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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 2012 at 8:22pm
Thanks for the login Jon.

Interesting! Not had much time to really dig around but the first impression is a very useful tool.

From what I have seen a lot of records seems to be a single sighting, then there are obvious clumps which would appear to be either consultancy records (well I know one is 'cos it was one of yours!!) or organised ARG surveys. What I found was for these sort of entries there were lots of icons to look at, so I thought that it might be easy to miss a species such as one grass snake among 20 slow-worm icons. This I think would be improved with the pop up summary box. 

There could then be an option to 'expand' to the actual records if one really wanted a close look. (Except if it were one of my monitoring sites, because if you tried that your computer would explode lol).

The pop up summary seems like a good way to deal with multiple records from a site and also multiple species from a single sample point and of course ongoing monitoring. I need to really look at that 'summary' I put up and think what the info ought to be in it. It would be cool if it even had contact detail for anyone wanting to survey nearby etc. I wonder if these info boxes could also feed into Steve's system somehow?

How many of the Essex and Kent records are actually in their Jon? Clearly not all?

I think one area this could be very useful is planning authorities so they specify survey is required or an ARG member can point out the obvious need.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 2012 at 8:48pm
Hi Gemma 

Thanks for the feedback. I did not intend to receive records into the database from LRCs. As we have contacted local groups who are tied into their LRC we have found that they were keen to have a data sharing agreements through the ARG on the ground. There is looking lots of potential from the system and I am keen to work with people who have experience in this sort of thing.  

I have been discussing with the Essex Field Club and we will be uploading data from the county database to the record pool. We have already sent several hundred sightings to the field club via peter Harvey as we have been discussing BRIE and so we wanted to see whether the field club database was able to take records etc. One of the reasons why ewt wanted to vote the field club off the steering group was their database not being compatible with the field clubs data base which is made with mapmate. 

The LRC which maybe be exchanging data in the future include London, Devon, Surrey (via Steve and SARG) etc and possibly more as well.  I have sent out data to various recorders in args across the UK. 

It sounds like we can really work on this system. Steve is keen to work with the record pool and has a log in as well. I like the ideas you have come up with. I wondered whether you could enter a few records summarising some of your monitoring sites to try out the front end perhaps? 


Edited by herpetologic2 - 03 Oct 2012 at 9:01pm
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://arguk.org/recording
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 2012 at 9:47pm
Yep Jon, no worries I'll see if I can put some summaries together.

Clearly I am still working with Peter Harvey regarding the county database. Personally I hate mapmate lol, (it seems to have a self destructive tendency) but I am very keen on the EFC website approach, particularly the detailed reports sent out to consultants. The only down side to this is being left 'outside the loop' regarding what consultants are getting up to, which I need to talk to Peter about. 

I'm not quite sure what you are saying in the first paragraph? Are you saying not all available data will go in the record pool? So this is like a backup tool to ARGs? Or you are working on agreements to share data both ways? Or just trying to get the record pool off the ground to begin with and then fill in more gaps?

As a tool this system can only reach it's full potential if as much information as possible is available. I can't see any conflict with LRCs with funding streams etc if the record pool is entirely nonprofit and aimed for use by ARGs, country recorders etc?






Edited by GemmaJF - 03 Oct 2012 at 9:58pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 7:20am
That was the model initially that we were just going to collate data and forward it on etc. 

With the system we have it seems a waste not to get as much data as possible from as many sources as we can. 

We have data from RSPB, iSpot, Pond Conservation etc in excel to go into the database. 
Just the RSPB data is 5,000 slowworms records for one years make your nature count survey. 

There are possibly some datasets which may not be available to us at the moment but we will work towards getting those.  

The mapping system as you have suggested should be giving summary information and I wondered whether it should direct say consultants to the local recorder or LRC for datasearches. 

This way we can help recorders and lrcs with their revenue streams. The record pool is very much non profit and this will be reflected in our policies towards data exchange and sharing. 

We are looking at funding from Natural England, Defra and at the moment SNH alas well. 

If anyone has any further comments, suggestions please do let us know. 


Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://arguk.org/recording
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 2:21pm
Thanks for explaining Jon, yes I can see how at first the idea was to collate the data and forward it. Though once one uses the system its full potential is revealed and you want as many of the gaps on there filled as possible. I'm particularly interested in using the system for identifying gaps in Essex for future survey so the more information the better. Of course there is a counter-argument to the hysteria about information falling into the wrong hands - that is to populate the system with so much information individual sites don't become a target!

So as I understand it, if as the country recorder for Essex I currently submitted directly to the record pool, this information would easily be transferred back to EFC/EARG and BRIE?

I think that is where you will unlock the real power of this system, a simple single interface for adding data for people like consultants and county recorders which is then guaranteed to filter through the whole system. As in itself the record pool is a much better tool than say mapmate, I would be keen to just enter straight into the record pool and avoid mapmate updates etc. 

There is something about mapmate and the sync system I just don't find very 'transparent' and I don't like using applications that  make me feel like that. I think I would much prefer the record pool where I can instantly see for example that the records are where they ought to be etc.

Adding more, I can also see the system might appeal to ARG members to enter their own data and see it 'pop up' on the map. Which avoids lists of data being sent to the county recorder who then has to collate the data. What might be nice is something like a system that lets the county recorder know if data is added for the county, so for example a summary box can be produced for a joined up approach in the county.

Just brainstorming out ideas - one more thought would be displaying negative records on a different 'layer' so if a survey is conducted and no results found for a particular species it would show say the refuge sample points and a 'negative' sign next to the species icon. This could be just as useful as positive records at times. Particularly when trying to establish if a site is the last remnant of a population in a given area and therefore needs safeguarding.


Edited by GemmaJF - 04 Oct 2012 at 2:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 4:30pm
Jon, I took a look how to produce a simple summary for a given site.

The easy way seems to be to have a pop up with a link to a webpage. The web page then contains the information.

I have this working on my computer at home.

I have no idea though how to implement this on the record pool website. What one needs to be able to do is place a marker then edit the marker dialogue to contain a link to the appropriate web page. 

It's all a bit raw at the moment, but it does look cool when the webpage slides over the map with all the info! Being a web page one could do anything, involve site managers, put up pictures ask for help with surveys etc.

What would be nice would be to develop a simple template so anyone could do one of these summaries add pictures or whatever really. 

Developing this just a little further it could almost be like visiting the site!

What I would suggest is you or Chris place a random marker somewhere in Essex, place on it a pop up with a link to http://www.mgeco.co.uk/GJFMS_01.htm and you'll see what I mean. (but let me know where the marker is lol)

There is a very basic page for now, but obviously it could contain links to an amphibian record page, be graphically improved etc.


So to really get this going, we would need an icon for monitoring sites and some way to enter the position for the icon, name it and also add the web link using the record pool user interface. It would be very cool if the icon was quite large and could actually indicate the recorded species at the site??



Edited by GemmaJF - 04 Oct 2012 at 4:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 4:43pm
PS I would still be interested in whether or not GPS dumps into google earth could be directly loaded into the record pool? Perhaps Chris or Steve have some ideas on this?




Edited by GemmaJF - 04 Oct 2012 at 4:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 5:07pm

Hi Gemma

Hmmm - not a route I have followed. 

Anyway, I understand that Google Earth can dump KMZ files. These, in turn, are simply Zipped KML files as used by Google Maps. KML are based on XML standards and as a consequence it should be possible to extract the data.

Even then I doubt the data could be directly loaded into the record pool as this would require direct compatability in fields etc. But this, of course, is exactly the same problem as with any import. It would probably be easiest to rename the file to XML, open with Excel and arrange fields etc, save as CSV and then upload to MySQL. It is entirely possible that Steve has already addressed and resolved (i.e. found a better way of doing) this problem however - perhaps working with a direct interpretation of the KML file. 

Chris (apologies for techie talk but Gemma will understand it!)



Edited by Iowarth - 04 Oct 2012 at 5:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2012 at 6:24pm
Yep that sounds 'doable' Chris, I'm not into XML - but I don't see why that should get in the way.

I was thinking of some sort of code for input into the GPS so the user puts in data that is easier to interpret by the record pool once it has been dumped into google earth. But something for me to play about with and offer rather than ask you to develop.

I've always thought we should just have some hand held device that sidesteps all the data entry.

Well the inserted website has plenty of potential Chris, I though at first it was really clumsy, but then I thought, hang on each site could practically have it's own website - and that could be very useful for the record pool for information, contacts etc. It would be very good for example to see a site surveyed by Jon and see what he actually thought on the ground etc, rather than lots of dots on the map. Which though fun don't take you to the site in your mind.


Edited by GemmaJF - 04 Oct 2012 at 6:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2012 at 9:26am
GPSBabel (http://www.gpsbabel.org/) can grab KML (or GPX etc) directly from pretty much any GPS device. It should be trivial to generate MySQL insertion instructions from the KML or GPX using any scripting language. In my day job, we use Python for something similar- it reads a lot of XML and talks directly to SQL databases.

If there was some kind of standard code for attaching to each point, as Gemma suggested, the whole thing could be pretty much automatic.


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