Location search: By proximity? Or in a specific location?

Kim Beck, Notice: A Flock of Signs installed at 100 Acres, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2013. www.idealcities.com Instagram © Kim Beck, 2022

One exciting new feature of ACMP’s online directories is our “dual location search”

It’s exciting to me – but maybe confusing to some of you as well! Like the art installation by Kim Beck, pictured above, a version of which I experienced at Art Omi in Ghent, New York when I was a Music Fellow there. Where to start and which way to go?

(Fun fact: I got lost so badly in “The Fields” sculpture park at Art Omi that I had to call their Welcome Center and get rescued by a man in a golf cart.)

Anyway, I digress…

Dual location search gives you the best of both worlds – the convenience of proximity search (which was already a feature on our old website) and the ability to see who is exactly where – just like in the old printed directory.

It’s not nearly as complicated as Kim Beck’s installation! It’s just a question of noticing the toggle to switch between “By proximity” and “In a specific location” and knowing which kind of search works best in which situations.

In all of our online directories, that toggle appears under the title on the left side: it says “Search” and there are 2 options with little circles next to them, which you can click to select. The default setting is what most people will use most of the time – “By proximity.” When “By proximity” is selected, the box to the right of where you type in a place name says “Within” and allows you to set the distance. The default setting is 50 miles (in all directions) from the location you enter. You can click the arrow for a dropdown menu allowing you to search as close as 5 miles away or as far away as 500.

When to use Specific Location Search

In designing this new site, David Choy and I were extremely aware that it was impossible to search for players by country in the old website. That was not a problem unique to ACMP. Our directory, like about 99% of similar online directories, was using a PROXIMITY or “geolocation” search – searching for options that were within a certain distance from the location entered by the user. In the case of entire countries, or even states in a large country like the US – it searches within a specified distance from the middle of that area.

A good example from the ACMP Directory of Chamber Musicians is Germany. In the screen shot below, I was searching for ACMP members in Germany with the default location search of “by proximity” selected.

Only two players! In all of Germany?

Fear not! This only means that we have only 2 ACMP members within 50 miles of the exact middle of Germany.

(Chamber players from the middle of Germany, please Join ACMP. Membership is free.)

Trying again – I selected “In a specific location.”

There are actually 48 players in Germany. See the screen shot, below:

Let’s get more detailed in our search for players in Germany

When you use our “In a specific location” search tool, you always have to choose the country first, in the box on the far left. (That box says “Country” until you type in something and the dropdown list of countries where ACMP has members appears.) The box to the right of “Country” is labeled “State/province or city.” You can start typing in that box, and you will see all the options where ACMP currently has members in your chosen country. In this way, it really does mimic the paper directory, where ACMP members could leaf through pages of listings organized by country, state/province and city.

In the online directory, the dropdown “State/province or city” menu has states or provinces (Bundesland, in Germany) listed alphabetically in boldface type, with the cities within those areas listed alphabetically below each one, as in this screen shot:

I am going to Berlin at the end of the month. So, I selected “Berlin, All” Let me see who is there…

You get the idea! Try it yourself with other countries, or with states or provinces within Canada or the United States.

When to search by proximity

Unless you are planning a trip and want to know exactly who is in a whole country or a whole state or province, you are most likely looking for players, coaches and chamber music organizations near you.

Proximity search is especially important if you live in a small town or rural area and if you live in a large metropolitan area. It seems like a contradiction in terms that it would be the best way to search in both of those radically different contexts, but let me explain why:

If you live in a small town or rural area, there may not be any other ACMP members in your exact location. The “In a specific location” search will fail you in most cases. You are highly likely to find players in neighboring communities, however.

I just tried looking for players in Ghent, New York, where I saw Kim Beck’s whimsical art installation. The “In a specific location” search yielded one player living in Ghent itself. When I searched “By proximity” there were 58 players within 50 miles in all directions. 19 within 25 miles. 2 within 10.

Likewise, if you are looking for players in a large metropolitan area like New York City, where ACMP is based:

Searching in a specific location yields 154 players

Searching by proximity – there are 207 players within 10 miles

The big issue with big cities like New York is that there may be large numbers of players in what we call the outer boroughs – Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. “New York, NY” in a specific location search will only list players in Manhattan. And then there are players very nearby in New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island.

It’s the same problem in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, DC – the list goes on.

We have fewer members internationally, but you will definitely want to use proximity search for London, in the UK, for example.

I hope this article helps you find who and what you need and that you meet many new players in your area and all around the world!

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