Missing places - One solution to this would be to crowd source it. Provide a button in RM to allow users that have identified a place name, that is complete with a link and geo-coordinates to submit this to RM. RM can periodically review these for quality and officially add them.

Problem #5 Place Details Geo Tagging- It would be nice if the place details, such as "Barnard Castle" in this case, which are easily identifiable by a google search, would automatically be precisely geocoded with latitude and longitude. This may relate to Problem #4.

Problem #6 Place Details Splitting - When a fully designated place is able to be accurately identified, but is preceded by an additional comma separated field there should be a rapid way to perform the details split on dozens of these at once. Perhaps a list of already checked places to split where you can uncheck the couple which you think should not be split is a way to go. Key words like Castle Church, Abbey, Cemetery, Street, etc. could be used to aid this. Example: Oak Grove Cemetery, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. This would retain the city etc., and split Oak Grove Cemetery into place details, and preferably find geo coding info and for it and fill that in, maybe with a info link.

Problem #7 Gazetteer Access - Add access to Place List Place Editing and marriage add window

Problem #8 Place List Merging - Center the highlighted item in the middle of the list box not at the bottom. I usually have to scroll to check places to merge that are just out of view.

Problem #9 Unused Place management - There REALLY should be a delete all. Using hot keys to delete many places over and over and listen to the annoying windows beep for each one is not pleasant.

#2 Laura

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:25 PM

#9 I keep the sound turned off on my computer unless I am watching a video. I don't like listening to the beep at any time.

Personally, I would never use a Delete all button to remove unused places. If I have any, I open a prior database and check who was linked to that place to find out if I had made a mistake in unlinking it.

#3 MessengerFamilyGuy

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

#9 I keep the sound turned off on my computer unless I am watching a video. I don't like listening to the beep at any time.

Yeah, Except that I very frequently watch video while I work.

#4 zhangrau

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:26 PM

Interesting suggestions. Definitely should be in the WISH LIST forum, not the RM6 ISSUES.

#5 Renee Zamora

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:27 AM

1. What date were you using for the event with County Durham? Text cut-off usually means you have increased your Windows font display and the font is larger now than the screen can accommodate. I don't think there is a library [programming] available that can display historical information by the geocode information on a place. We would need someone to develop that and provide it at a reasonable cost for us to include it in RM.

2. Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system.

3. Your suggestion would be great if only people could agree on a standard. We have people upset now on how CountyCheck works, for example wanting the word county in the county name, or no country name showing. With our experience with people disagreeing over CountyCheck I don't think it will be any time soon we will try to set a standard on abbreviated place names.

4. That could become a support nightmare for all the same reasons as #3.

5. We need a library that would contain that data. Some people are geocoding down to the exact cemetery plot location. I don't think you will find a library with that in it. The reason we connect to Bing Maps is to help you pin-point the location you want to geocode.

6. Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system. The challenge would be some people use commas in the place detail level. For example: Cemetery name, plot #. This would make it more challenging to split the place from the place detail..

7, 8 & 9. Confirming enhancement requests are in our tracking system.
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#6 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:47 PM

3. Your suggestion would be great if only people could agree on a standard. We have people upset now on how CountyCheck works, for example wanting the word county in the county name, or no country name showing. With our experience with people disagreeing over CountyCheck I don't think it will be any time soon we will try to set a standard on abbreviated place names.


I think that it should not be too difficult on County Check to satisfy a pretty diverse set of user preferences. The trick is simply to be tolerant of some diversity of data entry. For example, if one user enters Boondock County, State of Confusion and another user enters Boondock, State of Confusion, United States, then the diversity of input has nothing to do with whether or not a county named Boondock exists (or ever existed) in State of Confusion and nothing to do with the fact that said county was created in 1833. Instead, County Check ends up enforcing a Place Name Standard that many users feel is completely dysfunctional, leaving the only recourse to turn off what otherwise would be an extremely valuable research tool. So RM's approach is very user unfriendly.

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#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:53 PM

I think that it should not be too difficult on County Check to satisfy a pretty diverse set of user preferences.


Let me provide an example of good design concerning diversity of user input. There are a wide variety of data formats for GPS co-ordinates. My experience with good quality mapping software is that such software will accept virtually any of the co-ordinate formats as input, and will produce co-ordinates as output in any format of the user's choice. So a mapping user is not tied to any one co-ordinate format, no matter how "standard" one or another of the formats may be considered to be.

Jerry

#8 Vyger

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:26 PM

3. Your suggestion would be great if only people could agree on a standard. We have people upset now on how CountyCheck works, for example wanting the word county in the county name, or no country name showing. With our experience with people disagreeing over CountyCheck I don't think it will be any time soon we will try to set a standard on abbreviated place names.


The CountyCheck problem always seems to centre around the inclusion of the word County or not, see Jerry's reply also. As regards Abbreviated Place Names I would not be in favour of ISO3166 type abbreviations as this standard is not world wide and is fragmented within itself. With Places I use a 4, 3, 2 designation, the Gazetteer suggestion is usually 4 parts, I record the Place as 3 parts and the Abbreviated Place as 2 parts sorta like "known locally". Where I also believe CountyCheck becomes unpopular is whereas the Gazetteer acceptance populates the Standardized Place Name, CountyCheck populates the Place field with the full designation of the Place. Personally I don't want this and would prefer it populated the Standardized Place Name and have never had an explanation as to why this is not the case.

5. We need a library that would contain that data. Some people are geocoding down to the exact cemetery plot location. I don't think you will find a library with that in it. The reason we connect to Bing Maps is to help you pin-point the location you want to geocode.


FTM achieves this and I don't believe anyone would expect RM to zone into cemetery plot. In a new interactive Place Management UI with embedded map I would expect RM to send the Place and Place Detail information of to Bing and give the user the option to accept and verify Bings suggestion of location with, of course, the option of lifting the co-ordinates from a click on the map as FTM does

6. Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system. The challenge would be some people use commas in the place detail level. For example: Cemetery name, plot #. This would make it more challenging to split the place from the place detail..


The challenge is accepted and my suggestion of a solution is to provide for the majority and therefore increase productivity. If the Place list, even in it's current dated guise, provided the facility to display a filtered list where the place contained words like Castle, Church, Abbey, Cemetery, Street, etc as the original posted suggested then check boxes could be used to multiple select candidates for Multiple Splitting of Place and Place Details. If the user identifies such entries with a comma in the Place Detail level they can leave that unchecked for manual splitting.

We are all limited by our visions and abilities

Whilst we can borrow from the visions of others we cannot always deliver.

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.6.0, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#9 Vyger

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:08 PM

In response to the question posed by Renee, NO, FTM does not have historical places geocoded but in the instance the original poster sited when "Barnard Castle" is sent to Bing the exact location comes up potentially saving the user a lot of time and effort. If RM was then able to allow the lifting of the co-ordinates from the map insert as FTM does that alone would be a great step forward. With Places listed in RM Mapping the UI already does this making an attempt at any Place which is not geocoded but not to Place Detail level, you will see as you arrow down through the list of Places on RM Mapping that any one selected which does not display a push pin on the map insert is not geocoded but there is no option to correct this on the current RM Mapping UI so another break in functionality and work flow.

Back when RM4 was released I posted a suggestion here to have an additional drop down option for Place Details, this thinking is well outdated now and what I believe is needed is a + expansion option in the left pane for any Place which contains Place Details and an indication that geocoding exists or not. The option to expand all should also be provided.

Giving the long wished for option to reverse the Place by comma delimiter combined with the option to expand within any Place down to Place Detail level, the visual indication of geocoding being present and the option to select the Place on the Map insert and lift the geocoding is what is needed and FTM does all that.

My thinking for quite some time now is for a completely new Place management UI, I hate saying "like FTM" but they do this well IMO and RM has additional Place related features that if this were to come about would place RM well above FTM.

So in summary, my thoughts and wishes are:

1. Reference all Place related features from one common UI and remove the current fragmentation.

2. New UI should be an evolution of the current RM Mapping UI with additional panes for additional information.

3. Provide option to search the Place list and providing a filtered list.

4. Provide option to display only Places and Place Details needing geocoding.

5. Allow geocoding by selection of point on map.

6. Additional panes should be collapsible for those users with restricted screen size, in other words could be brought back to present RM Mapping view.

7. Bottom pane left and right could show Gazetteer and CountyCheck information.

8. Right pane should show summary information of Place or Place Detail like geocoding, media and notes existence.

9. Right pane should also show Associated People with an expansion to show events, sorry but like FTM already does.

I could go on but that will do it for now. I have repeatedly stated that RM has the greatest set of Place related tools but they are all over the place with no real coherence. When trying to manage Places within RM I, for one, would like to see all the available information on one screen with the options available to filter, edit and correct any and all information if required.

We are all limited by our visions and abilities

Whilst we can borrow from the visions of others we cannot always deliver.

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.6.0, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#10 Renee Zamora

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:47 PM

Confirming enhancement requests are in our tracking system.
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#11 MessengerFamilyGuy

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:57 PM

1. What date were you using for the event with County Durham?

Looking at my record for that entry - it must have been "abt 1191"


Text cut-off usually means you have increased your Windows font display and the font is larger now than the screen can accommodate.


Under program options, I have Segoe UI (14 point) for all three settings. I assure you, my 4 hd monitors have room. I have run into many windows with the bottom of the fonts cut off. I am on Windows 8.


I don't think there is a library [programming] available that can display historical information by the geocode information on a place. We would need someone to develop that and provide it at a reasonable cost for us to include it in RM.



I think your best solution here is to consider some of the suggestions given, and take advantage of crowd sourcing. If you allow us to easily share geo-coded places, you will build an immense and valuable library.

3. Your suggestion would be great if only people could agree on a standard. We have people upset now on
how CountyCheck works, for example wanting the word county in the county name, or no country name showing. With our experience with people disagreeing over CountyCheck I don't think it will be any time soon we will try to set a standard on abbreviated place names.



I hear you. The inclusion of the word "County" is very easy if the place is identifiable. It could be done with a setting and be turned on and off. As for abbreviations, yes there are a few "standards", especially for places outside of America. It would however, be very easy to take the standard 50 U.S. state abbreviations and provide a way to auto abbreviate recognized places. So Town, County, Massachusetts, Unites States becomes Town, County MA, U.S. Right now under file options you have a drop down that allows a selection from eight different date formats. From a settings perspective all you need is one more drop down for abbreviation choice, "chapman, U.S. Postal," etc. This sort of user flexibility takes you past the concerns with "nobody wants it the same" However, I still think that if you want to be industry leading in providing value, would be to begin an industry group for the purpose of creating a broadly accepted standard.



4. That could become a support nightmare for all the same reasons as #3.


I strongly disagree. If you are really afraid of it you could skip the last part "RM can periodically review these for quality and officially add them", and just make it all crowd sourced. If I am having trouble finding information about a place and it is not in the Gazetteer, It would be great to be able to hit a button that in the background perhaps calls back to a RM web service and finds possible matches of user submitted places that have web tags. I have had historical places where I have spent twenty minutes trying to confirm they actually existed once, and where they are etc. To click, see a likely candidate, look at the link, and then accept it would be an immense timesaver, and quality improver. Your only work is a little bit of one-time UI work and make sure the web service stays running, or include them in the product updates. It is MY choice if I want to include user submitted data.


5. We need a library that would contain that data. Some people are geocoding down to the exact cemetery plot location. I don't think you will find a library with that in it.
The reason we connect to Bing Maps is to help you pin-point the location you want to geocode.


Search google for poi points of interest library OR database. There is a lot of stuff available



6. Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system. The challenge would be some people use commas in the place detail level. For example: Cemetery name, plot #. This would make it more challenging to split the place from the place detail..



Correct. Just like date parsing and everything else where users can enter anything they want, sometimes it is not possible to interpret what they meant. But that doesn't mean we give up on parsing dates. There is just too much advantage to it.

#12 Renee Zamora

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:37 PM

Text cut-off usually means you have increased your Windows font display and the font is larger now than the screen can accommodate.

Under program options, I have Segoe UI (14 point) for all three settings. I assure you, my 4 hd monitors have room. I have run into many windows with the bottom of the fonts cut off. I am on Windows 8.



It sounds like you are still trying to make that adjustment inside of RootsMagic. It's your Windows fonts that are controlling that area. If you increase your fonts more than 100% it will cause some windows inside of RM to not display all the text.


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