Source Linker - Geolocation comparisons
Description of the request
As a user of family search, I would like it if the source linker would allow me to see the distance between the residence on a source and a residence of a person on my family tree.
This functionality would primarily exist for locations that still exist.
Example of solution
For example, let's assume I have an ancestor and I know the following information about him/her.
- Name: John Smith
- Death: October 2nd, 1879
- Location of Death: Columbus, Georgia, United states
Now let's assume that Family Search finds a record with the following information for John Smith.
- Name: John Smith
- Death: October 4th, 1879
- Location of Burial: Phoenix City, Alabama
In this scenario, I would like the source linker to have button that allows me pull up a map that shows me the distance from John Smith's (from my family tree) "Location of Death" to the "Location of Burial" for the resources "John Smith". Preferably with an option similar to google maps ability to choose estimated walking time, biking time, and car time.
In this situation, at first glance the "Loaction of Death" and "Location of Burial" seem like they are far away. But in reality, Phoenix City, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia are separated by a river. This would be made more clear by a map showing the distance between the two.
Why I think this would be helpful
I have seen a pattern similar to the one shown in my example occur. In many cases I have been able to determine whether or not I should attached a record based distance between places they have lived vs where they died. Rather than having to compare this information on google maps, it might be a nice addition to allow me to pull up a map with all of the locations from both the source and my family tree displayed.
This might also work for my ancestors who immigrated from other countries. I'm not personally familiar with Norway, but if my family tree indicates my ancestor lived there and the resource indicates they lived on the opposite side of the country, it would help to be able to see that on a map so I don't assume the locations are close to each other.
Unfortunately, that geographical comparison will likely still have to be done manually. For example, a location name displayed in a vital that has been linked to a standardizing value in the Standards database has everything you would need for this (assuming a correct standard value has been assigned in the first place). However, location names in indexed data or source images are all missing the time period it applies to, any alternate names appropriate in that time period, and the geo-coordinates needed for mapping. Those items would all formally have to be assigned during the indexing which would be a manual one-by-one activity and it would have to be based on the standards database that FS is using. A good chunk of all the index files we have come from outside of FS and so would likely not even have access to the standards.
Going back through all the existing index files already in the system to assign standard names and co-ordinates is extremely unlikely I suspect :-)
(BTW, you also have all the situations where the existing data recorded in the tree may actually be incorrect in the first place. You've identified a part of the correct process, it just requires human action due to the inability to effectively automate it)0