Sunday, December 30, 2007

Oh, where, oh where can we be?

If there is one word that encompasses the internet and innovation, it has to be Google. The search-engine turned numerous-web-tool company developed a fantastic set of mapping applications a few years ago. The two most important apps are Google Maps and Google Earth. At face value, Google Maps can be compared to mapquest, however there is much more under the hood. Google Maps is a web-app that allows users to view street maps, plan routes and look at aerial photos. But the true power of Google Maps is the ability to make your own maps. A user can place a series of locations, both points and areas, over existing maps and share these maps with other people over the web. Google Earth is a client side piece of software that has the same abilities as Google Maps in addition to GPS mapping and 3D topographical and structural mappings. The functionalities I stated here are just the tip of the iceberg. These two software packages are very dense and have much to offer. Go try them out for yourself.

Now what does mapping software have to do with Masonry? Well, if you have an electronic address list for all the brothers in your lodge, you can easily import this list into Google Earth and create a map of where your brothers live. Now creating action plans that are geographically dependent are simple. If you have refreshments that need to be picked up from a specific location, bring up your map, see who lives nearby and have him pick it up on his way to lodge. If some of the younger brothers want to give some of the older brothers a hand with shoveling snow, they can map out their course of action using the membership map. If a brother needs a ride to lodge, check the map and see who lives nearby. You could map out all the lodges in your district and get a better idea of which lodge is where. There are an endless number of jobs this software can do. If you think of more, please add a comment and let the whole Masonic Community know!

Here is an example of a user-generated map. I created this map with the locations of a few of the Masonic blogs I frequently read. This map is nowhere near done, but I figured you'd get a good idea of its capabilities.

View Larger Map

To-do list item #8 - Completed

Since writing the To-do List Craze article, I have made some headway in terms of my to-dos. Each of these to-dos are larger projects and I have spent some time on each of them. However, it seems that I have actually completed one. To-do #8, aka "Convert lodge website into the new template supplied by the Grand Lodge" is complete and can be checked out at Tell me what you think. Given that I have the next week off, hopefully I'll complete a few more.