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The Record Pool

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herpetologic2 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 1:43pm
Hi everyone

I wanted to update people on what is happening via the online database which is called the Record Pool. Currently the different input forms are on the following url www.arguk.org/recording 

I would like to encourage people to have a go at entering data on the sighting card or survey sheet. The Record Pool was devised in around 2008/2009 and really took off in 2010. Since then I have been working on this project with a number of other herpers to build on the database to hopefully collate ad hoc records, consultancy records and also to help provide online recording for the local ARGs.

The inspiration for this came from Surrey and Kent ARGs with their systems for collating data it was thought that providing a similar system for other ARG's would be really a good thing to increase online reporting through a central database. The idea is to send data from the various sources to local ARG's and onto local recording centres. 

If you would like to be part of the Record Pool - help test it, provide support etc then do email info@arguk.org 

If people would like to have a look at the test site for the mobile version of the Record Pool then you can also email for a link to have a look at this. Testing it on different mobile phones, tablets etc would be a great help.

The project is becoming a collaboration of different herpers across the UK to help shape this system. 

I would like to work with RAUK on this venture as well and any ideas on how RAUK could be integrated into the Record Pool or vice versa would be much appreciated

 


Edited by herpetologic2 - 10 Sep 2012 at 7:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 5:41pm

Hi Jon,

do you mind letting us know who will have access to the results of the submissions / locations given?

Cheers

Rob

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herpetologic2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 5:48pm
Local ARGs and Local Record Centres - 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 6:42pm
Not County Recorders Jon?


It seemed when I set up the RAUK recording form the local ARGs had very little interest in receiving the records, only a couple took up the offer...



Edited by GemmaJF - 10 Sep 2012 at 6:50pm
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herpetologic2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 6:53pm
Hi Gemma,

Of course we can send you data - though the recent download has been uploaded to the Essex Field Club database. Do you have the log in to get those records from EFC? Essex is a very much a special case as it is rather messy when it comes to the recording side of things.

The intention is to keep the data flow simple so if we have a local group we can send the data to them or they can have a log in and administer their own recording database for their area - if they need to have such a system. From that we would like to have the records shared to the LRC's (or County recorder in your case). 

I can send through the guest log in to you if you want to have a look at the admin system. 

We have been contacted by a number of LRC's who want to interact with the Record Pool - GIGL, Bristol and Devon - each has a local group so we would cater for what the local groups want to do. 

We may also be sharing data with LRC's so that we can then get local groups involved with producing online atlases for their county or event heir entire region. Surrey ARG have been making lots of progress on this sort of thing and I am keen to work with Steve Langham on developing these atlases. 

All the data when publicly shared would be displayed at a low resolution of say 2km or 1km to get the distribution of records but not the fine detail. We would want to direct consultants after data searches to the relevant local recorder or centre - the Record Pool is not a data search facility. I am keen to make sure we can collate data which may not get to local groups/local county recorders and/or LRC's.

We have lots of data coming from Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, Pond Conservation, iSpot and hopefully other people who collect a lot of data - BTO and others.

It has also been suggested that the Record Pool could be attractive to consultants who need to submit data on great crested newts to local record centres.

Regards

J


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 7:03pm
Ah yeah that does seem to be a problem. We have potentially 20 ARG's which will have their own recording page on their websites. Also we have the mobile version of the Record Pool which I cannot wait to use in the field - fingers crossed it works

At least you can get to a pub after the survey to up load the data via wifi.

Currently Essex has the most submissions into the Record Pool which is great.

J

PS I have sent the latest export to your email Gemma - lets me know what you think of the format of the records.

PPS we also have the wonder which is twitter/facebook which is helping with publicising the Record Pool plus the Herptile ID app which also feeds into the data base when people report sightings from their iphone or ipad.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 8:13pm
Don't get me wrong Jon, I'm all for it, I was wondering how we could get Essex up to speed as Steve has in Surrey.

Agreed it is a mess in Essex currently. Plenty I am not at all happy about at the moment. 

Hopefully EARG will have a meeting soon as much needs to be discussed, not only regarding records in the county but also how to effectively use them, which is just as important as collecting them in the first place.

Thanks for the email, not arrived this end yet but for sure I will take a look and upload some of my own records from this year to the pool.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2012 at 11:57am
Have a look at the Sighting Card on your mobile device 


Please do have a go at entering some data/sightings etc 

The future of recording is online (when there is signal lol)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 3:18pm

Hi Jon

With reference to your initial question, I must admit I am a little puzzled. You have emailed me on at least two separate occasions regarding this and I have replied in full. And, of course, I have set the facts out to you in person on at least one occasion and in depth with David Orchard when he was ARG chair.

Since it would seem that you haven't received this reply and have forgotten the conversations, I will now repeat everything (I hope!)

As you will doubtless remember, I was involved in the specifications and design of the record pool from its very onset when David Orchard first approached me regarding stronger links between RAUK and ARG-UK - something which I remain strongly in favour of.

Amongst the specifications (which Jen is well aware of) were included the requirement that the record pool interface could be displayed within http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/ within an iframe - in other words that while the data would still go into the record pool it could be done via RAUK.

Similarly, I, for RAUK would have access to such records together with the ability to verify where possible and, since many records include questions from members of the public, to ensure that I could reply to these questions timeously rather than relying on someone further down the foodchain. After all - it is the reputation of this website which would stand or fall by such replies.

Now, for all I know, the design may well already meet all these requirements but since I have received nothing from Jen, or, indeed anyone else within ARG to confirm this and provide the necessary techincal information to achieve this I really have no idea.

Quite honestly, this took so long to develop (far, far beyond the originally proposed timescales) that I finally gave up and started to redesign our own reporting form. This has not progressed far due to my own time constraints. At this stage, I can continue this and, if the original record pool requirements/specifications have not been met I can still redesign the underlying database so that it has direct correlation with the Record Pool database, thus allowing upload either via SQL (if I am provided with database log-in details and a log-in page) or by sending an SQL Insert query for someone else to utilise or eve, simply, an Excel spreadsheet and someother poor sucker can convert it to an SQL Insert statement. Obviously to achieve this I will need details of the MySQL table and field structure from, presumably, Jen. In any event, this would be useful for me to convert historical records from RAUK (roughly 1500 since I took over) which will be a very time-consuming job but which, nevertheless, I would be prepared to do over the coming months.

So, there are two options, one in place since day 1, for allowing data submitted via RAUK to enter the Record Pool which, I think we are all agreed would be GOOD THING!

Lastly, during exactly the same period, there have been discussions regarding the precise corollary of this regarding usage of RAUK. At its simplest, the active encouragement by ARG for members of local ARGS to join the RAUK forum, to become more aware of local issues affecting their area, to avail themselves of a pool of expertise frequently far in excess of what they themsleves might have but equally to give others the benefit of their expertise and, of course, to take advantage of the specific ARG forum section to advertise their meetings and activities. There is even the possibility of  a totally separate Forum within RAUK for ARG members (although I would prefer this to be used ONLY for essentially private matters such as site locations and so on - otherwise it will fail totally to engage members of the wider public with an interest in herps.)

Presently the nearest thing is the ARGs on Facebook. This quite honestly, is not very effective at anything other than drawing spasmodic attention by those ARG members/"friends" and lots of adverts for foreign trips to see herps and to buy corn-snakes etc. - assuming, of course, that all ARG members are Facebook inhabitants - not very likely in my view.

So, in summary, RAUK has actually been working for 2 years towards achieveing this. With the greatest respect I feel that I should be asking the question rather than you. Although in fact, the answers to your question have been in place since 2010 - so mine would be "why has ARG taken so long to do so little about it?"

Regards (but quite honestly a little miffed - albeit still in the hope that we can work together as proposed)

Chris

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 4:45pm
Hi Chris,

Just one question,

What is Facebook? Wink

I tried at the very beginning to get ARG involvement with RAUK, I've yet to figure out why it is so difficult. Though I guess not everyone is a forum user. I was met originally with some hostility when I launched the forum from the ARGs though. They seemed to think I was not 'allowed' to set-up the forum without their permission. We do have some more clued up ARG members posting, so no offence to them meant at all. It's not an individual thing, it is more an organisational thing, I thought Jon might have bridged that gap more.

Best of luck with it all, seems my idea of an online recording form has grown a lot! Very few of the ARGs took up the offer to receive records or utilise the source code from it though I seem to remember in the past.

I once heard a story. There was a guy with a bag of sweats. He said to all around if you give me all of your sweets too we will have lots and lots of sweets to share. So the others shared their sweets with the guy. Sadly the guy found he could make £££ for selling sweets. So he put all the sweets up on ebay.

Later he went to the other guys and said do you have any more sweets? The guys all said no, sorry we don't. (They did, in fact they had lots and lots of them). But by this time they were tired of sharing their sweets so the one guy could make £££ whilst they struggled to put fuel in their cars to go to the sweet shop.

Herp Records = power base = money

Though in fact as a consultant I think these days they are practically worthless, unless I recorded them myself the day before. Smile They simply cannot replace surveys, though many consultants will use negative data as an excuse not to survey an area. All it means is nobody surveyed it before or nobody submitted the records. They become useful to local ARGs for monitoring purposes and also for bashing consultants, that is about it really. Which is valid of course in itself.

I think a review of the whole way records are used and distributed is required. I'm not sure if Jon is actually attempting this with the record pool or not. I did not though ever receive the email he promised.
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