Feedback on field use of the app

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pieris
Feedback on field use of the app

I used the app for recording (mostly plants) in Ireland, and I really liked using it.  There a few things that could have made it even better (but they might not be easy to fix).

The biggest issue is that the app doesn't give any indication that it is processing when you've tapped something, so it's very easy to think you missed, tap it again - and then it registers two taps and goes into the "Info" section, instead of where you want to be (and it is then very easy to overshoot again, on the way back).  I don't think it's because it was I was in a remote area, as it's just done the same here at home.  It could well be that my phone hasn't got a lot of memory left (it often/mostly takes 6 or 7 seconds to register a tap, which is easily long enough to think nothing is going to happen).  This made recording take quit a bit longer than it needed to.  Two ways that would fix it - either have an indication it the app is 'busy' or else only let it process one tap at a time.  That would be a significant improvement when recording a fairly long list in one place.

The other issue was with adding locations to extra species after I'd identified then later on.  This may just be because the app isn't designed to work in Ireland, as the map stops at the border of Northern Ireland, so I couldn't add them using the map. I couldn't use Irish grid references (at least, I don't think I could), and it isn't possible to add lat/long except by using GPS, so even though I knew the lat and long (from a paper map), I couldn't add them via the app, which was a bit frustrating.  Also, if I saw something in the car, by the time I recorded it, the lat/long were no longer accurate - it would be handy to be able to adjust it afterwards.  Normally, I'd just add them via the website, but our accommodation was wifi-less, and using the website on my phone was too fiddly for using the maps. But this is all probably because the app isn't designed to be used in Ireland - in all other respects it appears to have worked brilliantly there.  Plus, the records all show up nicely on the map of Ireland on the desktop site.

As they are GPS lat/long, not converted to Grid Refs (despite clicking the "translate to grid ref" button - maybe it only works with UK ones), I'm now not sure they would actually be useful records or not, without converting them, which is a bit disappointing, and not something I'd thought of.  All that time spent recording!  Lovely little trail showing my walks though.

It took a while to figure out that the app (at least on my phone) seems to have a limit to how much it will upload in one go.  Eventually I realised that each time I did an upload, some of them went, but they tended to be from the bottom of the list, so it wasn't obvious that anything had happened (I had c 400 records).  It seemed to manage 20 or 30 at a time, so it took a while going backwards and forwards to work out what was going on.  They did all upload eventually. But - I hadn't realised that the app would upload ones that had already been uploaded (with the green aeroplane symbol) again, so now have many multiple copies of records.  (I thought the 'delete uploaded records was just for convenience, so didn't do it after each upload, as it took longer if I had to wait for that too.)

(I have been having a go at converting grid refs, but I'd forgotten that "W" coordinates need a minus-sign in some formats.  Irish gps coordinates seemed to be in Germany, which was puzzling, but I've figured that out now, and only mention it in case it catches someone else out.  I think I should be able to convert the gps to hectad or tetrad grid refs, which will be fine for plant records.)

I think there's been a suggestion earlier about possibly being able to type in standard abbreviations - it it probably too complicated, with so many species in so many groups, but if it were possible, it would be greatly appreciated for species in large genera and/or with long names, as it's very easy to mistype Ranunculus or Scorzoneroides in the field, and you've still got the species name to type in too.

It might also be useful to have a "holding" section of records uploaded to the website, but not yet released to verifiers, but maybe that's just getting too complicated.  I didn't want to keep all my records just on my phone, but still need to go through them and check details for quite a few of them.  I uploaded batches of records as I went along, (when I could get internet acces) so I didn't lose any, but I know I need to check quite a few of them, so it wasn't ideal to upload them all, but the internet connection wasn't good enough to pick and choose which to upload.

Thanks for all the work done on the app - I really enjoyed using it.

karolis
What a beautiful feedback, I

What a beautiful feedback, I love receiving comments like that! I am actually about to push a new app update (v1.2.0) which should fix some of the issues you have experienced.

The biggest issue is that the app doesn't give any indication that it is processing when you've tapped something, so it's very easy to think you missed, tap it again - and then it registers two taps and goes into the "Info" section, instead of where you want to be (and it is then very easy to overshoot again, on the way back).  I don't think it's because it was I was in a remote area, as it's just done the same here at home.  It could well be that my phone hasn't got a lot of memory left (it often/mostly takes 6 or 7 seconds to register a tap, which is easily long enough to think nothing is going to happen).  This made recording take quit a bit longer than it needed to.  Two ways that would fix it - either have an indication it the app is 'busy' or else only let it process one tap at a time.  That would be a significant improvement when recording a fairly long list in one place.

1. This definitely needs a fix. Is it only the home page (records list) that takes so long to open up?

The other issue was with adding locations to extra species after I'd identified then later on.  This may just be because the app isn't designed to work in Ireland, as the map stops at the border of Northern Ireland, so I couldn't add them using the map. I couldn't use Irish grid references (at least, I don't think I could), and it isn't possible to add lat/long except by using GPS, so even though I knew the lat and long (from a paper map), I couldn't add them via the app, which was a bit frustrating.  Also, if I saw something in the car, by the time I recorded it, the lat/long were no longer accurate - it would be handy to be able to adjust it afterwards.  Normally, I'd just add them via the website, but our accommodation was wifi-less, and using the website on my phone was too fiddly for using the maps. But this is all probably because the app isn't designed to be used in Ireland - in all other respects it appears to have worked brilliantly there.  Plus, the records all show up nicely on the map of Ireland on the desktop site.

2. I should add the Irish Grid at some point. For the time being I have added new map options so that you could still select/adjust your location using the map.

As they are GPS lat/long, not converted to Grid Refs (despite clicking the "translate to grid ref" button - maybe it only works with UK ones), I'm now not sure they would actually be useful records or not, without converting them, which is a bit disappointing, and not something I'd thought of.  All that time spent recording!  Lovely little trail showing my walks though.

3. You can export your original Grid Ref's, by visiting website Downloads page and Selecting the survey: iRecord > iRecord App. this should include 'Gridref_calculated' field with the original grid ref's. (I should note this in the app help pages)

It took a while to figure out that the app (at least on my phone) seems to have a limit to how much it will upload in one go.  Eventually I realised that each time I did an upload, some of them went, but they tended to be from the bottom of the list, so it wasn't obvious that anything had happened (I had c 400 records).  It seemed to manage 20 or 30 at a time, so it took a while going backwards and forwards to work out what was going on.  They did all upload eventually. But - I hadn't realised that the app would upload ones that had already been uploaded (with the green aeroplane symbol) again, so now have many multiple copies of records.  (I thought the 'delete uploaded records was just for convenience, so didn't do it after each upload, as it took longer if I had to wait for that too.)

4. This is interesting, I will fix this.

(I have been having a go at converting grid refs, but I'd forgotten that "W" coordinates need a minus-sign in some formats.  Irish gps coordinates seemed to be in Germany, which was puzzling, but I've figured that out now, and only mention it in case it catches someone else out.  I think I should be able to convert the gps to hectad or tetrad grid refs, which will be fine for plant records.)

I think there's been a suggestion earlier about possibly being able to type in standard abbreviations - it it probably too complicated, with so many species in so many groups, but if it were possible, it would be greatly appreciated for species in large genera and/or with long names, as it's very easy to mistype Ranunculus or Scorzoneroides in the field, and you've still got the species name to type in too.

5. Try typing in 'Ran ac', you should find Ranunculus aconitifolius. You can also search from the end of a word. eg 'Ran .lius'

It might also be useful to have a "holding" section of records uploaded to the website, but not yet released to verifiers, but maybe that's just getting too complicated.  I didn't want to keep all my records just on my phone, but still need to go through them and check details for quite a few of them.  I uploaded batches of records as I went along, (when I could get internet acces) so I didn't lose any, but I know I need to check quite a few of them, so it wasn't ideal to upload them all, but the internet connection wasn't good enough to pick and choose which to upload.

6. Yes, looks like this need comes up often. I think we will have to think of something.

 

Thanks again, this is great feedback.
Karolis

Matt Smith
I'd agree we need a "holding

I'd agree we need a "holding section" for uploaded records before they are released for verification.  I would really like to see the facility to upload records to iRecord without the need to have a location name attached.  The location name could be one of the things required before records could be verified, so this would need to be done on the website which is the facility I want to have - the iRecord app purely as a "click and point, sort out locations names later if you need to" recording facility.

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