FOCUS -- I need your latitude and longitude

Unichurch Together -- Extreme Makeover last Sunday, and it was all good. It was fun seeing how each fellowship "impersonates" one another (and how pathetic when we are trying to guess). It was great seeing many brothers and sisters in the same church whom you have never met, because they meet in the evenings but you are a morning person. If was encouraging looking at interviews of how people in the past have transformed through this campus ministry. Ephesians 2:1-10 preached by Grimmo was a also great reminder of how much God has done (and how little we did) in this salvation that we have received in Jesus.

But one thing wasn't done right...

Tim stuffed up the Grimmo's world map! Dots just seem to land at random places across the ocean! Obviously they did not teach you how to do PowerPoint slides in PhD, but never mind. Here is a little project that I meant to do but now finally found an excuse to get it done.

A world map to track people/ex-members in FOCUS. So that in the next Unichurch Together, it would be easy to whip out a map with all dots in the right places.

I decided to use Google Maps to implement this map, store locations of individual on database, and pull those out to populate the map using HttpRequest. I haven't done any coding, but that should be pretty straight forward -- Google has done all the hard work. However, there lacks one thing.

I need your location. Actually, I need your latitude and longitude of where you came from, where your "home" is. I need them to be in the database before I can populate the map.

(Note: and by the way, for those in FOCUS who are reading this blog entry -- congratulation! You have been chosen as alpha tester of Scott's little project. Don't you feel special?! :)

But how do I find out what my latitude and longitude is?

I realise that not everyone carries a GPS system where ever they go (except maybe Thomas). However Google Maps and Google Earth provide excellent ways to obtain the latitude and longitude of a city.

  1. If you haven't, get Google Earth -- and there's now a version on Mac OS X as well, so you "Different Thinkers" are not discriminated.
  2. Type in your home city in the search box, and hopefully Google Earth will bring you there.
  3. Now, at the lower-left hand corner there's your latitude and longitude. Note that down. You don't need to get the exact street and exact block, but please do if you are particular.

For example, I grew up in Tainan, Taiwan, and Google Earth gave me the following image.

Tainan, Taiwan

And at the lower left hand corner the latitude is 22.9999, and longitude is 120.1900.

Next, you need to get an account on the FOCUS website. I have opened up the permission so it is now possible to create accounts on the FOCUS website, but it still require manual approval process. After your account has been created, you can edit your profile, where there are fields you can put in latitude and longitude of your home location. For example,

FOCUS Maps Latitude and Longitude

As you can see in the example, I have placed my "home" location into corresponding fields.

I am looking for around maybe 20 people from different cities across SE Asia to give me enough data to work on. The final map will be here which is pretty empty at the moment. Hopefully when more and more people returning home from FOCUS, the map will be populated and covered with dots (at the right spots!) all over the world.