Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Post 6: Mapping Features

Previous posts in this series to evaluate Family Tree Builder are found in Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Summary of Posts.

In this post, we will look at the Mapping features that were one of the major features new to Family Tree Builder Version 4.0.

Starting from the People Page for my Seaver grandparents, I clicked on the "Maps" icon in the second menu row. The first time that you click on "Maps," an information box appears:

If you do not have a MyHeritage.com Premium account, this information box informs you that they will show you only the first 50 of the locations in your family tree. My family tree has 10,296 locations!

The user also has to have an Internet connection open so that the program can access Google Maps.

The program quickly retrieved the information for the 50 localities. I'm not sure how long it would take to download the information for all of my localities! When it was done, a Google Maps panel appeared in place of the Family Tree panel:

The map has stick pins for the locations shown in the right-hand panel with a list of the localities in my database (well, the 50 that were downloaded). Note the green stick pin in Puerto Rico - that corresponds to the first locality on the "sorted by country" list on the right. But, the locality is really in England. Why does the map show Puerto Rico? Because I have (pr) in parentheses for this locality (the "pr" was meant to indicate "Parish Register" in my source shorthand I used for many entries a long time ago). So the error is mine, not FTB 4.0's. [Of course, this is why I'm going through my database to add accurate source citations and removing my shorthand citations from the locality field - it's another topic, obviously!]

Note that the "text bubble" that appears when I put my mouse on the first locality notes "click to view 434 items in "Hilperton, Wiltshire, England (pr)." I clicked on the link and saw:

This is pretty cool (aside from the problem of Puerto Rico being shown on the map - my fault, not FTB's!). From this screen, I could have edited the Place Name to remove the dratted (pr) and restore Hilperton to its rightful place in the veddy-English speaking Wiltshire...but I didn't just to move on here.

The first locality in the United Kingdom list was "Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND" so I clicked on that and it showed a similar screen but the map showed Hilperton:

I X'ed out the list of facts, and played a bit with the Google Map frame. I zoomed in, then clicked on the "Hybrid" button which showed the roads overlayed on the "Satellite" view:

The road St. Michael's Close leads to one of my ancestral churches - St. Michael's and All Angels - which is in the circle at the end of the road.

What about a map from the USA? I clicked on the link in the list on the right panel for "Sudbury, Middlesex, MA" and it showed eastern Massachusetts:

The green stickpin is in Sudbury, and the text dropdown box notes that I have 255 items for this place (I've taken out many of the shorthand sources!). The other buttons are for other places in the database.

Note the check boxes for Birth, Death & burial, Marriage, Residence, Photos and Other right above the map panel? These can be checked or unchecked at the user's discretion.

I haven't explored the "Advanced Search" link yet, just below the check boxes, but I will very soon.

Aside from my own personal problem with my shorthand sources (that fool the Family Tree Builder into thinking some of my families were born in Puerto Rico), this mapping feature performs extremely well. It accepted my capitalized countries, and my abbreviated US states.

In the next post, I'll explore the Advanced Search features a bit.

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