Saturday, 22 March 2014

HerpMapper: New App to Create new International Herp Atlas? ( - via Herp Digest

HerpMapper is a cooperative project, designed to gather and share information about reptile and amphibian observations across the planet. Using HerpMapper, you can create records of your herp observations and keep them all in one place. In turn, your data is made available to HerpMapper Partners – groups who use your recorded observations for research, conservation, and preservation purposes. Your observations can make valuable contributions on the behalf of amphibians and reptiles.
Who can see the records you create? There are two levels of visibility for records. Only you and HerpMapper Partners have access to all data in a record. Other users of HerpMapper and the general public can only see very basic information in your records – they do not have access to exact locality data. Any pictures attached to a record can be seen by everyone, which means you can also see the cool herps being recorded by other people from around the world.
Who are the HerpMapper Partners? For the most part, they are biologists working for state or regional agencies, university researchers, or conservation organizations. A list of HerpMapper Partners is maintained on the HerpMapper website.
Creating An Account
From the main HerpMapper page, click on the Register link and create an account. The Terms of Use and Privacy statements are located there.
Requirements For Creating Records
There is minimum set of requirements for creating a record, including coordinates, and a voucher image or voucher sound file (used for frog or toad calls). The vouchers are important for confirming the identity of the herp. Records can be created using a HerpMapper smartphone app, or by using the website from a computer.
Ideally, photographic vouchers should show characteristics that allow for the identification of an observed amphibian or reptile to species-level. If they do not, please include "comments" describing the characteristics used for identification. Audio vouchers can include one or more species of calling amphibian.
Creating Records Using A Smartphone
You can take advantage of your smartphone's camera and location-finding ability to submit records from anywhere – even if you do not have cellphone signal! To report observations using a smartphone, see the 'Using Mobile Mapper' link. Follow the directions closely, and you will be able to create and upload records in the field in real time. You may want to create a 'test record' as a practice exercise.
Creating Records Using A Computer
You can create records from past observations using images or sound files stored on your computer:
  1. After logging in to HerpMapper, right-click on your name in the upper right-hand corner and select "Upload Files".
  2. From the Upload page, click "+ Add files..." and navigate to one or more files saved on your computer. HerpMapper accepts ".jpg" and ".mp3" file types for vouchers.
  3. After one or more voucher files are selected, click on the blue "Start Upload" box to upload multiple images, or individually select the "Start" box to the right of each voucher. 
  4. After the upload is complete, click again on your name in the upper right-hand corner and select "My Files". 
  5. On the Voucher Files page, each selected voucher file has a check box in the upper left corner. Check each box (or select the 'Toggle All' box on the right) and then click on the "Create New Record" button. 
  6. Fill in the fields on the Add Record page: 
  • 'Species' is a search-and-pick field - for example, if you type 'Crotalus', a pick list with all taxa containing that word will appear, and you can select from the list. You can also type in a common name (such as 'Racer') and get a pick list. If you are unsure of the species, you may leave this field blank.
  • Note: Some cameras include metadata in the image files (such as date, time, geo-location, etc.), HerpMapper will auto-fill this information into the record. Be sure to double-check information for accuracy.
  • If you do not have any data for the longitude and latitude fields, you can use the interactive map to scroll to the correct location. You can switch between Map View and Satellite View. Use the + - slider or a mouse wheel to zoom in; right-click and hold to move around the map. When you find the correct location, right-click and then release to set the location pointer. The pointer can be moved and set again with another right click. Try to be as detailed as possible. Once the location is set, the Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Accuracy, Datum, and Coordinate Source fields are filled.
  • Select the appropriate life stage for the Age field.
  • Additional Notes field: This field is visible to the public, so take care with what information you enter here - be sure to exclude locality descriptions in this field (do not add park names, etc.). Things to include if known: 
    • Total number observed in this area.
    • Natural history observations (mating, eating, courtship, etc.).
    • Method used if actively searching for amphibians / reptiles (e.g., found under log, alive on the road, etc.).
    • Specimen gender, approximate size, or other macro- or micro-habitat variables.
  • Private Notes field: This field is only visible to yourself and HerpMapper partners. Extra locality descriptions and other important information that you do not with the public to see may be entered in this field.
  • Click "Save Record."
  • Double check that all information is correct (including the mapped location)
  • 7) Return to "My Files" and repeat with additional vouchers.
Viewing Your Records
To view records you have entered, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner and select "My Records". To sort / filter your records, expand the "Search Options" section at the top of the My Records page.

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