Plugins - Geo
From Ancestris Free Genealogy Program
This is one of many plugins for Ancestris, all created with the purpose of ease your work and embellish your genealogy.
Author: Frédéric Lapeyre
You can install it like any others plugins, and it can be accessed as usual, from the main menu, item "View - Geographic view":
Notice another item, a little below, whose name is List of places. It is part of this plug-in, and they are used together.
Geo - interactive maps
For this plug-in, and for the time being, we can only configure the geonames.org account name:
Unless you have your own account there, you have to put "ancestris" (without the quotes) in the appropriate field.
This module allows you to see a geographical view of all events for your genealogy.
It includes two views: the map of your events, and the list of your places.
As the server we use is an international one, you will have, using this plugin, lots of information for your genealogy (for example, if you're french, you will get the INSEE codes, if your data are located in the U.S., this is an example of what you can get : "Salisbury, 21801, Nassau County, New York, United States, 10.74566, -73.56013").
The Geo view (which is installed by this plugin), is used by the WebBook plug-in, so you should really install that too.
The Geo view module for Ancestris allows you to locate all individuals in your genealogy, and their respective events on a map.
It manages two different environments, sharing the same list of places from your genealogy:
- the Geographical view: here you see a map with every place of your genealogy. It's possible to choose the ones you want to see (and only them).
- the List of places: Here you can edit all place names in your genealogy, and verify they were correctly entered, jurisdictionally speaking (you will be able to choose the ones matching your genealogy).
Using the geographical view
Using this view is very simple.
Just choose "View -> Geographic view" from the main menu.
It's possible to change the markers to filter the places you want to display. You can also open the list of places from this view.
For more details on displaying options, see : Geographic View
N.B. : if this view isn't displayed, you should update the plug-in.
Close both views and try to reopen the Geo view and the List of Places.
If the error persists, you'll have to uninstall and install it again, or simply deactivate it, restart Ancestris before reactivating it, and reload the views in "View" menu, and everything will be in place.
Using the List of places
Using the list of places is very simple. Open it choosing "View/List of places", or click List of places in the Geographical View.
The list is sorted by city name, no matter what your jurisdictions order uses.
- Green places - places found by Ancestris or those with your given coordinates are green. However, you can conclude at some point they are wrongly placed (to fix this, check 2. A green place is wrongly positioned).
- Red places - places with no coordinates are red (to fix this, check Places are 'Red').
- Events Details - when you open a place name, genealogical events show up in a tree. Check Menu Event.
- Search a place in the list - the search is done by selecting an element of the list and typing the first letters of the desired jurisdiction. A window will open at the bottom of the list; wait until the best match is displayed.
- Context Menu - right click a place or event, and a context menu will pop up.
Unknown or wrongly positioned places
While viewing the list, three situations may require your attention:
This means the place was not found by the Geo module in the data base. (cf. Searching Places)
So, you have to complete or change the content of a PLAC field.
To help, use the menu Edit this place via the context menu using the Search window.
You can also directly edit the fields Latitude and Longitude in the Places Editor.
- for Latitude: New York for example, is located to the north, so you have to enter latitude using this format 40.7056308. You can use as many decimal places as you like, but remember it's a dot, not a comma (notice the dot between the 0 and the 7 above).
- For Longitude: it all depends if you are on West or East longitude (the separation between East and West is of course the Greenwich meridian).
Respect these rules to enter your data, but, additionally, if you are on a West longitude, put a "-" (minus) sign before the first number: -1.025452147, and if you are on a East longitude, just write the digits without any sign, do something like: 1.254687.
The most frequent case is that the same place name exists more than once in the data base.
Example : we find 'Paris' two times, one in France, and one in Texas (USA).
Geo module identifies them with the Places Editor. (right click the place, select Edit this place).
In the editor, List of sites found, select the correct one, click Choose this place and finally OK to save your choice.
--> Have you considered checking the order of jurisdictions?
--> Have you thought of filling as many fields as you can in your places? Geo uses this information to optimize the search.
It is possible that the data base where the geographical coordinates are stored is wrong for that place. You can write to the SysOp of the data base (it's an American site: GEOnet Names Server (GNS)), the email is email@example.com); you can also do the same as for the 'Red' places.
Add the correct coordinates and choose this place with the new coordinates for your tree. But the best way to go is, if you're sure it is a mistake, to write them. They usually react after a month or two.
Fill a PLAC field
Geo uses the content of PLAC fields; it's important to fill them properly. Follow the jurisdictions order you set in the Gedcom file header. It's important to remember that Gedcom standard requires the introduction of places following a growing order of jurisdictions.
If your places are organized as such, they will be correctly positioned on the map, because Ancestris uses the hamlet name, the city and county to determine the exact position of a place. We know that most software packages don't give you this opportunity, but Ancestris does !!!!
N.B. - A modification, even a small one, in the content of a Gedcom file PLAC field will trigger a new search. It may cause you to go through the Places Editor.
N.B. - Make sure to align the union dashes when you use them in the title of a place or jurisdiction. If you don't, they won't all be displayed in the 'list of places'. To better prevent this, see: Minor changes in jurisdictions. 
Context Menu of a place
Right click on a Place,and a menu pops up with five possible options:
- Show the location of this place on the map - moves the map to highlight the place, as if you had double clicked the line.
- Details of this place - shows known information about the place. Uses info locally stored, or fetches it from the Internet.
- Edit this place - allows you to edit the jurisdictions and correct your geographical coordinates. See Places Editor for more explanation.
- Update and reorder the list - forces the reordering of the list and associated events, like if you restart Geo. See how Ancestris finds geographical coordinates.
Buttons: "Update" in the Geographical View, and "Update and reorder the list" will do this too, one or the other, after modifying the info in the "Places Editor" of the "Description to keep".
--> Once validated, changing a PLAC field with the Gedcom editor does the same thing: updating the geographical coordinates maintained by the Geo editor (search coordinates and reorder the list of places).
Context Menu of an "event"
Right click an event associated with a place to pop up a context menu with two options: 'Edit this event in the editor'.
This action will open the editor for the selected event.
Using the places editor
This window allows you to modify lots of information concerning places:
- when it opens, it's the left area we use. The place is searched on the Internet and the possible matches are shown on this list. In the right column, only latitude and longitude are changeable. If the displayed coordinates suite you, you can close the window. Ancestris choice is displayed at the top of the list, in the geographical view. Compare the coordinates at the bottom of the Details list with those on Description to keep or Details of this place in the List of places;
- select the right place, if it's different from the default choice. Click Choose this place to move it to the grey right area of the window, the Description to keep, check for any changes and click OK to validate.
N.B. sometimes, the function Coordinates only, top right corner, seems to create a problem, not allowing you to customize the PLAC field content. Clicking OK will clear the PLAC field! If that is the case, check the jurisdictions list, Preferences -> Data, it could be empty! It's best to go through the Gedcom editor, for example, double clicking the respective event. ;
- if the place is not found, you can change the name of the place on the top left field and restart the search, clicking Search.
Checking the jurisdictions order
Prior to any action on the PLAC fields, at the first use of a Gedcom file with Ancestris, you should be sure that the order of the jurisdictions match between Ancestris and your file, using these two buttons: Gedcom Format and Preferences.
- With Gedcom Format you can check the order of the jurisdictions of the places from your genealogy.
This button gives a name to each jurisdiction, comma separated. This is the PLAC record on the heading of your Gedcom file, that must be followed by every PLAC tag: all places in the Gedcom file must be entered in this format, in order to make your file compliant with the standard.
--> The function "Establish the hierarchy of the jurisdictions" does the same thing: modify or create an entity, if it doesn't exist.
--> If you created your Gedcom with Ancestris, the PLAC line of the heading will be set to:
- Hamlet, City, , Zip_Code, County, State, Country
--> If this field is empty it may be the heading is not yet created, possibly because you just imported a file from other software that doesn't respect the standard.
Don't hesitate to familiarize yourself with this matter, reading this paragraph or checking [[Preferences#Data|order of the jurisdictions, to avoid having two different sorting orders coexisting in your file, which will make you have to correct everything line by line.
- Then, go to Preferences and check if the order is the same as in Gedcom Format.
N.B. function Preferences/Data isn't 100% working. It's scheduled a complete review of this section of Ancestris.
But don't hesitate to read these lines, they can save you a lot of manual data entering.
The button Preferences opens the window Data, like in the main menu.
This allows Ancestris to know the significance of each jurisdiction of a place. You should check the jurisdictions, their sequence, and if they are or are not required.
Attention: if the jurisdictions list in your genealogy is different from the one in the Preferences, the Places Editor will place them incorrectly.
For example, if we open a Gedcom file heading (button Gedcom Format):
- Hamlet, City, , Zip_Code, County, State, Country
and the Preferences are:
- Hamlet, City, , County, Country,
the Places Editor will show the Zip_Code in the County box, since this is the third jurisdiction in the example.
- the best thing to do in this case is temporarily change the places preferences to align with the Gedcom.
- if you prefer the opposite way, align the Gedcom to your Preferences, you will have to go through every place with Ancestris's tools.
N.B. always remember that Gedcom standard requires the jurisdictions sorted in a growing order.
On the jurisdictions page you will find more explanations about this matter.
Places Editor Options
- Search: checks if the keyword matches places in the world. By default, the search is made for the name of the city and displayed at the List of sites found.
- List of sites found: shows the set of matches found. At top, is Ancestris default choice, shown also in the geographical view.
- Details: gives information about each of the jurisdictions of the selected place in the left column. Go through them to see their respective informations.
- Name: main jurisdiction for which Ancestris classifies the places: the city name.
- Choose this place: copies the information from Details to Description to keep.
- Description to keep: grayed, shows the details of the place matching the new coordinates chosen with Choose this place and assigned to the PLAC field of the Gedcom file. Validation of these new coordinates is made by clicking OK.
- Coordinates only: check this box if you prefer saving just the geographical coordinates and keep the same format of the place.
N.B. sometimes, the function Coordinates only, top right corner, seems to create a problem, not allowing to custom the PLAC field content. Clicking OK will clear the PLAC field! If that is the case, check the jurisdictions list, Preferences -> Data, it could be empty! It's best to go through the Gedcom editor, for example, double clicking the respective event.
- Latitude and longitude: the geographical coordinates of a place in the parameters file, locally, in your PC. While opening, the window contains the coordinates shown at the list of places. They can change values after 'Coose this place'. Checkif they are correct before validating (OK).
- Gedcom Format: opens the 'PLAC' field in the heading of the Gedcom file, it's the 'PLAC' record in the heading of the file that all PLAC tags should follow.
- Preferences: opens the 'Data' tab as from the main menu. This allows Ancestris to know the significance of each jurisdiction of the place.
- Paste: not active yet.
- OK: records the new coordinates and description.
Map used: OpenStreetmap.
- Display the magnifying bar: zooming bar to the low left corner of the map. Use + or - , the slider in the bar or the mouse wheel.
- Display mini-map: this starts with the national scale and shows a wider space. Pan around holding the mouse button, although this mini-map has no influence over the geographical view.
- + - set zoom to show all markers: use this button to set a scale where you can see simultaneously all markers in your map.
- Display markers: markers locate the PLAC events on your genealogy, regitered in the list of places.
- Set markers size.
- Set markers color: opens a palette with color selection options.
- Use markers to display information: instead of a symbol, you will see the place name.
Filters can be used together: one place restriction with one ore more individual restrictions and for certain events, for example.
- Place : show markers only for the selected place, no matter what the jurisdiction level is. Validate to show the selection.
NB: we recommend to adjust the zoom after validating; don't forget to clean the text area and validate after use.
- De-cujus: sets another de-cujus, temporarily. Opens a window where you can see the individuals of your genealogy, alphabetically sorted by surname.
- Ancestors: shows the ancestors of the de-cujus.
- Cousins:shows the cousins of the de-cujus.
- Others: shows other relations of thede-cujus, meaning neither ancestors nor cousins.
If none of these boxes is checked, the display of markers will have no limitations to any of these criteria or there possible combinations.
- Individuals Editor: displays only the events related to the individual selected in the editor (Ancestris and Gedcom)
- Search individuals: displays only the events related to the individuals listed in the search window.
- Men & Women: displays only men or only women.
- Years between ... and ... :
- a year in the first field will display only the events after that year.
- a year in the first field will display only the events before that year.
- both fields filled limit the display to events between those dates.
- Births, Weddings, Deaths, Others: displays or not the events whose boxes are checked.
Update: updates the coordinates with a local or Internet search. Allows to activate the list of places, if it is empty.
List of places: opens the list of places, their geographical coordinates and the associated events and, eventually, updating them.
Help: displays help about using the geographical view.
Pan around moving the mouse with the button pressed and dragging the map.
In the list of places, if you double click a place, the map is centered in that place.
Right click on the map pops up a context menu:
- Copy one of these locations in the clipboard: opens a list of places around the selection.
N.B : places may not have as many jurisdictions as you have in your file.
- Copy these coordinates [those under the right click of the mouse] in the clipboard.
Callouts for markers
The marker is the crosshair that locates the associated event to a place on the map, you can change it's size and color at options.
While hovering over a marker, a callout appears with the place's details.
This callout shows the information about the place, with some statistical details:
- name of the place (as shown in the list of places, thus, in your tree file);
- population, coordinates (if found during the Internet search;
- name of the individuals related to this place;
- the most frequent surname;
- number of events (detailed by births, marriages, deaths and others);
- period (in years) covered by these events.
- If this city has more villages, the callout will have a vertical slider. Use it to see each one of them.
- A double click on the callout over a place will take you to the list of places, with that place highlighted.
How does Ancestris find his geographical coordinates?
When you start any of the environments of the Geo module, Ancestris will fetch the set of geographical coordinates for the places in your genealogy. These are kept in a parameter file in your PC, not in the Gedcom file. This way, they can be available even if don't have an Internet connection. The WebBook also uses them to generate his map.
If, for a given place, the coordinates are in the file in your PC, Ancestris will settle with them. If not, Ancestris will search the Internet, on a public site, designed for that purpose. Ancestris will choose the place where your jurisdictions information most resembles the ones in the site. Most times, it will be the wisest choice. If it's not, you can correct it.
- 'Red place' : places where the coordinates are not found are clearly highlighted, so that they can be corrected later. In the list of places, they are in red. In the geographical view, they are displayed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux's latitude and Santander longitude.
- Empty PLAC: empty PLAC fields are placed at the top of the list of places and there markers are in Canada, coordinates : N55.8 W104.4 .
- Automatic update: this search is renewedafter each validation of a change in a PLAC field in any of the editors.
- The progress of the update is shown with a progress bar in Ancestris's status bar.
- Warning window: Internet search error. Using places information stored locally.
Problem with the server. Places are searched in an Internet server. It wasn't available at the time the request was sent. It may be inaccessible, overloaded or you can have a connection problem. 
- Where to find the coordinates file: the fact of adding places to your genealogy will create a file, called "NameOfMyGedcom.geo.properties", that looks like this: 
- '#Sun Jan 22 21:28:41 CET 2006'
- ↑ Discussion: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg01468.html
- ↑ Discussion: http://email@example.com/msg01351.html
- ↑ This option isn't tested in this version of the module.
- ↑ Awaiting for Frédéric LAPEYRE:
- ↑ this option is not yet tested with this version of the module. Discussed : http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg01477.html
- This page was last modified on 27 April 2017, at 19:30.
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