BeAScout Uses US Zip Code for Map

Not a scoutbook issue, but also an issue, is that Be a Scout uses US zip codes for recruiting purposes to give interested families a way to find the local Pack. We do have US zipcodes, but the programmers used google maps which does not support Army Post Office of Field Post Office zip codes. (APO/FPO State would be AP (Area Pacific)) Interestingly up dating Pack information with Be A Scout is a JTE 2019 requirement. I have been working with Be A Scout website, but also talked with our District Scout Executive and Far East Executive and they told me this have been an issue for years because Google Maps does not support these zipcodes. I find this mindboggling that after all these years we can not figure out a fix to this issue. We have military families moving to Okinawa from Virginia and California actually all over and it would be nice for them in their research to find our Pack. I get this from Parent all the time, “Oh you have scouting out here”, but it has already been one year into their three year tour. I would like to have parents to have the information prior to moving to Japan, so we can accommodate the move and get the scouts into our Pack.,


Member Care Request

The request I submitted to BSA was marked as in progress (21/Jun/19 7:44 AM) and has been escalated by BSA.

HD-156711 - July 1, 2019 Escalation: Be A Scout and Online Registration for overseas units- Council 803.

I have added your comments (above) to that request.

Map support needed for all units overseas

The zip codes assigned to military and diplomatic sites overseas do not work for non-US government sites (e.g. American schools, companies, etc.) which are overseas.

Possible work-around?

I believe Be-A-Scout supports entering a geographic location for a unit meeting place. It is not clear if this overrides street address lookup for map pin placement.
I would like to see a field(s) added to Be A Scout which could include the area and base maps (or links to them).
The online registration system problem is a separate issue.

2019-07-10 Comment added to HD-156711

For units and councils (and district) not in the US,

a. Be A Scout and the Local Council Locator need to support searching by location name, city and country.

b, Be able to define a Google Maps URL for their location. - A predefined map pin or a custom pin defined by geographical location (long. and lat.). The latter is also needed for units in the USA where the meeting location does not have a street address and/or is miles from the zip code post office location.

c. Along with website, Facebook, etc. they need to be able to add a “Map” URL for a local map PDF or web page. (Google Maps and other internet maps do not usually show building names/numbers on school campuses and military bases.)

BSA roadblock

HD-156711 - BSA is focused on “APO/FPO/DPO zip codes not supported by Google Maps”.

I am trying to refocus the issue and point out that unit meeting places in the US and overseas can be outside of cities and US zip code areas (both USPS Zip and US Census Bureau ZCTA5 zip code tabulation areas).

The solution will require changing the Be A Scout database and display pages. This will take time and money.

Post updated: 2019-07-26



You are an oracle of wisdom, and I appreciate your prompt and thorough research. If Be a Scout could save the zipcode and the user could add a thumbtack in google maps (thus linking the two together), with the data saved this would be a solution. Just like any science experiment a write-up for the fix and published widely especially for overseas units.

This issue is on my long term radar to fix, maybe it is my OCD, but I am not giving up on this one.

Once Again Thank You so Much!

Very Respectfully,

Be A Scout Unit Meeting Place issues

Snap Shots Needed

I am not a unit key-3 leader.

  • Can someone please post snapshots of what the Be A Scout preview looks like when Longitude and Latitude is entered for a meeting place in the continental U.S.? Does Be A Scout display page show the map pin at the geographical (long./lat.) location or at the street address/zip code location?
  • If international addresses are now supported in Be A Scout, please post snapshots of the unit meeting place form entry block and preview blocks.

Guide shows US City, State and USPS ZIP code required

Reference: Be A Scout Unit Pin Management, p. 4


  • Not all unit meeting places have street addresses
  • Not all unit meeting places are in a incorporated area (city, town, etc)
  • Not all unit meeting places are in a STATE.
  • Not all unit meeting places have a USPS zip code

Market Research in the U.S.

Market Research should be discussed in a separate discussion topic. However units, districts and councils need to aware the USPS zip code areas and census ZCTA5 numbers may not be the same. Area boundaries for both can change independently over time. Not all USPS zip code numbers
have a corresponding census tract (e.g. those used for PO Boxes.)

This post updated: 2019-07-26, updated 2019-07-28


The BSA does not monitor this forum. Suggestions for improvements to need to be sent to

I thought the my.Scouting Tools category was added to permit discussion of BSA tools accessed via and related databases.

I am not trying to submit a Be A Scout related suggestion here. I may not yet have enough detail to get BSA to understand the scope of the problem and to submit a suggested plan to fix the issues. I cannot determine the state of a tool if I do not have access to it. So I need help from other Scouters.

P.S. I use directly to get pass the “needs assistance” support function at BSA Member Care when reporting bugs and making suggestions for non-Scoutbook tools. Even then I or BSA can be misunderstood or get off track. I already have a request filed in JIRA, but I suspect I an going have to submit a reworded one.

P,P.S, For readers that do not know, email to or is entered into the new JIRA system by BSA Member Care. JIRA is used to track and reply to the request.

It is but I thought you were making a suggestion for a change.

Be A Scout - Unit Meeting Place Map Pin Management - Geography

Scoutbook user testing

I would have liked to had a unit in the U.S. confirm the current behavior of adding longitude and latitude to the Unit Meeting Pin Management page, since I do not access to do that. Submitting changes to a previous system behavior may not be effective.

Here is what I have submitted as part one. (Part two - planning steps needed to implement is more complicated.)

Be A Scout Geography - Trouble Report Request

HD-173043 Description

Reference: Be A Scout Unit Pin Management, p. 4

  1. What map coordinate system and formats (are allowed) when entering longitude and latitude? The BSA guide does not appear to say. I am thinking perhaps: World Geodetic System (WGS), WGS 84 (also known as WGS 1984, EPSG:4326) digital format, revised in 2004 or later.

  2. Does entering the geographic location (longitude and latitude) override the required required street address form entry and street address lookup to place the map pin?

  3. The current unit meeting map pin management does not appear to meet the needs of all units.

  • Not all unit meeting places have street addresses
  • Not all unit meeting places are in a incorporated area (city, town, etc)
  • Not all unit meeting places are in a STATE.
  • Not all unit meeting places have a USPS zip code
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Help Center - Boy Scouts of America National Service Center,
HD-173043 status (2019-08-15):

8/12/2019 Escalation: Be A Scout - Unit meeting place map pin geography. (Refer to Marketing for review.) - WAITING FOR SUPPORT

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This issue may not be fixable due to Google Map restrictions per BSA.

I would like to see some alternatives added like being able to upload a local map to show where meeting place is, for example.

I do not think BSA has really looked at possible improvements but is only looking at limitations of the current system. There may be a significant cost of shifting to a different world-wide product.

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I am Key 3 for my Pack. We are overseas in TAC. I can search for many PAcks/Troops using the APO zip 09714 (which is TACs zip) BUT I cant get our Pack with APO Zip 09705 to show. (It will update the pin but when i search Beascout 24 hours later we never show up.) Ive tried various different variances of addresses but with no result. Is there some functionality the council has we dont to make this happen? is there a pdf or instructions to help them be able to do so for us?

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We are out here in FEC and have the same issues. BSA still has not fixed this issue yet. Ironically being registered on the Be Scout Website is worth Bronze #2 on the 2021 JTE worksheet yet none of overseas councils can update.

Are you able to see your pin using ANY zip? like your councils pin? we have a few which do show up and im trying to figure out they did it.

I am down at Unit level, yet I would imagine all the APO/FPO zip codes would be the same. US Embassies also have USPS so units with international schools probably will have issues as well. Our Pacific Zipcodes are from San Fransisco I believe, as the European Zips are from New York. If we could use a Lat/Long to position the pin that would be a solution then reference the zip to the pin, instead of the other way around. Unfortunately, we are caught in a Catch 22 as National is cutting budgets and support staff, and passing the buck to the council which runs mostly an all-volunteer staff, which overseas has a massive turnover.

FPO and APO zip codes are used by military sponsors.
DPO zip codes are used by US diplomatic sponsors.
Some overseas sponsors use non-USPS addresses and do not have a USPS zip code.

In some areas of the world disclosing unit geographic locations of military units increases the risk for military families and sponsoring charter organizations. You do not want to make it easy for other countries to find your mobile military units.

True, but this is up to the chartered organization, and the unit decides not BSA. Atlantic and FEC have never had a pin drop on Be A Scout, and I have been trying to get one for the last three years. The USA has had a base at this location for 75 years and you can see everything using Google Earth. The issue is we had an 85.5% turn over of our unit this year and because of COVID-19, we could not meet new families. It would be helpful for families to know we exist before moving to Okinawa. Finally this year having a pin on Be A Scout is a JTE requirement.

BIll and Scott thanks for the replies. I concur with Scott - APOs should not be a problem, in fact as I stated above we have two units here in Belgium whose APO zips work (09714 - they come up on BEaScout - my initial post was an attempt to find out “how they did it.”) I have no doubt with the last 19 years we’ve had the military send this message to BSA about security and operational security, in fact in my job in the Army i’ve given this brief many times. But the fact is these APOs resolve back to mail facilities in the states (09705 - New York etc, NOT our physical location) The true operations security or force protection issue is to ensure the unit/district/council doesn’t put additional meeting place notes in their pin which would ID physical locations. (e.g. we meet on Fort X, near the back gate in building 345, on Mondays and Tuesday etc). Overseas units face real recruiting challenges and not being able to have new movers be able to see that a Pack/Troop/Crew exists really hurts us. NOt to mention the JTE issue Scott mentioned.
Here is my real question. This APO zip CAN work - two units in Belgium have this working. (check 09714) Who do i reach out to at national to have them query the website and their pin to see how its working?
EDIT1: THank you Doug, Ill wait for a second to pester Rick.
EDIT2: JIRA stated this: “I have checked Pack/Troop 0325 and both units have a charter on Hold Do Not Post. This suspends the unit in Be A Scout until the charter is posted. Once the charter is posted the overnight sync will reactivate the Unit Pin in Be A Scout website.”
Im not sure this is the issue as we had this problem before chratering but ill wait as this may prove an avenue to research and solve the issue. Wasn’t tracking a HOld ability. will update here.

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Hey Roger, this is a tag to @RickHillenbrand, National Commissioner Service Team Technology Chair. He might be able to assist with your search.

@RickHillenbrand : I am Key 3 for a TAC Pack. I can search for many Packs/Troops using the APO zip 09714 (which is TACs zip) BUT I cant get our Pack with APO Zip 09705 to show. (It will update the pin but when I search Beascout 24 hours later we never show up.) I’ve tried various different variances of addresses but with no result. In the chain here you can see I’ve gone to National and council/district but cannot seem to solve this issue. Not having a beascout pin searchable is a major issue for use as we experience great than 40/50% turnover in a move window. Id love to have some national focus on an issue effecting recruitment for at least two large councils. Can you assist? in advance thank you for your service and the program.

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@RogerDale - National is working with TAC and Far East Council to address mapping of non-US units in BeAScout.

Presently, if you go to BeAScout and you need to look for a unit outside of the US you need to click on the hyperlink for units outside the US. image

If you do that you get the following image: image and when you click on the blue section for TAC you get image which quickly redirects you to the TAC website: image

Presently, if you go to the BeAScout Unit Pin report under ROSTER in my.Scouting) for Charlemagne district (where your pack is located), you will get the attached.PinDataReport - TAC Charlemagne - 2021-04-03.xlsx (15.4 KB) If you look closely you will see that some units (e.g., Pack 112) already have their lat and long entered in BeAScout. For Pack 112, this lat and long accurately locates its address as 4 Bis Rue Déodat de Séverac, 75017 Paris, France. image

All this is a progress in the right direction.

I would suggest to get your unit (Pack 325) to show up correctly in BeAScout mapping when it supports non-US mapping as soon as this functionality is available that you work with your professionals to get your actual physical location of you pack set as its “Unit_BeAScout_Address” plus its lat and long set. (See the attached again for Pack 112.)