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BeAScout Uses US Zip Code for Map

@RickHillenbrand – Many thanks for your comprehensive reply, it was really helpful and I appreciate your time. For most of us in the overseas councils the mapping function isn’t the issue, it’s the ability for our units to be searchable on beascout which is the main issue. (e.g. when a military/government family is moving to Europe on assignment they will know their new zip code in advance and want to go to beascout to search for relevant scouting units much like they do in the states. So our issue is visibility (recruitment/streamlining online applications) – not necessarily being geo-locatable, our PIN description/websites can facilitate that)**

I will of course work with the council/district and get our LAT/LONGs updated as we want to be able to benefit from the upcoming functionality in My.Scouting/Beascout. Again thank you for that recommendation, I agree these are positive steps in the right direction!

I looked at the spreadsheet you provided looking for commonalities in the two units which I CAN find using APO/DPO zips. (Pack 0457/0802) but found none. But since there were other Charlemagne units in there with their zips I did a look-up on them and found that, several other overseas units CAN BE FOUND with APO/DPO zips. Examples below:

Pack 0100 – Brunnsum, BE [08540]. This may work because they share the same zip as a place in NJ? This unit erroneously shows up under the Washington Crossing Council 777. Scouting units near you | Boy Scouts of America

Pack 0457/0802 – Brussels, BE [09714]. As discussed earlier, they show up but other units sharing this zip code do not (e.g. Ship 0802, Troops 0457/0802)These units show up under TAC. Scouting units near you | Boy Scouts of America

Scouting units near you | Boy Scouts of America

Troop 0112 – Paris, FR [92200] So PACK 0112 has lat/longs but doesn’t show up, TROOP 0112 does not have lat/longs and shows on beascout. With research I’ve found their zip is a purely foreign zip code (France) So any similarities to US zips does not explain its appearance in Beasout. This unit shows under San-Deigo Imperial Council 049. Scouting units near you | Boy Scouts of America

None of the above units showing in beascout have their LAT/LONGs listed. So this is an interesting software issue. There is some other data point or functionality which allows some “non-US” zips to be searchable in Beascout and others not. Almost all the units above show their pins/applications are active and are either in unit or council view. Their address entries vary wildly so that’s not a factor either. The fact that two of the TAC units show up under different councils is a mystery as well.

My guess is that there is some selection, some “button to be pushed” on the system such as the ScoutNET “Do not post” due to re-chartering etc that’s been inconsistently applied. Perhaps this is an easy fix or a training issue? When a unit or district attempts to enter an APO/DPO zip on the beascout website we get a yellow exclamation point indicating the site doesn’t like the entry. Perhaps the council or national has the ability to “force” enter a DPO/APO zip and thus make the unit searchable?

I’m not sure we NEED to fix the mapping problem for the overseas councils, simply the “visibility” or “searchability.” I would imagine if asked we would prioritize being searchable over mapping. This simple fix alone would have dramatic effects for these very large, high turnover councils.

Again my many thanks for your time looking into this for those of us out here living the scouting dream in Europe!

YIS

Lee

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I echo Lee’s concerns from the Far East Council. We regularly find families which have been here for 2 years already and join our Pack in the final year and PCS back to the USA. Most families up to 90% of our Pack are scouting for the very first time. The families get a year or two in with the Pack then PCS back to the USA. Last year we had over 85% of our Pack PCS move back to the USA, and one family transferred to Transatlantic council. Due to COVID we could not physically recruit like in previous years and were in a real crisis if we could recharter after 35 consecutive years. Yes, the small font print on the bottom of BeAScout is better than before, but not much. As Lee says often a sponsor of a new family will gain an address APO/FPO even before the family leaves the USA so they can start forwarding their mail prior to the international move. It is a herculean effort to recruit and maintain units overseas, and a little help from the National would be awesome. Our scouts when they return back to the USA offer a global perspective to the units they enter.

My scouting has all my capabilities marked out, so I would assume I would need to get with Council to update our zipcode. Our Pack has an actual PCS address so parents can send us mail and email, and we of course have an open Facebook site. Families are busy countering Pinky and the Brain of those who want to take over the world, the best I can do is offer a great scouting program for their children.

YIS

Scott

@RogerDale - Thanks for your additional research. I have passed along your observations to the BSA professionals working this issue. Please anticipate a follow up communication from William.

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Many thanks @RickHillenbrand , Ill be standing by!
EDIT: Received outreach from IT department at National, many thanks to all. Ill update here any progress made for TAC and FEC.
EDIT2: @ScottMarbut Ive had success with one of our zips, (we are now visible under APO 09708-no mapping, but thats not an issue of course for us) with help from the IT professionals at National. Still hopeful as they work thru it, Ive provided them all APO/DPO/FPOs for both TAC and FEC so when they fix it, it will work for us all. fingers crossed!

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Thank You! I have also informed FEC AT and the Assistant District Commissioner of this progress. FEC is now experimenting with online registration, so the zip code issue is an important piece to solve. The TIP I got with online registration is to use a tablet with WIFI and hand it to the millennial parent and they can register in a few minutes. BSA is also doing better with phone numbers as I have found my Gen X and Baby Boomer generation uses overseas numbers, but military families are electing to keep their state-side numbers for their 3-year tour. Progress is good! Thank you for attending to this issue.

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