Print Page | Close Window

The Record Pool

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Conservation
Forum Name: Projects and Grants
Forum Description: Use this forum to announce and discuss conservation projects
URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4363
Printed Date: 25 May 2019 at 4:01am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: The Record Pool
Posted By: herpetologic2
Subject: The Record Pool
Date 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 http://www.arguk.org/recording" rel="nofollow - 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 mailto:info@arguk.org " rel="nofollow - 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

 



Replies:
Posted By: Robert V
Date 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



-------------
RobV


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 5:48pm
Local ARGs and Local Record Centres - 


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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...



Posted By: herpetologic2
Date 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




Posted By: herpetologic2
Date 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.



Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.



Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 24 Sep 2012 at 11:57am
Have a look at the Sighting Card on your mobile device 

http://recordpool.arguk.org/mobile" rel="nofollow - http://recordpool.arguk.org/mobile  

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

The future of recording is online (when there is signal lol)


Posted By: Iowarth
Date 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



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 5:24pm
Just in addition a 'fair'system would see the recorder paid for the records at source. It might also provide more incentive for a wider variety of people to submit records. From casual recorder through to large consultancies. Clearly it would help me get out of bed more often if I knew I could actually cover my costs, rather than my recording activity eroding my currently limited funds for no return.

It appears the current system is encouraging people like myself as a recorder to submit records to ARGs, so they can fund their members (potentially with far less experience than I have) to eeer, collect records. It makes no sense at all. In Essex for example I already hold a store of several hundred ACO. I would rather they were out in the field but I simply can't afford to monitor large numbers of surveys with no return.

In fact it is the only way I can see of doing it fairly at all.

Jon will know the ARGs are not always treated fairly either, so this is not just a personal gripe.

So why not have that sort of system Jon?

If I got a pound per record I submitted it would buy a lot of fuel for my trusty old Land Rover. I'm sure many others here would welcome some income for their efforts also.

Far better than my current situation of spending long hours in the field, all at my own cost and my records remaining very much that, my records.


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 5:49pm

Leaving aside Gemma's interesting and valid comments for the moment, since my post Jon and I have had some further email discussion. While my implication that ARG had let me down remains correct, it is clear that this is in no way Jon's fault. In fact, he is making a valiant attempt to pick up and put the pieces together.

It is apparent that he is succeeding admirably, and as a result I am optimistic that we will have the Record Pool recording system implemented within RAUK in the near future.

It is to be hoped that the quid pro quo of greater presence within the forum of members of local ARGs will also materialise.

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 6:01pm
Aw you mean we can't have a go at Jon Chris? LOL

I'm sure he is doing his best. Wink

I would be interested though what people think of the idea of recorders being paid at source for records? Could we even pioneer it on here with forum members? 


I did a little calculation based on a data search requested by M&G Ecology Ltd in 2008

Cost of data request = £70

Records returned = 1

So if the recorder had been paid a pound (I'm sure they were not paid anything at all)

Then the ARGs mark up on that record was 6900% for doing nothing more than searching a data base.

Now consider they can use that record over and over again and not a penny was returned to the recorder.

Interesting isn't it!

I would like to see a system where if records are submitted online the recorder is paid via paypal for each record submitted. That would be fair wouldn't it considering the ARG could still stand to make vast profit over the cost of the original record with that level of mark up?

Now even more interesting is the ARG wanted me to then submit the records I collected during the project. (For free) to them.

Hmmm several hundred records to them, when they charged us £70 for 1. You can all guess I suppose that I didn't bother to send the records to the ARG.

Now of course if they had paid M&G Ecology several hundred pounds for them, I might have been bothered to format them and send them in. Which would have fixed the problem they had of extreme under recording in part of their county. (and also added 3 more of the widespread species for the area).

Can of worms - discuss lol. 

What always amazes me is that the system simply 'isn't the way the world works' I can't imagine anything else in life where organisations expect information for free, so they can then sell it and profit from it, with no form of remuneration to those supplying the information. Be it members of the public, keen amateurs, the casual observer, scientist, consultant or whoever. 

So far I've only been told it is for the 'greater good' yet I don't see ARG's actually actively stopping things such as the movement of hundreds of reptiles out of Essex in recent years.....


So should we see something like - £1 for submission of a record (so 12 adders spotted on a Tuesday afternoon = £12) and some sort of percentage paid to the recorder each time the record is used in future such as an ARG charging a consultancy for the data?

I have absolutely no doubt that records remain the copyright of the original recorder, surely if we want to fill in the gaps in recording and encourage more people to submit records this is the only way to go?




Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 4:36pm

Just chipping in for posterities sake.

Now that I know the information is "sold on" I would never ever, not once never send in any info concerning the Grassies I may see on my travels.

The point you made Gemma with regard to the translocation of reptiles out of Essex is valid.

I am also aware that there are organisations out there out to profit from selling native reptiles whether or not its legal.

I'm not going to assist them finding the ones I know about.

Sorry, I'm keeping schtum as to where I see animals. If  ARGs or anyone else thinks that has an overall disadvantage to reptiles I will just say, well then, you sjould have ensured the safety of those I told you about in the past.

R


-------------
RobV


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 5:13pm
I've never really understood why very specific records need to be passed on Rob. I know the Essex Field Club now provides data searches through it's website. It provides a distance only from the target site. Much better as it gives an indication of what a consultant ought to expect to find in an area without revealing exact locations.

If that is the level of data going out, then I can't really see why anything more specific than a 6 figure grid location (100m square) needs to go into a database. Further safeguard is that the direction from the target location is not given.

Though for ones own purposes much more accurate records are cool, even if it is just to plot them up on Google Earth!

I certainly think this is the way forward, more a broad brush of species distribution supplied rather than site specifics. In the past I've often been supplied with ten figure grid references, fine to record them, not so great to give them out though.

I thought everyone knew records were sold on (or in the case of ARGs 'donations' asked for doing the search, same thing). Why do you think people keep asking for records to be sent in? I don't ask, I go out and survey, if someone wants to send me their records fine I'll add the to the county database.

Personally I think the whole thing needs massive review, particularly who is benefiting from records and who isn't and far more importantly whether records are being used to effectively protect herps or just fund organisations.  I guess I'm in a position to do that in Essex at least.




Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 6:50pm

Hi

I can certainly understand and, in fact agree 100% with Rob and Gemma's reservations (or, to be precise, the reservations that I expect we all have and that they have voiced for us)

Perhaps, in this case, the key question is what is ARG's Data Sharing Policy which governs such information. One trusts that one is in place (perhaps Jon could advise whether this is the case) and if not (bearing in mind that the Record Pool is in its infancy) one should be implemented immediately.

ARC has had one for many years which does provide a considerable degree of protection. It can be found and read in all its length and glory at  http://www.arc-trust.org/policies/data_sharing.php." rel="nofollow - http://www.arc-trust.org/policies/data_sharing.php.

A couple of brief extracts which show that they too share the concerns include:-

"Although much of our data is recorded at a spatial accuracy of 1 m, the spatial resolution of information provided to the general public, and possibly to other third parties in certain circumstances, will generally be at 100 m to protect some sensitive recording locations. A resolution of 1 km may be imposed in some cases, such as threatened populations of the adder in London. Records can be flagged as confidential in our database to prevent dissemination, and they can be marked as sensitive to impose restrictions on resolution."

The final section of that Policy also sets out the levels of access given to various bodies and inidividuals which I think you will agree, does balance openness where appropriate but, more importantly control over the detail and level of data given to each of them.

All the best

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 8:57pm
I guess the problem there Chris and I'm not being critical just discussing the issue, is that even 1 km resolution could easily provide the site if one uses Google Earth these days. This is a concern I've had for a while as technology has moved on so much. So given a 1 km reference, I go on Google Earth, about 30 seconds to figure the most likely site?

I remember way back when I was in my twenties going on holiday in the lake district. I kept seeing notices regarding natterjack conservation, so became intrigued. Armed with an OS map and walking boots I found a breeding site the next day with no previous knowledge of the area at all.

I would guess someone intending to collect animals would have equal ability to figure things out?


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 10:59pm

Hi Gemma

I agree that this is a risk. In practice, however, I really cannot see any way of significantly reducing that risk. It is very easy, using the distribution maps in Beebee & Griffiths Amphibians and Reptiles to pin locations down to within a kilometre as it is with other resources - particularly on line. In short, a person who aims to take animals from the wild can establish locations with that degree of accuracy quite readily without placing themselves at risk by applying for records and thus identifying themselves.

Although I have no doubt that there is still a limited illegal trade in native reptiles I doubt if it is of any significance in terms of threat to the animals. Simply there is too high a risk related to too limited a return.  I retain a significant presence within the pet-keeping and captive breeding community (most of which has no awareness of my involvement in conservation) and have come across no instances of people offering UK animals for sale. While several UK species have been offered for sale in the last ten years these have been animals from eastern Europe and Asia. 

I would say that at least 90% of wild UK herps taken into captivity nowadays are by children not knowing better - and that is how many of us became involved. But, back then, we only accounted for 10% - if that. The bulk was commercial collecting for the trade.

The biggest risks in this day and age are direct persecution (particularly of snakes as most people don't know an adder from any other snake) and habitat destruction - by illegal development, inadequate (or downright criminal) mitigation and fire. 

It should be noted that ARCs policy regarding data sharing does include an element of judgment regarding who of the public should be allowed access to data.

So, all in all, I do not find myself unduly concerned by this aspect - it is actually easier for someone who wants to collect them and has a little knowledge about them, to do so using readily available information. That's how I found my first Sand Lizards - fifty something years ago using Malcolm Smith's book as the clue! (my gawd that makes me feel old!!)

All the best

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: Mark_b
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 11:42pm

I think the National Federation for Biological Recording mentions quite a few good reasons to pass on records to organisations that manage or need them......

ŠŠ- Sustainable stewardship of the natural environment
-
ŠŠ
Biodiversity conservation
ŠŠ
- Environmental change
ŠŠ
- Policy formulation
ŠŠ
- Spatial planning
ŠŠ
- Development control
-
ŠŠ
Impact assessment and mitigation
-
ŠŠ
Research
-
ŠŠ
Education
-
ŠŠCommunity involvement

Money/funding - the reason record centres’ have to charge is because they dont get enough funding to support themselves, so they have to run as a business (and do a very important job). It's a stupid idea to try and pay a recorder for each record, that's not what it is all about (i.e. doing it for free to assist the conservation of the species)and people would attempt to cheat the system.

 

Chris sums up the issue of people knowing where particularly species are very well - it isn't an issue - and how a record centre uses your data can be decided by you if you speak to them.

 

All sightings should be with your local record centre and go to the organisations that need them. If you give a damn about conservation then I can’t understand how anyone can be against this. (I do realise that there can be conflicts but if a record centre is running correctly and working with local recorders and groups then there shouldn’t be a problem).



-------------
http://www.wgarg.co.uk/">


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 27 Sep 2012 at 12:30am
Well that is one view Mark!

Lots of good words in your list. 

But what if nobody actually makes any of that happen?

There seems to be a big difference between what the conservation aims listed are meant to achieve and what is actually achieved in reality.

Don't forget I came into this from the conservation side and switched to consultancy so I've been close to the inner workings of ARGs in the past.

I am not sure paying individual recorders is so stupid. It doesn't seem stupid to me when EARG and EFC both receive funds in Essex for records and well I don't. Perhaps I should take Noodles suggestion and sell my records to the highest bidder. Shame BRIE failed in Essex really else I would give them a call! I am literally at the point where with fuel prices today I cannot simply fund it voluntarily, if I could I surely would like I have for the last 30 years! I'm not a casual recorder, if I record a site these days I will be deploying ACO, that takes fuel, effort time and money.

I too was told one should send in records, I'm not entirely sure though from past experiences if I'm all that comfortable with the concept or how they might be used. I can for example trace some of my adder records that appear all over the place on all sorts of databases. Makes me glad I'm as paranoid as Rob and the dozens of other sites I know remain known to me only. I guess that is difficult to understand? It isn't so difficult when you arrive at one of 'your' sites and find you can't get near the hibernaculum for photographers and realise someone else has been writing about it as 'their' site and half of Essex now knows about it, particularly as that individual only knew where to find the animals because of records you submitted to them... ...and to add insult to injury any 'conservation' aim was completely lost because the land manager couldn't figure out the grid references provided to them and frankly didn't give a damn about adder anyway. (I need a head banging on wall emoticon can you add one Chris Wink)

This led me to 'drip feed' information, such as submitting only a single record of an adder if it would fill a 1 km square on a county database, rather than submitting numerous sighting reports etc.

PS Mark, I don't actually disagree with anything you said btw. In reality I would like to explore how records could be put to all those uses. I just don't think currently in Essex they are at all.

I guess though you would think it stupid to set-up an alternative web based system to the record pool independently where recorders are paid? I wonder which would get more records submitted. Of course there would need to be safeguards as with any system involving humans regarding abuse of the system, same for anything.

It was only a decade ago people said RAUK was a stupid idea, I don't think it was really. It has far more members than any ARG doesn't it? Big smile


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 27 Sep 2012 at 8:39am
Originally posted by Iowarth Iowarth wrote:

Hi Gemma

I agree that this is a risk. In practice, however, I really cannot see any way of significantly reducing that risk. It is very easy, using the distribution maps in Beebee & Griffiths Amphibians and Reptiles to pin locations down to within a kilometre as it is with other resources - particularly on line. In short, a person who aims to take animals from the wild can establish locations with that degree of accuracy quite readily without placing themselves at risk by applying for records and thus identifying themselves.

Although I have no doubt that there is still a limited illegal trade in native reptiles I doubt if it is of any significance in terms of threat to the animals. Simply there is too high a risk related to too limited a return.  I retain a significant presence within the pet-keeping and captive breeding community (most of which has no awareness of my involvement in conservation) and have come across no instances of people offering UK animals for sale. While several UK species have been offered for sale in the last ten years these have been animals from eastern Europe and Asia. 

I would say that at least 90% of wild UK herps taken into captivity nowadays are by children not knowing better - and that is how many of us became involved. But, back then, we only accounted for 10% - if that. The bulk was commercial collecting for the trade.

The biggest risks in this day and age are direct persecution (particularly of snakes as most people don't know an adder from any other snake) and habitat destruction - by illegal development, inadequate (or downright criminal) mitigation and fire. 

It should be noted that ARCs policy regarding data sharing does include an element of judgment regarding who of the public should be allowed access to data.

So, all in all, I do not find myself unduly concerned by this aspect - it is actually easier for someone who wants to collect them and has a little knowledge about them, to do so using readily available information. That's how I found my first Sand Lizards - fifty something years ago using Malcolm Smith's book as the clue! (my gawd that makes me feel old!!)

All the best

Chris


You just made me feel old Chris, I first put a foot on the Surrey Heaths using Malcolm Smith's book as my guide. Though some 20 years later than you!

I can see the argument from both sides. But like Rob I've had some real world bad experiences from sharing information. 

Submitting records is like firing a bullet in the dark. It may help herp conservation, it may harm it in my experience.

The recording I undertake is not recording for recording sake. I work closely with land managers. I get them involved, I discuss things they want to do for reptiles and things they can do for reptiles. With luck we get some or all of it done.

The alternative is to just record and either use the records to 'bash' people (a method that simply doesn't always work very well) or rely on people giving a damn about herptiles. (most people don't even like them).

So what I am exploring is how to use records effectively and safeguard animals at the same time.

Submitting records as effective conservation relies on entire host of people to have an understanding of herptiles and a passion for them. Working on the ground directly with land managers side steps that in my experience and gets things done. It also keeps the information within a very small group of people. Yet at the same time generates local interest in the survey or if the land manager chats to locals in the pub about what is in their village.

One of the big problems with recording centers etc is people move on, contacts are lost, things get forgotten or people go to the wrong place for advice.

Take the reptiles moved out of Essex. EWT advised there were not suitable sites for them in Essex. Really? Essex is one of the largest counties in the UK, is made up mostly of farmland, is littered with disused airfields and industrial sites, has hundreds of miles of sea wall... it takes more than submitting records to conserve herps in my opinion. So if they are not all that effective is the risk worth it? Or put in a positive way, if there is a risk involved, how do we make sure it is a risk worth taking and the records actually achieve the conservation aims listed by Mark?

It seems to me that one way to do it would be to 'join up' the records with the right people to give advice, that is what appears to be missing in the current system.

It's now 2012 - we have the technology LOL


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 12:30am
Right I am going to have to put the situation regarding EARG and datasearches. When I was more involved with EARG I did send out data to consultants via the groups email. The policy was a standard charge of £80 per datasearch if there were records to send. If we had no records or very few I did not ask for money. 

The old county recorder David Scott also charged a similar amount and we both split the money between EARG and EFC. 

I even asked consultants for records in return for discounted datasearches. If they agreed to send in data each year they got free datasearches! 
You know what happened the consultants would rather pay the £80 than to share data 

The money raised by went into the groups bank account so we can buy equipment, pay expenses, and even send members to the herpetofauna workers meeting. 

I personally think that paying per record is not the way forward as biological records are or should not be sold on. The copyright of all records should remain with the recorder. All records should be available for conservation purposes. Consultants are asked for a donation or were 

In Essex the policy is to send people to the online datasearch system run by the field club. We will be agreeing a policy that a percentage of the money raised will be noted put towards surveys, equipment etc to generate more records 

I have not been following the discussion on here and will read back the thread to bring me up to speed. I use the record pool for reporting my records from around the UK. You will note that for great crested nests in England you are legally obligated to report your records to the LRC. Perhaps the record pool could help consultants make their survey reports legal? 

It is coming up to October for the class licenses and my data will be going into the record pool. Gemma I will resend the last export from the RP to you as I think you may not have got it. 

Time to head to bed I will respond on the other points made through these discussion in due course. 


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 12:47am
Ps after reading the comment about the movement of reptiles out of Essex. EARG tried very hard to try and prevent the mass translocation of reptiles. We submitted suggestions for local release sites, we even met the environment manager from DP world on the site. sadly to no avail but we did manage to convince them that some of the reptiles in the later phases were kept in Essex in the adjoining grazing marshes and on Canvey. 

I tried my best even thought about tendering for part of the job to see whether we could influence the decisions on the ground. 

The companies who were involved ploughed on with the mitigation plan agreed several years previously. As EARG were kept in the dark apart from an ecological consultant who reported his data to our group we managed to find out about the mass translocation plan. EARG failed to stop it yes But we hope this is never repeated 

There is another translocation going on behalf of a certain feathered animal charity with the same company from the London port development. Again New have signed off on a mitigation plan which was planned with no surveys prior to the work being done. 

I have sticker my oar in and am waiting from contact from the major London project involved with this. 
I hope I could get a site meeting to influence what is happening however as NE has signed off on the plan the consultants were reluctant to change their approach. 

Various issues need addressing whether I can resolve it I don't know. Will let you know. 







Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 8:17am
So records should not be sold on Jon, but they are as you stated above. You can dress it up as a donation for the data search but it is the same thing! 

It is all very well saying that donations are collected but if these do not pass down the food chain then people cannot afford to keep supplying records...

My point regarding the movement of reptiles out of Essex was not a criticism of EARG or effectively you in the past. It was an illustration that records alone do not protect animals.

I think it is worth discussing these issues. Many of the ARGs for example form partnerships with record centers yet effectively cut off their own funding stream in the process. If as it often appears to me the only real use records are being to put to, is to sell them on to consultants, then the money should move down the food chain. Perhaps that is the real issue, if records were put to better uses then it would all make sense wouldn't it and I wouldn't be worried so much about the money aspect?

I really think this is a case of money is a dirty word in conservation syndrome gone mad. Most people realise in the real world one doesn't get something for nothing. 

In the current economic situation doing a 50 mile round trip to a site numerous times to record is costing an appreciable amount of money. There comes a point where that is no longer viable. With nothing to offset or cover the costs. That is really what I am talking about.

For example say I visit a site 25 miles away, my land rover does about 400 miles on a tank of fuel costing £80.

A total of 50 miles there and back. I go 8 times. 

Which is, well conveniently 400 miles total. So it cost me £80 in fuel. Now if I have no financial return on that and give away the records for free, what happens at the end of the line if records are only really used to provide consultants with information for commercial projects? Effectively I have given up my money to subsidise records searches carried out by consultants. 

Nice system, not! 

Lets take the concept further.

I really don't know what will happen to those records, they may be passed on, someone may charge someone else for the information later down the line. What are the chances of any of that money going back to the recorder directly at the moment? No chance really.

So instead have a system where people are paid for records to enable them to cover their recording costs. I can't really see why that is such a 'stupid' idea.




Posted By: Mark_b
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 10:11am

I am happy for the money to not go directly down the food chain, the record centres need it to survive, they do not get enough funding otherwise. Without record centres we would have a mixed bag of county records not working together(taxa groups not covered), it's like devolution, a silly idea. The record centres in Wales support their recorders - provide them with software, I.T. support, run lots of training, meetings etc

It sounds like the recording situation with record centres, groups and individuals is a bit more complicated down your way, but I don't think your idea of getting money for records for individuals will work. It sounds like you need to survey within your own means, this is the current system, don't use your fuel if you can’t afford it. That's why there should be a network of individuals working together, I think it's called ..... an ARG? SWWARG don’t charge for data but we have thousands of pounds in our account by connecting in with organisations and local councils who have paid us for training, projects etc. I don’t ask for fuel money for surveying but if we had an individual who really needed it we would help them.



-------------
http://www.wgarg.co.uk/">


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 10:30am
Quite simply keep your surveys more local and affordable if you are not being paid to carry out such work and you cannot afford the fuel costs. 

There are other incentives which make people go out and record wildlife other than monetary gain. I personally get paid to carry out survey work, I also get paid to collate the information and I also get paid  for my time to send the information to local recorders. Why should I then get money for each record that I supply?  If I got a £1 for each record I would be able to retire after two to three years as I can submit many thousands of records each winter. Okay maybe not 

Is this idea to get people to survey or to report on their surveys? With my great crested newt work I am legally obligated to report my survey findings - my clients know this and so pay for my time to send in the data to Local Recorders (via the Record Pool). I also carry out many surveys in my own time and I do not wish to have payment for it. I have carried out surveys on Wildlife Trust reserves which would have cost well over £10,000 in consultant fees if I was paid. I do it for the love of the animals as I have always done so.

The main thing is to recognise that it is not the records which are being sold but the time taken for a person to collate a report - that would be for 1 record to thousands of records it is the time which is charged for not the records.

The Record Pool is not designed to make money from species data. It is designed to provide an online reporting system for amphibian and reptile surveyors. The data will go to Local Recorders either ARG's or county recorders. The system is being developed with the help of active herp recorders and I would welcome people to get involved helping with the front end testing and of course the admin system in the back end.

Agreements with Local Record Centres should include payment to recording groups each year to help cover survey expenses - the fact that this has not been agreed in some counties is down to the parties involved. In Essex at least the Field Club are willing to agree to this sort of arrangement - i.e. some monies from data searches will go to the EARG - the group and not individuals.

Whether we could get the same agreement with BRIE is a different matter - time will tell. 

For a long while EARG have looked at rewarding volunteer survey efforts by paying for attendance to the Herp Workers Meeting and there could be a system for people to claim mileage expenses for survey work in the county. 

In the case of EARG we have purchased nets, torches and other equipment for people to use in their survey work from monies collected from data searches and in some cases donations to the group for survey work undertaken - for example the RSPB and Wallasea Island reptile surveys.

We have been approached by the EA to carry out surveys on seawalls. I have a reserve in Wickford which I am currently managing and I would like to have EARG volunteers on site helping with practical conservation, surveys etc and I would be willing to cover mileage to and from the site. In fact this may be the first reserve EARG would be able to work on in agreement with my company as the managers. (I suspect that I may get more flaming for this.....)














Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 10:32am
Shall we get back to the topic which is the online reporting tool please!


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 11:12am
You guys don't live in the real world.

If you are going to record, do it somewhere where it will do some good. If that means say having land managers 25 - 30 miles away who are actually prepared to do something for reptiles, then you travel to that location and work with them. If other 'organisations' want the records from that work, then they should pay for them. Simple isn't it. Else they don't get them, which on the whole is actually the real situation. So you use an ARG member to do the recording. I don't know how many times I have stated I have hundreds of ACO available in Essex for use, so how many people have said 'oh yes please can I have some to do a local survey'. Lets think, eeer none at all. I guess from the ARG point of view as long as they can get mugs to do it they are quids in LOL

Sure I'll keep it local, there are lizards along the hedgerows in the surrounding arable fields for miles around. Great. A massive stride for conservation. Based on that also, so I work locally, hmmm the several thousand records I have would all be around Maldon lol. That would help the general picture of herp distribution in Essex wouldn't it!

Going back to the topic, I doubt if many people will use it Jon but good luck. I'm beginning to remember why I left the conservation side and moved into consultancy. At least it is a world of 'can' do not 'can't' do.



Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 11:24am
Lets hope you don't carry out any great crested newt surveys then Gemma. As in the real world all newts surveyors HAVE to report their survey results to LRCs!!!!!!

it is now a legal requirement to do this otherwise you cannot use the survey information in any consultancy report as it would not be a report based on legally obtained survey information (though it would be interesting to see how this holds up in the courts).

I will pass on your details to the EARG members who need some ACO's and they will be in touch - and will also be around to collect the ACO's should we charge for that fuel Gemma?

We will just have to live with your position and get in with recording and reporting our survey results. 

The Record Pool is doing very nicely with a nice steady increase in the numbers of records coming in and the numbers of people using it is increasing all the time.......

Regards




Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 11:29am
Well actually I don't generally specifically survey for GCN, Jon and I would report GCN sightings in any case as I know the legal obligation, it has always been a licence requirement to submit the sightings. It doesn't though say anywhere I have to send them to you though does it lol.

And no Jon I wouldn't want anyone to collect the ACO. I am more than willing to help a genuine ARG member to set-up a survey and deliver the ACO to the site and collect them when the survey is complete. I wouldn't like to think they could end up on a consultancy job by mistake or anything. Shocked





Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 11:37am
Report to Natural England or the LRC in the area of your survey?

I think you find that now you have to send the data into the LRC....

Okay - the members have voluntary surveys on country parks and other land owners land - promise that they are for voluntary conservation surveys and not professional surveys in the slightest....


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 1:14pm
It use to be report to NE it is now report to the LRC - but that is BRIE not you!

I rather think the whole point is getting lost.

Firstly what I'm interested in is why records are not being used effectively.

Secondly that a FAIR system is in place for anyone who records.

Obviously that is all totally outrageous Big smile




Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 1:18pm

I am going to insert my two 'pennorth again! Firstly, I can see where Gemma is coming from and certainly regard the concept of people being paid for records as being very attractive in some ways. Conversely I fail to see how it can be implemented - or in the case of RAUK afforded!

The few requests I have received for data from RAUK have been from other herp conservation organisations or individuals - and these I would not dream of charging. I appreciate that RAUK is perhaps a slightly peculiar case since there is no organisation behind it but that doesn't alter the facts. Another fact so far as I am concerned is that I have no desire to divert funds from ARGs or ARC. Every penny they make from such records is more in their coffers and is, ultimately, spent on some form of conservation work.

Surveys I carry out (even though limited nowadays due to health/mobility) are done so either at the specific request of ARC and if they involve significant travel expenses are paid or, far more often, they are done simply for the sheer pleasure of being able to go out and see these beautiful animals in the wild. THAT is my payment even though they may be as much as 80 miles away.

So far as the Record Pool is concerned, I was involved in the design/specifications etc. One of the major reasons for its existence was to, so far as possible, with the aid of data exchange agreements permit of a single huge database, shared with LRCs etc, to ensure that herp records throughout the UK could a) be passed on to appropriate parties and b) be held in a single source to permit of easier and better analysis to allow a better understanding of the distribution, survival etc of the animals in the wild. (the analysis tools being tools being built by Vicar et al, are stupendously effecitve and powerful - but fail completely without data)

In my opinion, these can only be extremely laudable objectives. Charging for records to those who can and should pay will, as I say, provide further money towards herp conservation. As a consequence, on this occasion I have to disagree with Gemma. 

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 1:43pm
That is a lot more information Chris than most of us would have had about the system. Certainly Steve's work is exactly the sort of system we need in Essex as I saw what he was achieving in Surrey.

But that is where I came in. I asked if county recorders were involved in the scheme, my inbox still remains suspiciously empty.

The current Essex database is well shall I be polite for a change and say 'slightly lacking' so I would really like to explore how that can be addressed.

Part of that is that in reality these days money is an issue for most people. Jon mentions volunteers surveying country parks, anyone want to guess how far it is from my house in rural Essex to a CP! 

I certainly do record locally too, it still costs me money though to move ACO etc. It is not like I can just walk out of the house with a wheel barrow and keep surveying the local farms forever. (I did that the first year I lived here!) So it made me wonder how a funding stream for recorders could be explored. But hey, it was a stupid idea I guess, I'm full of them. Also when I first surveyed for an ARG, I lived in London, that meant travelling to Kent to survey (you won't find that many herps in SE1 unless they are in vivariums!). At the time I could afford it, I would think twice now. The point is if I had at least an offset to the costs I can do a lot more recording, help other people do a lot more recording in the County. Any 'central' system means that getting any sort of funding passed down the line is now not very likely. So I can't now do much recording, or help other people get started. So no records for the future. Yet we can all guess the record pool will only work with records. Hence why I wondered if paying recorders at source could be in any way a viable option.

Perhaps it is just because it is Jon posting, he's been asking me for my records for 10 years lol.

I think the system does sound good though, so perhaps I'll just leave it at that.


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 3:25pm
That is was when I was the county recorder for Essex. You have taken on that role. The Record Pool is a database which is developed and can be accessed by local recorders particularly recording officers in these groups. We have an admin team currently of 8 people including myself, Chris, Steve and other people in Essex, Scotland, Gloucestershire etc 


Please if people would like to have a sign in then please send me your details. 




Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 4:11pm
I have kept tabs on the progress of this thread and have to say, Mark, I think you are being a bit harsh when you say "if anyone gives a damn about conservation you can't see an objection."
 
Firstly, I had been giving over details of my findings to local land managers... what did they do with it?
Treasure it?
 
Say; thank you Rob, we'll make sure all our operatives know the locations so we won't disturb?
 
Or even thanks, we'll use the info to link one bank of populations to another with tunnels under roads etc?
 
None of the above.
 
As well documented on here, they scraped the site.
 
So you can shout me down all you want, I'm beyond giving a monkeys, all I'm asking is - when people pay for the info, what do they want the info for?
 
Is it for - maybe building a map for a book perhaps?
 
Or, more likely, is any info being bought by developers so that they can go to a nice potential site, secretly collect up all the specimens, then apply to have the site officially surveyed prior to "development" so in mitigation they can say "the experts" couldn't find anything on the site?
 
Get it now? Do you understand... or am I being obtuse?
 


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 4:38pm

Hi Rob

I can well understand your disgruntlement. Sadly, it is a truth, and one we are still a long way from changing, that sites do get trashed even when the people responsible for the site have been advised of the animals. This, however, does not necessarily indicate that a central database of records is going to be detrimental. In fact, I would regard it as being more likely to be one of the desperately needed stpes to rectify this situation.

Regarding your penultimate paragraph iI view this with much greater concern. Do you actually have evidence of such actions? I have come across all sorts of mis-management by developers (and on occasion, with much pleasure, reported them to the Police - with success I might add) but never an instance where animals have been collected up beforehand - only ploughed under!

All the best

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 5:06pm
I have evidence of just this sort of action Chris. Including areas having grazing animals introduced to eradicate herps. The data came from local recording groups. Developers are ruthless people and so are some land managers if little things like protected species get in the way of their plans. It is also now extremely difficult to survey EWT sites in Essex, perhaps Jon would explain why..

Ask LB about Iwade and how the data he supplied to the developer was used. It was used to run a flail over the key GCN habitat areas he identified.

So there you are side stepping the county recorder in Essex Jon? That is interesting information, that must really be helping joined up efforts.

I think I'll just carry on as before, adding what few records are sent to the county recorder to the database and working hand in hand with those who want to help herps in the real world. That means travelling and it is limited but it keeps me well out of the 'politics' of the ARG system which to be honest I couldn't be happier about.


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 5:26pm

Hi Gemma

Yeap, I agree. However, I was questioning the specific assertion that animals were being gathered up rather than eradicated/disturbed/ploughed under etc.

Clearly, especially with the new EPS legislation actions such as you cite are in contravention and should be reported for criminal prosecution. Perhaps, where information is requested of ARG by developers it might be practical at least in some cases for local ARG members to watch such sites and report them to the local Wildlife Officer? Or even simply make whatever local pressure group there are (and there often are) to undertake that action. I tend to disapprove of such groups crying wolf as a means of delaying action BUT it is absolutely right for them (or any individual) to do so where an offence such as you describe is taking place.

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2012 at 5:55pm
Chris, this is one option. It is usually possible to get a local who is already opposed to a development to do a 'window watch' I think things at Iwade would have been much worse if LB hadn't done just that. Not so easy when a conservation organisation does it though! And believe me they can and do act in exactly the same way.

It is an illustration though of how people can use records or data against us. Which again brings up the whole question of effectiveness, purpose, who should be provided with what information and at what detail etc etc. 

I guess the weird thing about this thread is 10 years ago I would have been putting up Mark's argument. Now I'm far more jaded or perhaps less naive?






Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 30 Sep 2012 at 12:15pm

Hi Chris,

I wouldn't be able to prove it has happened and so I cannot name places etc.

Like Gemma says, as the pressure for sites becomes more urgent (especially if the market should pick up again) I can see this sort of thing happening a lot.
 
I'm not saying there shouldn't be some form of recording and pooling of info, I just think the results data needs to have some safegaurds against who is allowed to view it. It shouldn't just be purchased (sold on) as I cannot see what advanteg there is in that for UK herps, maybe you could enlighten me?
 
Cheers
R


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 30 Sep 2012 at 3:03pm

Hi Rob

Fair enough mate. 

I do not disagree with either you or Gemma in many respects. Your concerns are well-founded although it is my belief that in many cases "trashing" etc takes place even without bothering to obtain specific data.

Have you read the ARC policy regarding to whom data is made available? I do not know ARG's policy but would hope it is similar. This does have a number of safeguards which tend to limit the availability and detail to various people. 

Nonetheless, we have to remember that just as there are developers, and sadly, even consultants  who are prepared to use such data to avoid mitigation there are many (and in the latter case at least, the majority) who use such data properly. Quite honestly I have to simply turn the question t'other way about - what benefit, in terms of development, would there be to UK Herps if their presence wasn't recorded and shared to the appropriate level with those who need to know? And if it is to be passed on, why should the organisations that hold it, most of whom are non-profit and need income, charge for it?

All the best

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 2:39am
I've long thought Chris consultants should simply survey and my experience would indicate it is only a few consultants that interpret the information appropriately, sadly not the majority. Most jump to the wrong conclusions about the records they receive. 

What do records really tell them?

1) No records - nothing at all it certainly doesn't indicate absence as clearly not all the UK has been previously surveyed. Even if an ARG supplies them with information saying they surveyed it 5 years ago and there was nothing there, another consultant could have put something there last week! (That actually happened to me once, working under the wing of another consultancy I was doing the reptile work. The other consultancy had previously surveyed for GCN and found nothing. I started the reptile work and looked in a pond across the road during a break. It was full of GCN! Turned out they had been literally 'dumped' without permission by a consultant overnight and yes I do know who!)

2) Lots of records - I've seen plenty of sites assessed as 'low potential' that had lots of records in a county database or for an adjacent site. So that is no guarantee of anything. This also encourages mitigations to be carried out without new surveys. 'But we knew they were there' - eeer yes but did you know how many, exact species, how they were using the site..... so how on earth could they identify if in-situ or translocation was appropriate, size of receptor site etc etc.

3) Small numbers of records - the worst of all, nearly always interpreted as low risk. They assume the area was previously surveyed and not much found. In reality it might be that low numbers of records were returned because the existing records were from very casual observations. Don't forget consultants have a mindset to what a survey involves, (ACO x amount of visits etc) so if they see a record for one grass snake, they may assume that all that exists is a tiny transient population of grass snakes. It in many cases does not occur to them the record was generated visually by a dog walker with only a passing interest in herpetofauna and not a consultancy style refuge survey.

I would maintain in my own consultancy work records are at best yesterdays news. I will always survey based on my own assessments of habitat suitability and known widespread distribution. This does not need to include detailed records from the past. On all occasions records from the appropriate county database or LRC fell very short of what we actually found.

I guess at least in number 2 above if someone is on the ball they can 'bash' the consultant with the existing records into carrying out protected species surveys/mitigation. But that means monitoring what is happening in the county all the time.

I expect Rob will come from the other angle of supplying records to land managers. I think we have both had such information ignored in the past and also experiences where sharing data has backfired and done overall harm to animals. So I'm not all that keen on that one these days either. It is a simple fact, if they have not expressed an interest in herpetofauna at the site, they won't thank you for telling them or anyone else that the animals are there and protected. In fact this is just a recipe for getting ulcers. Not only do you know exactly what they are killing from your survey work, you will also very quickly find that the Police, NE, the general public and the people involved don't give a damn. In fact the only people likely to care in the slightest are those on this forum.

In all though I'm not fixed in my views. I have plenty of experiences that raise doubts and concerns, but personally I'm looking for the way forward in it all. Such as the proper use of records for long term monitoring etc. This wouldn't require the whole world to see data on the sites, exact locations etc. 

The last 10 years for me it has been a bit like being a resistance fighter to be honest, Loose Lips Sink Ships and all that..... (and god knows I've had enough 'sunk' until I smartened up and started keeping things to myself).


So my summing up of the situation so far - records in development are only of limited use, they can often be misinterpreted and manipulated by consultants and can lead to preemptive site 'trashings' by developers. It doesn't matter how many records an ARG does or doesn't have. The message should be that an experienced ecologist  should assess the site for need to survey for protected species. If they need a county database to tell them what might be there, frankly they are rubbish and not really an experienced ecologist, get someone else.

Use of records in 'conservation' is on many occasions largely ignored, I've not yet experienced a conservation project halted or significantly altered based on herpetofauna records. Unless those involved specifically asked for help with herpetofauna at the site.

Any information in the hands of the wrong people can be dangerous. Who the wrong people are is only learnt by painful experience. It isn't always who one would expect either. Shocked

So that goes back to my current modus operandi, work closely with those who are willing and have expressed an interest in helping herpetofauna. Keep quiet about what you are doing and where, to avoid interference from glory hunters and blabber mouths. It of course involves collecting records (lots and lots of them). 

The big question is do I just keep sitting on it for now? I'm certainly not interested in feeding them into a system that generates money by 'selling' detailed records to consultants for organisations that do not in return help me fund the activities that generate the data. I don't think the people I work with would be too keen on the concept either.





Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 10:25am
I have been busy making maps with the Record Pool - you see the information given out on public websites can be limited to avoid giving away locations and the finer details. We want people to report where they have seen animals, where they haven't seen them etc. Notice the massive blob of records in Essex. 





The icons were from KRAG and are helpful in reducing the resolution of records. You can see Epping Forest to the left there with plenty of records collected over the last year. Just wanted to know people's thoughts on the mapping system. (NB: any consultants wanting to use this map as evidence that animals are not found in areas this is a tiny fraction of the available data!)

An idea would be to allow for these records to be clicked with details of the species, number and 2km or 1km grid reference with a link to the relevant LRC/County recorder. I am not interested in generating money from this it is an online tool for primarily ARG's who want to use this system. 

We have not published any maps online - but we would like to put up live maps so that records can be seen as they go up. We want people to target their survey efforts. Steve Langham has an amazing system where this can occur. 




-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 10:30am
We also can use the mapping system for people to follow up on records which need to be confirmed

Can you see a possible North American Bullfrog record?



That was spotted very quickly and investigated with the recorder - the identification was found to be European Water Frog.


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 3:18pm
Would you really want people to 'spot' the possible American Bullfrog record Jon? You wouldn't want people going there and collecting some for their garden thus spreading the population all over Essex would you?


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 3:25pm
Here are some more screen shots of the mapping feature on the Record Pool admin system





-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 5:41pm
Are the icons not a bit too big? I would think with all the overlapping in well surveyed areas it would get a bit hard to understand.

-------------
Suz


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 5:46pm
When you zoom in closer the icons get smaller - these are only screenshots and the icons were too big to prevent hysteria over the issue of giving the location of amphibians and reptiles. Here is the screenshot for the reptiles/amphibians of Epping Forest. You can change the icons to dots with no information on species etc 




-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 5:48pm
Here is a risky shot of a location  using the map rather than aerial.




-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 6:03pm
You do realise Jon anyone could do this from records by just dumping the data from a hand held GPS into Google Earth?

Even with the large icons I can identify dozens of sites from your earlier pictures. Though you are obviously very happy with it all. Your posts today just illustrate why I wouldn't pass my records into the system, if you had posted up any of my monitoring sites in that level of detail on here I would have been extremely upset about it. Rob has mentioned before collection at EF - that picture of yours should help them a lot!

You describe the last one as a 'risky' shot - well yest it is really considering it can be identified as an area to the east of Hockley Woods near Hawkwell in about 30 seconds on Google Earth.

I do hope Chris deletes all your posts today and has a serious word with you about posting this information from the record pool on the internet..... exactly the sort of reason I would NOT submit my records to it.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 6:36pm
Thank you Jon for removing the images you posted earlier from the record pool.




Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 6:51pm
Hi Gemma

It would mean having an acceptable level of detail on public maps - though of course no information is completely safe from being found through computers.

Will be going through how this can work through local groups and landowners etc....

J


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 6:52pm
PS - the records being collected at EF are showing hope for the reptiles - what we need now is more tree clearance in areas not suitable for reptiles though this is difficult to achieve.




-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 7:05pm
Originally posted by herpetologic2 herpetologic2 wrote:

PS - the records being collected at EF are showing hope for the reptiles - what we need now is more tree clearance in areas not suitable for reptiles though this is difficult to achieve.



That is the same story at many sites I work at Jon. Neglect of woodlands is perhaps the biggest enemy at sites not threatened by development. The public do not like tree clearance, which makes it difficult to achieve, it also costs money. It is often a case of identifying areas that will be quickly recolonised by reptiles or in some cases even still harbour remnant populations and working very hard to see that the work is done. At several sites I am down to identifying individual trees that can either be crown lifted or coppiced over several seasons so the public do not see a sudden impact at the site. This will at least stop increased shading. The other issue is what to do with the wood? Many land managers want to sell it to offset the cost of felling, a shame as it is much better left in-situ as log and brash piles forming almost instant habitat.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 7:10pm
Originally posted by herpetologic2 herpetologic2 wrote:

though of course no information is completely safe from being found through computers.



True, though posting it up on a public forum almost guarantees it will be found.

Lets just hope you removed the pictures quickly enough so they were not picked up by Google image search....


Talking of which, if you used the RAUK upload facility Jon to display the pictures please also make sure they are deleted from the server as well, Chris will help you achieve this if needed.




Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 7:45pm
Well can I ask whether any sort of mapping is ever acceptable? There are maps on various websites which show distribution and can go down to a bing aerial map with opaque red squares or rectangles to show where animals are found within 1or 2km radius. 

Steve has been displaying species diversity on maps so that areas can be targeted for survey work to get further confirmed records. Using unverified data can also lead to clustering where survey effort could be targeted. 

From the policy side of things the record pool needs to be absolutely clear on what the records are being used for. If we can produce interactive maps available only to signed up admins within the ARG network. 

So far there are 7 admins who have interests in smaller areas than the whole of the UK. We could feed this information into the modelling work by Steve Langham to help with the refinement of the models to predict where animals should be etc 

Can I ask whether for public consumption the type of mapping used for sliding scales and add an Adder would be appropriate for displaying public surveys? 

Surveys such as the big spawn count, big pond thaw, make your nature count would be less sensitive than say long term monitoring sites where I hope that we could collate data but with a ticket box to keep
 this confidential. The reason would be to get other useful data on habitat use, phenology from records which can be displayed for general areas using charts and diagrams rather than maps. 

The record pool is intended for to be devised and developed using everyone's expertise and opinions. We need to get the balance right with material which will encourage recording but will also reduce the risk to animals 

Gemma did you get the results of the august download from the record pool? I sent it to both email addresses. There is a real mixture of records from consultancy, public etc 



-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 7:51pm
No Jon not received anything via email.



Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 8:11pm
Thanks for explaining the apparent overlapping icons.
Can I just ask where this leaves the NBN Gateway data?


-------------
Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 8:29pm
Can't the public just buy Malcolm Smith's book Jon? If I look at a lot of the 'new' distribution maps for adder and squint at them they look kind of the same. For example The UK appears mostly covered, whilst Ireland doesn't have any. LOL (Humour Alert).

I guess where I would be now Jon would be how could I submit records to the pool without actually passing on any detail about the sites, numbers of animals etc?

That's what interests me, If I can send stuff in without being specific that would be good. Perhaps though you ought to just send me a login as the Essex County Recorder and I can have a play with it all and come back on this. That would give me something useful to do rather than just moaning wouldn't it?

Is it possible to just dump into Google Earth with a GPS and then export to the pool at the moment? That could be kind of fun to do too, particularly if the data could be 'fudged' a bit so as not to reveal locations.


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 8:38pm

I can answer your point Suzy.

As you will appreciate, NBN has little, if any directly entered data. Much of the rare herp data, for example, is direct data dumps from the ARC database. One of the inevitable results of this is that it is perpetually out of date.

Similarly, right from the initial design stages of the Record Pool, it has been envisaged that it also would provide data to the NBN Gateway. In terms of usage by those allowed to bore down to fine detail it is likely that, in the fullness of time, the Record Pool will be more up to date, comprehensive and accurate than the NBN gateway at the same point in time.

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 8:40pm

Gemma - what you want to do sounds rather like NARRS - simply a presence/absence survey within kilometre squares.

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 9:51pm
It could be Chris, not sure though! 

Certainly I had got to the point of only submitting data that would fill 1km squares to county recorders in the past. Though I can figure out from a 1km square record where the site would be easily most of the time.

I think my reservation are all pinned around the concept of visual mapping. It doesn't matter how big the icon is if it is centered around a record or overlaps it can give the location away.

I need to play with it all and see if I can come up with anything useful.

Jon really had it with the long term monitoring sites. I'm really paranoid about them because they have refuges down and my current system practically maps the refuge location as the sampling points. Lets face it with a personality like mine the little guys are the only friends I have so I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to them. LOL Seriously though it could really mess things up for me if the people I work with thought there was collection from the sites and the refuges contributed to it.

I think a system that just showed a bar chart to the end user of likelihood of species encounter based on current records for a given search area would solve nearly all of my reservations regarding submitting records. So an icon appears on the record pool near but not overlapping the site, detailing species and relative abundance at the monitoring site. Anyone who really really needed to know more could perhaps request the restriction removed at several different levels of detail?

Add to that it could be flagged as 'stable' 'declining' 'increasing' and further qualified as reason - sympathetic management, unsympathetic management, lack of management etc. If that was dynamic and updated each year it would be a lot more useful than a dot on a map.



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 9:51pm

I am so glad I never patched into the site a few hours ago and saw Jon's expanded and detailed illustrations of just what exists (probably now just used to exist) in EF.

My God, what has the world become when every little detail from Kate's t*ts to the last pair of mating Adders in Epping Forest is plastered all over the net. I despair I kid you not.

What such recording can possibly do to benefit UK herps is beyond me I'm afraid.

Just another nail in the coffin etc.

Instead of publishing such maps, why don't you all just collect up all the herps and sell them at the side of the road from stalls so that they can either be caged, dumped, mutilated or splattered?

Good luck with it all... like I said Chris, I'm keeping sctum, and the only thing to suffer from that, unfortunately, is this excellent web site - rauk.

See you

R



-------------
RobV


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 10:44pm
It really wasn't up for very long Rob, Jon had a little oops moment but removed it pretty quickly. I would much rather you stayed btw and helped to figure out how to actually make things work! BTW if you want to come and help out at two Essex sites I have next year with tons of grass snakes and sympathetic managers (I mean the guys actually love herps) please let me know!

OK, so this is what I would like to see, just an icon you then click it and get something like:


SPECIES

Source – GJF Monitoring Site

Site Status

 

Likelihood of encounter

ADDER

Not recorded but word of mouth reports in local area subject to further survey and extension of survey

Un-established

 


Considered  by recorder to be likely low density population and presence at nearby sites

GRASS SNAKE

Large localised population

Stable

Sympathetic Management

High

SLOW WORM

Remnant population recorded

Increasing

Sympathetic

Management

Medium

May be remaining patchy local distribution some sites may still hold localised high numbers

VIVIPAROUS LIZARD

Not recorded

Absent

 

Low



That provides a ton of information rather than just putting a dot on a map that gives away the location of the site? The icon could hover around the area but specifically not be centered on it or overlap the actual site.


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 10:58pm

Hi Gemma

Re "It doesn't matter how big the icon is if it is centered around a record", I agree and regard this as a bigger give away than simply overlaps.

As an example in Sliding Scales and Add an Adder the visual maps that the public can see cheat quite considerably. For obvious reasons I am not going to say precisely how - simply that the algorithm that drives the squares on the maps does not centre on the record. I admit that it does contain it - but where in it is a different kettle of fish - and is variable!

So far as your later post is concerned I need to think about this - a difficult task at the best of times!!

All the best

Chris



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2012 at 11:11pm
Hi Chris I took a good look a Sliding Scales and Add an Adder.

I spotted one square on Add an Adder in an area that I know really well and was thinking where the hell is that then lol! So that is working well! (Unless it wasn't actually an adder, as I still can't figure the site location!).

I think my idea of the information box addresses a lot. ARG members can get a feel for the area (perhaps they'll volunteer to do one of the adjacent sites and find the **^^% adder everyone keeps telling me are there!). 

It could also act as a system for ARGs to give a nod to a consultant regarding a possible suitable receptor site for Zv? (Subject to consultation of course with the recorder and land manager and the purchase of a very nice meadow adjacent to the site which I would love the land manager to have control over). Far better then the animals being moved out of the county because there are no suitable sites in Essex Wink

And yet it gives away absolutely nothing specific about the site at all.


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2012 at 10:09am
Which email should I use then Gemma?

I can set up an admin log in for you so you can have a play on the system as other people are doing with maps. (Don't worry the maps are not live on the internet)

We can also restrict access to data to say a person's log in so no other admin manager can see your data (I think).

I am looking at making sure that people who record in an area - county can see the records for that county plus the neighbouring counties.

J


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2012 at 10:16am
Ah now that is looking like a good way forward. Gemma - would some of the individuals in EARG be able to help with your grass snake sites?

Will be back as I need to pop down to a railway with sand lizards.....


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2012 at 12:55pm
Use the aol email Jon as given on the EFC site.

I guess what I see about all this works like this:

When I started recording I was told a record was only any good if it contained, time, location, date, recorder, air temperature, etc etc. 

That information is fine to collect.

We now have computers which make it possible to quickly move data

And GPS to give 10 figure grid references.

And ways of quickly and easily showing all that information visually.

Now that is all OK, but that is a lot of detail. Dumping that all on a visual map then needs interpretation. 

Lots of things can happen. all that information can easily and quickly fall into the wrong hands.

Anyone looking at it can be swamped with the detail, the more detail the less any of it actually means.

Now if it is just a casual record one can't say a lot about it, fair enough add it to a database as it is with all the detail.

If though you have piles of records in detail, what is the point? Analyse your results and submit a summary without giving away any of the exact details. That works for me and I'll sleep better at night.

If someone wants all that detail I do have it on my own computer if needed.

I wonder if the record pool could be developed to show a similar summary for bulk records submitted? So if one has lots of records for a site in the database no point showing all of them on the map unless someone specifically needs all that detail. What would be better is a summarised overview.

I'm happy to start off providing just summaries of my monitoring sites, what would be very good though would be a system where these could actually be generated on the map from submitted raw data, but the details of the raw the data 'locked' out unless that detail is really needed. 

Jon, I would rather ARG members got involved with surveying new sites rather than the current monitoring sites if possible. 


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.




Posted By: herpetologic2
Date 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? 


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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?






Posted By: herpetologic2
Date 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://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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??



Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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?




Posted By: Iowarth
Date 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!)



-------------
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.


Posted By: Caleb
Date Posted: 05 Oct 2012 at 9:26am
GPSBabel ( http://www.gpsbabel.org/" rel="nofollow - 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.




Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2012 at 8:59am
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

 

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?


Yes that is we have found that the record pool will work. We have sent data for Essex to Peter to see whether it can go into mapmate. It went in fine. We want to do that with all counties in the UK. 

There are other comments to answer on this and I really appreciate everyone's input its great. Thanks! 


-------------
Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording



Print Page | Close Window

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.06 - http://www.webwizforums.com
Copyright ©2001-2016 Web Wiz Ltd. - https://www.webwiz.co.uk