iRecord App 1.0

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karolis
iRecord App 1.0

We have started working on iRecord mobile application that would allow quick and easy way of entering records in the field using mobile devices. It would be something like iRecord Grasshoppers/Butterflies/Dragonflies apps, only without species ID guides and supporting full UK species list.

We have gathered best ideas and made an app mockup. It would be great to hear some more feedback on the functionality or design!

Matt Smith
App

An iRecord "General" app would be very useful, I could see myself using it for "ad-hoc" recording of species if I am away from my usual "net and notebook" setup, I am not allowed to take these for BBQs or family weddings and the like, and it would save me having to remember what I saw when.  A couple of comments on the functionality.

It would be very handy to define a list of species that I regularly record rather than having to search the entire species list each time - I hope that is what I can see in one of the design outlines.

I am concious that big apps can devour battery and phone memory, and that some features can cause a lot of work / lag on phones.  I would only want to see the "species recording" side of things built into the app.  I have no interest in any maps / statistics / league tables etc etc and would never use them on my phone or in the field, if I wanted to look at stuff like this I would come and look at it directly from iRecord on the PC.  Don't waste time adding this stuff in.

Essentially, I just want a "point and click" recording facility on my phone - spot the bug - perhaps take a photo - click on the name on my predefined list - press "Record" and done, repeat for next species.  I want to be able to do this rapidly.  I know the current iRecord Grasshopper app asks for a site name but this slows the whole recording process down immensely on a phone.  I would really want to make records on the phone without having to enter a site name at any point - an OS grid reference should be enough.  Extras like this could be added later via the PC.  Perhaps the "Site Name" requirement could be an option - with "yes" the record can go through straight to iRecord, with "no" the record would require you to add this info later at the PC.

Data upload to iRecord should be a separate function such that you are not asked / waste time trying to upload a record after each sighting, particularly in areas with poor data signals.   Upload could be automatic, but I would really like the facility have a setting to "upload all" at the end of a day when I am somewhere with a 4G signal.

PeteMella
I agree with Matt - I'd

I agree with Matt - I'd rather go through all my records and add a place name later than faff about adding one in the field.

Which operating system are you working on?

karolis
Thanks

Great, thanks to both. I think adding the option to build up your lists of species is something I would also like the app to have at some point.

"I am concious that big apps can devour battery and phone memory, and that some features can cause a lot of work / lag on phones.  I would only want to see the "species recording" side of things built into the app."

Yes, such an app must be responsive even on older phones and this is definitely one of our goals. We are planning to start the app with recording functionality only and then see how it goes with the rest - whether there is a need to add these extra features or not.

"I would really want to make records on the phone without having to enter a site name at any point - an OS grid reference should be enough.  Extras like this could be added later via the PC."

Agree, I think this will be optional like in iRecord Dragonflies app.

"Upload could be automatic, but I would really like the facility have a setting to "upload all" at the end of a day when I am somewhere with a 4G signal."

I think it would be best if there was a user option to turn off/on auto sychronisation with iRecord.

 

Thanks again for the comments! :)

karolis
"Which operating system are

"Which operating system are you working on?"

It would be cross platform - a web based app that could run on any device with a modern browser on it. Check the iRecord Dragonflies.

Matt Smith
Text

Having used the iRecord Grasshopper app a few times in the field, the thing I found most frustrating was the requirement to fill in the various text fields.  By the time my far fingers had filled in the boxes (after I had worked out the name of the place I was nearest to) then my grasshopper had gone.  I'm hoping the "fill in most of the text later on the PC" option is up towards the top of the list as well.  It would be simple enough to hold "incomplete" records at the iRecord end after upload from the app and prevent them from moving on to the validation stage if they were not fully completed.

karolis
Minimum required fields

Yes, if you select to do the survey on the Grasshoppers app, then it asks you to fill in some more information before selecting the first species. I think that the simplest approach would be not to enforce the user to type in the unnecessary fields on the app, nor on the website. The Location/Date/Species would still be required as a minimum, but apart from the last one it could all be done by the app in the background automatically.

As it is in the mockup, the green recording button at the bottom would take you directly to the species pickup field. After the species has been selected then with another tap one can start typing another species name and so on, leaving the date/location to be picked up automatically by the app. If the app can't find your location (eg. geolocation is turned off) then it would just mark the sighting entry as incomplete on the app and not submit until it is resolved. This way one could build the list of species quickly and fill in the details after the list is complete on the app and on iRecord website after the sightings have been submitted. 

 

 

Matt Smith
comment

A quick question first.  You say the app will be browser based.  Does this mean a user will require a data connection to a website the entire time the app is in use or not?  I go to plenty of places with no mobile phone coverage.  I would hope that the app is "stand-alone", or at least "stand-alone" when using User Defined lists.

 

Minimum required fields are "who, what where & when".  "Who" and "when" would come from the phone and basic info stored when the app is set up. "Where" is the OS Grid Ref grabbed from the gps.  Ideally, I would want the ability to chose "what" from an off-line, user defined species list (say 20-30 species max) or one of several possible lists if there is room.  All I would have to do is scroll through the list, click on the species and press "record".  I don't see myself wanting to use the app for the whole range of species, just the ones I regularly record and have no need to provide a photo for.  I literally want "scroll - click - done" and be able to make a record or records in seconds.

 

Have the facilties for an "all species search" and "take a photo" and record it etc, but the app should have the ability to turn off / ignore most of the app and just go "point click record".

 

karolis
Agree. The app will work

Agree. The app will work offline and need a network connection only when updating/synchronising records and related information. So it should work like the iRecord Dragonflies app.

Alan Rowland
iRecord App

I eagerly await this app.

I agree with all that has been said.  Given that by definition we will be using ti "in the field" we should have various options for use.  1 Basic stripped down that allows you to record WHAT you see WHO and WHEN should be automatic from the phone..  2 More interactive mode to include the WHERE (when you have a GPS signal or decide to enter site details).  3 Full bells and whistle mode - for use on iPad or when you are plugged in with the abiliity to upload from phone to laptop/PC/iPad to enter fuller details when you decide to do so.

If there is an option to have a choice of group of species for specialist recording that is good, but where you are bioblitzing it would be good to input anything then do the checks back at home.

I've looked at the mock up and it does seem to have most of these options i would just like to be able to restrict them to save battery and inputting time.

Keep up the good work!

pieris
Can't wait

Looking forward to testing the real thing.  Looks good.  A few random thoughts.

I agree, I'm not so interested in data analysis on my phone, just the convenience of a memory jog to upload at home later - maybe into a separate section of the irecord home page for incomplete records?   I do like being able to record and upload and not need to come back to the data again for records without any queries though, so good to have that option.  

On the birdtrack app, there's an option to search for recent local records, at various ranges, which I have used a few times when looking for migrants.  That's not something that's a key wanted feature, but as an option, searching maps might be useful.  

I use both the butterfly and ladybird apps, and find them easy to use.  It's quite a bit quicker to use the ladybird one because it doesn't ask for a site name.  Names are useful for cross-checking when grid refs come from maps, but maybe less so with gps.  

Having the option to download just the list of species recorded before on irecord (or a subset) does sound like a good way to speed things up and reduce power use.  

I like the icon choice for taxa groups for recording - a good way to get round the magpie/peacock issue.  Or is it to speed up download of lists?

Is the idea behind the app to meet the needs of people already recording, or to bring in new recorders?  Two rather different motivations.

karolis
Thanks Alan and Pieris for

Thanks Alan and Pieris for your comments. And enthusiasm! Sounds like everyone wants the app to be slim and responsive, which is great - less work for me! I think, the app target audience would be our current iRecord users, so supporting their needs is a priority. On the other hand, bringing more people on board would be great and so we should keep the app user friendly .

The app would have all UK species by default, which should make some things easier e.g. no list downloading and setting would be required prior the app use. Hopefully, this would not hit the performance. I also agree that it would be nice to allow users to define species lists and for the app to remember user species recorded before. Or making 'smart' suggestions taking into account things like user favourites, previous searches and maybe even, time of year or location. 

@Pieris: Yes, these icons are used to get round the taxon issues

 

Matt Smith
smart

Please - no "smart suggestions" or any "extras" - I will be recording what I see and nothing else - prompting to look for "species X" is not what I want and I think most users would find it irritating unless you could turn the function off.  As long as we can have user defined species lists to scroll through then I will be happy.

As you say, build a "slim an responsive app".  Get the basics sorted first - once that is up an running then you can bolt on all the "extras", provided of course that all of them can be turned off at the request of the user.

enpjp
Keep it Simple

I agree with the "keep it simple" philosphy as I am someone who turns all the "help" off on my systems as generally I find it a hinderance.

These days I seldom venture out without a smartphone or tablet, so would find an iRecord app really useful.  I find I often take record shots with the phone. The iPhone is reasonable at closeups and works well digiscoping, so being able to attach photos directly would be a help.

 

I look forward to trying it out when it becomes available.

 

Regards

 

Paul

karolis
Great. I have started the app

Great. I have started the app development couple weeks ago and so far it all goes really well. Have just added in the feature to snap a photo first and set its taxa afterwards. It is going to be simple, I promise :) 

karolis
iRecord App Alpha

Dear all,

The spring is coming soon with all the awakening life that it brings, so we are happy to announce that after taking into account comments and wishes, we have developed the initial iRecord App (alpha) version that you can help us to test now. The website link is:

http://alpha.irecord.org.uk

The app allows you to record and submit to our test database your species sightings from mobile devices. It is linked to the iRecord test website so all submitted records should be also listed on your iRecord user account on the test database where you can then edit and manage them further. Currently the main app features are:

  • Full UK species list (71K taxa)
  • Rapidly enter a species list, with options to add more details for each observation
  • Recording species location using GPS, OS maps and Grid Reference, Stage, Number, Comment and a Photo
  • Ability to lock an attribute (e.g. stage) that will then be carried over to subsequent records

There are few things to take in mind. This website app is currently working online only, so it will not open up on your browser if there is no network connection, and it is also linked to our testing environment -  iRecord Test, so all the records submitted through the app will be stored on the testing site and then later discarded, so you shouldn't worry about the quality of the data submitted. Also, your current iRecord accounts on the live website (www.brc.ac.uk/irecord) will not work on this iRecord Test website so will have to create a new one through the app or the website itself. Finally, it only works on modern browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox and only Internet Explorer 11 and Edge are currently supported, as the functionality degrades with lesser versions.

This current version does not have much documentation or guidance, but it should be quite straightforward to use, so hopefully you should pick up the navigation and record submission without much struggle. After the app has been tested and updated with the fixes, we will add more information screens and info. Here is the current list of our TODO's:

  • Adding more information pages and guidance
  • Allowing to add multiple photos per sighting
  • Allow recording at the Genus level
  • Link to the main iRecord database 
  • Pushing app to iOS and Android app stores

It would be great if you could find some time to try it and see how it works. What matters now is to check whether it meets your expectations and also to test it thoroughly.

Many thanks!

Matt Smith
App

Are we just looking to test the App functionality via the website at present, as I cannot see a link to an App download?

Do we report problems in this thread?

 

Alan Rowland
Download

Matt

I accessed it on my phone via the web page then made a shortcut on my phone desktop.  When I click on this I get to use it.  I have used it both at home and on a dog walk and am still evaluating it.  Reports will be later this week.  Seems ok for an alpha.

Regards

Alan

 

karolis
Hi Matt,

Hi Matt,

Yes, we are testing the website functionality currently. For the beta version I am also checking if it is worth wrapping it all up as an app that we can put on an app store. Here is some info how you can bookmark the website to your homescreen and that will bring you some better experience with the alpha app testing:

http://www.howtogeek.com/196087/how-to-add-websites-to-the-home-screen-on-any-smartphone-or-tablet/

Yes, please post your comments here in the thread.

Thanks,
Karolis

 

 

Matt Smith
Testing

I have managed to load up the app website and bookmark the page on my Android phone.  In the long term I think it would be better in terms of potential recorders gaining access to it if it were packaged up as a full App that could be downloaded from the App store.

Issues noted.

The species list for record selection does not load correctly.   Typing "Bombus" into the app does not bring up the full list of species that appears on the iRecord "Enter a Casual Record" screen.

The species list does not appear to handle well species names that have the subgenera in parenthesis.  Typing "Bombus" works up to the point of showing a list of Bombus species (but see related comment above), the first of which is "Bombus (Megabombus) ruderatus".  If I type "Bombus (M" then that brings up a list of three species in that subgenera to select from.  However, I would suggest no recorder thinks in terms of subgenera when recording species and would normally expect to select a name without need to know the subgenera.  However, typing "Bombus r" returns a blank list, so it appears if the subgenera are confusing things.

It is too easy to delete a record from the list of records - deletion is a "1 press and its gone" function.  Needs an "are you sure" step here

"Add a record" function needs to be more obvious, not immeadiately clear how to add things to the list - a nice big "Add a Record" button in the middle of the screen would be better.  Same for "Add a photo"

As records are entered they stay on the screen and begin to form a list.  My preference would be for the screen to clear after each individual record is entered, if you wanted to see a list of records you had entered then would go to a seperate screen to manage them.

Number of individuals screen needs a free text field to allow recorder to enter exact quantity.

 

Matt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

admin
hi Matt.  

hi Matt.  

Thanks for finding the time to try this out.

A few responses:

We will package as an App but it is simpler during development to have as a web app.

Agreed that the species selection is a priority to get right, and will be a focus for the next test version

We'd aim to add some help/tutorial to make it more obvious how to add records.  We won't make the buttons more obvious because once learnt it should be clear, and we do not want to clutter up the design.

Agreed about a warning about deletion, or at least a setting to enable a warning

We'll stick to the 'list' idea as this one of the main design ideas.  The list is built quickly and reviewed, with the option to add more details to individual observations - rather than add the detail with each entry.

Agreed about the need for more flexibility to enter quantities - this is already on our list.

David

Alan Rowland
Alpha trial

I have given this a trial over the last couple of days on my Android phone.

I find it quite intuitive and quite easily found my way around to be able to record what I have chosen to record.

A few ponts though.  At home on my wifi it is fine, but once outside (in the remotes of North Cornwall) I struggle to get a singal or GPS so the ability to record and store would be useful.  

I found that if I record then photograph it is cumbersome to link the picture - photograph then record links much more easily.

So, having struggle with this, I have a record I wish to delete and unlike Matt cannot find a delete option!

It would be good to be able to pull up the partially recorded list on my PC so that I coudl more easily amend/correct/add detial rather than fiddel about on a phone keyboard.

i will keep "playing" with it and do hope that these test records will be wiped at some stage please.

Regards

Alan

 

karolis
Hi Alan,

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the feedback! To delete a record try swiping it left on your touch screen, sorry, I should have mentioned that earlier.

You are right about the need to add a photo after a record has been created - I am currently working on it, so that one could add and update multiple photos per record.

For managing the partially recorded list, I think this would be very useful and I hope we will add this functionallity some time in the future. Once the current app features are robust, I should start working on a better app integration with iRecord Database, so that a record could be added and updated on both the iRecord website and the app.

Keep posting your ideas, this is all very usefull!

Thanks,

Karolis

Alan Rowland
Delete

Karolis

Thanks, the delete works fine.

Off out to Bude Canal with phone

Alan

 

Matt Smith
Feedback

Thanks for the reply.  Re your comment about "lists" - I know this was discussed in other threads but I am not sure we are talking about the same functionality here.

At present, as far as I can see, currently every time a record is entered it is just added to the list of existing records already in the system - I presume this list will just scroll up the screen.  I can't really see the point to this to be honest as the screen will just fill up with a list of stuff while the command/menu items are hidden away in the corners.

My request for a "list feature" is something completely different.  What I would like to see is a user defined list of "favourite" species that can be pulled up on screen (similar in look to the current grasshopper app perhaps) - with records being generated by simply clicking on 1 or more species in the list.  I would really expect to see any "record management" (ie uploading to iRecord / editing of records prior to upload etc) be carried out under a seperate menu/screen.   From a design point of view, I would suggest the main screen just have 4 or 5 obvious function buttons - add a record, add a photo, use a list, manage records, settings.

Alan Rowland
Offline mode

I think there needs to be some sort of offline mode.  Living and recording where I do - on the edge of a mobile cell - I am often out of range of a mast.  

When I try to use the app I am told I am offline.

Could we have a facility that allows us to record what we see then fill in details and send them at our leisure?  I know the species list is currently online but is it sufficiently compact to be downloaded for offline use?

 

davidgenney
iRecord App 1.0

Hi Karolis,

I haven't been on the forum for a while and was just popping on to look for something else when I spotted this thread.  I'm really pleased to see this under development - exciting news!  I've only had a quick test so far but, having read back through the previous posts, I think the following are new, albeit minor, suggestions:

  1. I tried to add a location name (the original location was set by the phone's GPS).  I eventually worked out that a location name could be added by clicking on the 'Grid Ref' tab. Perhaps this is something that people will learn with future guidance but would it also be possible to add a location name under each location input method tab?
  2. It would be useful to see the site name against the record in the summary page if this doesn't introduce too much clutter.  At the moment you have to click on location and then the grid ref tab to see the given location name.
  3. I see that the 'Past' location tab includes all grid references and location names. It might be useful to alow users to clear redundent past locations with a swipe to the left - or ask before saving a location as with the web entry system?
  4. It's great to have the OS background for the map location selection. Will this be available in the offline version of the app? I don't know much about how this works but I presume there would be a need to cache an area whilst online before heading out to the field.
  5. Finally, although I think this has already been mentioned, it will be useful to be able to add multiple images to a record from the camera.  I usually take a species shot or two and then a habitat context shot.

This is a brilliant start so thanks for making progress.

Matt Smith
Not having delved quite as

Not having delved quite as far into the app as David has done, I just have a comment regarding the "direction" and functionality of the app.

Reading through Davids post he mentions a "summary page" for records.  Is this equivalent to the list of records that the app generates when being used?  My understanding of the purpose of this app is that it is purely an "in the field" data capture app, but it seems to me that possibly some users are expecting to be able to to do more in the way of record management via the app than others.

I think the idea to have a saved list of "favourite locations", complete with all the relevent details, that would allow users to select site info for a regularly visited site is a good idea, and should work in tandem with the requested "favourite species" lists.  However, once the records are uploaded from the app to the website I would expect them all to be cleared off of the app, with all amendments and record management being carried out directly via the website and "non-phone" faciliies - eg PC or tablets.  I wonder if you could clarify this for us please.

karolis
Thanks everyone for the

Thanks everyone for the comments.

To Matt:
I see what you mean with the favorite species list or a 'predefined' scrollable list. I think this would be useful, but only if the species list is short, otherwise users would still need to use search to find taxa. Having a main screen with buttons linking to different pages would require the same amount of clicks to make a new record as you would then first have to open the favorite species list and click on a taxa. If we do the predefined lists feature I think it could possibly be part of the taxon search page, only displayed bellow the search bar by default.

I think there are a few points in having your previous records listed on the main page view. First, it is a common usage pattern - notebook/todo apps, news feeds etc. So people expect to see their (and sometimes other peoples) records as the main page. Like opening an email client you would not expect a new email page, but rather previous and new emails. Also, I currently haven't found any quicker way to make a record. As it currently stands, after launching the app it takes one click to start typing a species name and then another click to start changing the record attributes (or two clicks if you coming from the list page). I would welcome any ideas how to make this quicker.

To Alan:
Yes, the app will work totally offline. Currently it is on-line only because it is easier to test and update some certain features, but the Beta version that will be connected to the real iRecord database will work offline.

To David:
Thanks for the suggestions.
1. I agree, we should put this into the guidelines. Currently, you can acquire your location through a map or GPS and then update that location on the grid ref tab with a location name. In other words, once the location for a record is changed all the tabs reflect the change by updating themselves, eg. the map zooms in and centers and grid ref tab updates the filled in grid ref with the new one. To put the location name inside other Tabs - map and GPS, would be useful, but unfortunately the map is already too small on some mobile screens, so maybe then displaying it on the GPS tab. I need to play around with this and see if something could work.
2. Maybe a user setting for using a 'Site Name' instead of Lat/Lon or Grid ref on the main page? I will make it that the location name is also displayed bellow the current record location in the location page header.
3. Yes, good idea to allow some way to manage the past locations.
4. That's a good question about caching maps. Actually, the app already caches the OS map tiles that you visit. But only for a 24h since this is part of OS policy. I guess, we could provide some functionality for caching a user defined map area some time in the future, but most likely that would be for OpenStreetMap tiles only.
5. I have just finished developing this functionality, so I will let you know when I have uploaded an updated alpha version.

 

Thanks,

Karolis

davidgenney
iRecord App 1.0

Thanks for the positive response Karolis. Regarding the OS tiles, this isn't too big an issue in my opinion.  It's nice to have, and in most cases it will be possible to refresh the cash every 24h.  I would personally prefer a 24h OS backdrop to a longer lasting Open street map - if it's an option of one or the other.  I find the latter doesn't give much detail when I'm in the middle of the Highlands. It isn't difficult to get OS maps on a smart phone through other means though, and assuming GPS is working, site names can be added when back at the PC.

Alan Rowland
I am still finding it

I am still finding it difficult to get a location - probably my old phine/gps setup.  However I can navigate to my map location and select it there.

 

It would be most usefull if I could easily name a location so that if my gps is still struggling i can simply select the location.  If I could remember all the grid refs this would not be an issue, but they all look the same to me!

 

I see that the 'Past' location tab includes all grid references and location names. It might be useful to alow users to clear redundent past locations with a swipe to the left - or ask before saving a location as with the web entry system?

karolis
Hi All,

Hi All,

I have done a bunch of changes to the app, but you will need to clear your browser history for the app to work correctly.

  • I have added the ability to swipe off the past locations (only touch devices), so now you can manage them better. 
  • The location name (if exists) is also show on the location page header.
  • Added photo picker on the record edit page, you can add multiple photos now.
  • Improved the sending of a record - once you press the paper plane button (submit button) it will set it for submission and will try to send it, but if failed to do that (e.g. no network connection) then you will still be able to edit the record. Only after it has been successfully submitted it will be locked for making changes now. 
  • Expanded the species list with other categories like subspecies, variations, genuses and above, so 70k -> 100k. Optimized the species list a bit so now it is searched quicker on older phones as well.
  • Showing the informal species group next to searched taxa 
  • Improved the search of the taxa with shortcuts, to find 'Locust Bean Moth' you can type:
  1. lo bean
  2. loc b
  3. l be .th

And I have fixed a list of other little bugs. I hope I haven't introduced any new ones! Try the app out and let me know how it works. 

Thanks,

Karolis

Matt Smith
Search

Is the classic "Recorder" style search available - first 2 letters of the generic name plus first 3 letters of the specific name?

karolis
Hi Matt, 

Hi Matt, 

Yes, this should work. The search does not restrict with how many characters you type before it starts searching. To find 'Puffinus puffinus' you can type:

  • puf pu
  • pu pu
  • p puf
  • p .nus
charlesroper
This is great Karolis!

This is great Karolis!

I've shared with a few colleagues here at FSC.

One question I have: are you planning on being able to join activities? We're working with John on enhancing the activities in the "desktop" iRecord and I can see being able to join and input against an activity would be massively useful.

Anyway, really teriffic work. I really love what you've done so far.

Charles

--

Charles Roper

IT Development Officer, Field Studies Council

http://www.field-studies-council.org

 

charlesroper
puf pu

puf pu
pu pu
p puf
p .nus

 

Would it also be possible to do abbreviations the way Recorder 6 and iRecord desktop does them? E.g., type pupuf (no space).

admin
hi Charles

hi Charles

Thanks for looking at this and passing onto others.  We want to keep the App as simple as possible for the first release - and focus solely on efficiency of entering observations using an App.  We'll then look at how to integrate with other elements of iRecord (sites, activities, reports, notifications etc).  It would be good to have your ideas about how the activities could link in.

all the best

David

 

 

charlesroper
Thanks David. I'll have a

Thanks David. I'll have a think about it and discuss with others here at FSC.

To throw an initial sketch of an idea out there, I was thinking of an item in the menu called "activities" which brings up a list of activities you're already part of, and a search box to find those you're not part of (and perhaps a browsable list). You'd tap on an activity to switch to it, and then the UI would clearly indicate that you're entering against that activity. Simple as that really.

Alan Rowland
Species Missing

Since returning from a week away - out of internet contact - I find that all the entries I have made and a new one today show "Species missing" in red.  All the other information is still present, just the species name missing.  Is it me?

karolis
Hi Alan,

Hi Alan,

I have changed the underlying data structure of the app so you should clear the browser history first (that will wipe the records) to get the new changes working. Let me know if it still doesn't work.

Karolis

karolis
Beta testing

Hi all,

I have improved the code again, but haven't pushed any changes to the web app yet. We are currently preparing for Beta app testing next week. It will be mainly to see how the app behaves on real mobile devices, but also trying the new features. The app will be a hybrid app that you can get from an app store, so it would be great to know who would like to try it out on their smartphones and what phone platforms (iOS or Android) do you have. Let me know here and I will send you an invitation to test it out!

Thanks,

Karolis 

charlesroper
Hi Karolis. Will it still be

Hi Karolis. Will it still be available as a web app in the mobile browser? I much prefer using the browser for infrequently used apps (I've already got too many apps!). I'll give the hybrid app a test though. I'm on Android.

Cheers

Charles

Matt Smith
Beta

I'd like to Beta test it - Android phone.

debs_wallace@ya...
Feedback for alpha test app

 

I have been testing this for a few weeks now and have found this version simple to use. I have also lost the species names for all of the records which I entered before 19.2.16 and even after clearing my history, these have not returned. They must be there in the background because I get a very brief (less than a second) screen which shows the original names, this disappears and the screen with the red 'Species missing' comes up. As these are real records which I intend to submit I would like to get at them.

I have a bit of general feedback and some which is taxa specific:

Generally I really like it. Well done. If I can record when I am out in the field I will record more and contribute more.

  • I really like the ability to add photos.
  • I agree that it is currently too easy to accidently delete records.
  • Number / abundance - Please would you introduce the facility for the recorder to enter an actual accurate number (in addition to being able to select one of the ranges).
  • Do you plan to include any other sort of abundance recording (DAFOR / DOMIN) or will you keep it numerical? Numbers can sometimes be difficult with plants, lichens, bryophytes.
  • Are you making the assumption that all records are 'Field Records' or would you consider adding a field for record type e.g. feeding signs, droppings, camera traps, bat detector, light traps etc?
  • I record many different taxonomic groups and these require different additional fields. e.g. breeding status, sex, substrate and habitat.

If I submit records for birds, I need to include sex, breeding code (e.g. S for singing male, T for territory, FL for recently fledged young), I often need to record an accurate number and recording between 6 - 20 is too vague.

Records for Lepidoptera need to include its stage (e.g. lava, pupa, adult), often its sex

Records for plants need to include if it is flowering, seed, in leaf etc.

Fungi, lichens and bryophytes need substrate (and often habitat too)

I can see on the BLS web site that you have already worked with them in relation the lichen recording as there is a page on their web site linking to your web site and the specific lichen recording activity. I would like the ability to enter all of this information in the field as I do not want to do it twice nor do I want to submit records using the app. which does not contain all of the relevant information for lichens.

Have you had similar collaboration with other recording societies?

The way that I would like to use this app in the future is for field recording; therefore, if the species name that I select is a bird I would like the app to give me the options to record the fields which relate to birds (and exclude irrelevant ones e.g. if it is flowering).

If I record bryophytes, lichens or fungi I would like to be able to see a field for its substrate, reproductive status and other relevant information but not irrelevant fields.

Can you do that?

Any analysis of data that I do would be done on a computer using my iRecord account rather than on the app, although seeing the records on a map on the app is a nice thing to do.

I would like to test the beta version and I have an iphone.

Thanks

Debs

 

Alan Rowland
Beta testing

Karolis

I got your email and navigated to the url on my phone.  There it advised that as I already had the app, to wait for an automatic download.  This has not happened and as I still want to carry on testing, I am unsure how to progress

Alan

davidgenney
Beta app

Looking great Karoils, although I'll have to wait till back from holiday to test properly. Lots of good things but for now I have a couple of potential bugs to report:

1) My records are syncing with the web but only recording the genus....The species name has been lost.

2) A couple of records haven't appeared on the website but are locked and flagged as uploaded according to the app.

3) Photos taken within the app do not appear in my phone gallery and I can't find then anywhere in my phone directory. Obviously I want access to the full resolution images.

I'll come back with more comments when I've had time test further.

Exciting developments!

davidgenney
Beta app - Issues added to GitHub now

Hi Karolis,

I've added these issues to GitHub now.

All the best.

karolis
Update

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments, this is the longest thread now in the whole forum! For those that don't know, we have an app issue tracking system with some discussions going on certain issues/ideas. You can find it here: https://github.com/NERC-CEH/irecord-app/issues

We have removed the alpha web app and created a development web app: http://dev.irecord.org.uk where we will test all new features, so now it is updated with the most recent code. Like an Alpha version it is linked to the development warehouse so you can feel free to play around and mess things up :) all the records will be discarded and will not affect the main database.

The hybrid mobile app which is in Beta now we are testing on Android devices and it is linked to the live database, so your records are valid.
 

To iOS users that want to test the app:

Sorry for the wait, I haven't forgotten you (!), just want to fix some issues reported from Android users before making it available on iOS. I will send the invitions to test the app once it is updated and on the app store.

To David:

Good testing! Thanks a lot for reporting these issues, I am fixing them now, and thanks for putting them on the issue tracking system it makes it easier to track what is important.

To Debs:

Sorry about the records you have lost. The Alpha version was linked to the development warehouse and so I hoped that it was clear that the records will be discarded. The iOS version of the app will be linked to the live database and I will invite you once it is ready for testing. Here are some answers to your questions:

Number / abundance - Please would you introduce the facility for the recorder to enter an actual accurate number (in addition to being able to select one of the ranges).

Yes, I will add this in, here you can find a discussion on this.

Do you plan to include any other sort of abundance recording (DAFOR / DOMIN) or will you keep it numerical? Numbers can sometimes be difficult with plants, lichens, bryophytes.
Are you making the assumption that all records are 'Field Records' or would you consider adding a field for record type e.g. feeding signs, droppings, camera traps, bat detector, light traps etc?
I record many different taxonomic groups and these require different additional fields. e.g. breeding status, sex, substrate and habitat.
If I submit records for birds, I need to include sex, breeding code (e.g. S for singing male, T for territory, FL for recently fledged young), I often need to record an accurate number and recording between 6 - 20 is too vague.
Records for Lepidoptera need to include its stage (e.g. lava, pupa, adult), often its sex
Records for plants need to include if it is flowering, seed, in leaf etc.
Fungi, lichens and bryophytes need substrate (and often habitat too)
If I record bryophytes, lichens or fungi I would like to be able to see a field for its substrate, reproductive status and other relevant information but not irrelevant fields.
The way that I would like to use this app in the future is for field recording; therefore, if the species name that I select is a bird I would like the app to give me the options to record the fields which relate to birds (and exclude irrelevant ones e.g. if it is flowering).

These are very good ideas, we will be working on dynamic attributes - generating different attributes and values depending on what species group has been selected. 

Any analysis of data that I do would be done on a computer using my iRecord account rather than on the app, although seeing the records on a map on the app is a nice thing to do.

Nice point! I would also like to see a map of the records on the app.

I can see on the BLS web site that you have already worked with them in relation the lichen recording as there is a page on their web site linking to your web site and the specific lichen recording activity. I would like the ability to enter all of this information in the field as I do not want to do it twice nor do I want to submit records using the app. which does not contain all of the relevant information for lichens.

Have you had similar collaboration with other recording societies?

I am not sure if I got your question right, but the Lichen App works offline and so you can capture the species in the field. All the apps we have are here, so most of them one way or another are linked to recording societies.

 

Thanks all! Try the development version (or Android) and keep us updated with issues.

Matt Smith
Interesting to read the

Interesting to read the comments about different peoples with list.  From my point of view, I want the app to be as "light" as possible so it is not making demands on phone processing power, battery life or had to be in range of a data signal all the time.  For me, the main function off the app should be a "portable field notebook" / data collection adjunct to iRecord itself.  I want to do have to do the very minimum in the field with the app - essentially "point and click" - record made.  Dynamic attributes - good.  I still really want to see the facility for users to define a list of "favourite species", ones they regularly records, so I can just select 1,2,3,4 on the list and press "record" - all done, all records generated - saved offline until I get within WiFi range.

I cannot see the need for any sort of record mapping in the app.  If you want record mapping and all the bells and whistles of iRecord than you may just as well take iRecord into the field instead.  Save the bells and whistles for the PC, or the tablet and browser when you are connected to your home WiFi.  Now, if you could "colour code" your own records to show if they were app records or "standard" records, that might be fun.

Matt Smith
Buttons.

An the app, any chance we could have initial button re-labeled to simply say "Enter a Record" - the current "Lets add one !" seems a little too childish.

GrahamCheckley
Locations

First of all this is an excellent piece of development work, it looks really handy. A question though about locations, I have got a couple of locations defined on the test system but they don't appear or seem to be used in any way by the development web application. Am I wrong in thinking they should be? Also, I note that I don't seem to be able to edit records input through the application when they are in iRecord - I wanted to try and change the location name but the record would not save.

Best regards
Graham

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