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Thread: Bird recording software

  1. #1
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    Default Bird recording software

    Howdy everyone,

    This gets discussed regularly everywhere, and I keep saying "BirdInfo, BirdInfo". But it's out of action. and I now have to type in 2010 instead of 10 to get the year right, which has spurred me into action. I have said before I'd write a replacement program, which I will make freely available for the whole world to download. I am writing said program right now. Bit scary that I'd rather write several thousand lines of code rather than type in "20" before each year entry, but you get that.

    Sorry Steve - it's not command line Perl, but will be purty with a nice interface, written in Python/wxpython with a sqlite backend.

    So - I have some questions for you, the birder, who may indeed use the program.

    1. Do you count numbers of birds seen? Do you care about recording numbers seen?
    2. Do you want a seperate check box or soemthign for birds heard?
    3. Are you happy to basically choose a location visited, choose a date, then check birds off a list and hit "submit" or similar to add them to a database, putting in numbers seen afterwards, or do you want to enter each species and numbers seen everytime. Obviously if you don't count numbers, you'd probably be happy to do the first bit.
    4. Do you want to tick off thigns other than birds? ie: mammals, reptiles, insects?
    5. What taxonomy do you want to be able to choose from? The options are (I'm at work so forgive me if I skip any bleeding obvious ones) Sibley & Monroe, Clements, and Christidis & Boles. There will definitely be C&B, but it's going to be just as easy to add the others.
    6. What OS do you people use?
    7. I had some other things to ask, but I can't remember them.

    There'll be a species browser which will (initially) will have common name, latin name (with any differences over the 3+ checklists), (eventually) a brief history of taxonomic changes, and ideally an option to link to a photo, either one of your own throuhg a local system link, or over the intertubes to flickr - I'll try and limit it to the field guide to the birds of the world group so that it's at least been vetted slightly and will probably be correct.

    So yeah, what features would you like to see? I'm aiming to have something at an alpha or possibly beta stage by start of semester 1 (so in 2 months time) so if you'd like to do some testing let me know. If I get it to a stable (albeit, basic) I'll release it to the world, and then polish it when I can. The source will be completely open source, so people will be free to have a lash and fix/improve/finish whatever they want to do with it.

    I will not and do not want to make any money from this at all, it's more trying to make a better wheel. i don't care if I'm the only user in the end either, I'm going to make the program (it's halfway there, afterall, and is currently in use by me, so I've already achieved my main aim), but I may as well try and accommodate other peoples wants if I can. It will do most of the things that I find useful in BirdInfo, but not everything (there's a bit of double up with BI that I'm avoiding with my program).

    ATM - it's called Sandpiper, but in keeping with the whole "put the name of the coding language in the title" thing, it might become SandPYper or something. but that's a bit naff. I'll worry about the name later. Got some error messages to sort out first.

    Cheers
    Troy
    Aus Life List: 508 - Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Sydney Pelagic, 13/8/11
    2011 List: 302 - Channel-billed Cuckoo, Concord, 10/10/11

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    And can one of the lovely mods please move this into the computers etc section - that's probably where it should go.
    Aus Life List: 508 - Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Sydney Pelagic, 13/8/11
    2011 List: 302 - Channel-billed Cuckoo, Concord, 10/10/11

    My photos
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    Hi Troy - thread moved as per your wish
    I must admit that i don't really use much in the way of bird recording software - already got too many things to carry/think about.
    I have used the Birdsight app on my iphone in the field a few times but never done anything with it. I was inspired a few years ago to add to Birdata but have gotten really lazy about it.
    Personally if i'm going to make the time to keep accurate records i want the info to be useful. I confess that another reason i have n't done anythng is that i get confused with all the different options with Eremea etc etc that I just put it in the too hard basket.
    Not sure if that answers any of your questions? Will your software be able to upload to Birdata?
    I use a Mac if that's of any interest too.
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS - Lord Howe Island - 29th November - 6th December 2017.

    Aus Life List IOC= 680 - Lord Howe Woodhen
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    Thanks Dave.

    Yeah - it'll (ideally/eventually) export to Birddata, eremeaeaeaaea, Atlas etc etc... ideally with a press this button, enter your login details and away it goes.

    Mac eh. I have no idea how to compile programs for running on a mac, but I'll cross that path when I get there. I think my sister has a mac as well, so I might experiment with that part on her machine, and then get you and any other mac users to test the end result.

    I'm pretty thingy with my data, having always kept pretty detailed records, so as I say - it's mainly for me, but if others can find a use for it, I'm happy to share the fruits of my labour.

    Anyway - it won't be available for public consumption for a bit yet. couple of months minimum.

    T
    Aus Life List: 508 - Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Sydney Pelagic, 13/8/11
    2011 List: 302 - Channel-billed Cuckoo, Concord, 10/10/11

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    Hi Troy,

    Just a quick note before I post my requests, I am fairly sure that you need to pay a license fee to incorporate a taxonomy into a birding program. Come to think of it, this may be why Birdinfo disappeared. If you look at other birding programs on the market, most charge for adding different taxonomies to the program.

    Aside from that, great idea! The main request I would have, particularly as you intend to write a free program, is to make it open source!! This will guarantee its longevity and attract users. Nobody likes the idea of being stuck with proprietary software in which the developer has lost interest. As for functionality, many of the questions you asked could be answered with, "why not both?"

    Take for example the question of counts. There is no reason why you can't include a count field with the option of leaving the data field blank. Checklists are the bees knees as far as I'm concerned, but realistically it would be useless without the ability to add new species seamlessly.

    Instead of wondering what data to record ("heard" checkbox), why not give the ability of adding custom fields so users can freely record what they wish? An excellent example of this functionality can be seen in Bluebird Technology's Bird Journal. Check out the trial, they do many things right.

    Personally, I love the idea of being able to record any type of flora and fauna I like! However I think licensing would certainly impede this. A good workaround and a feature that can not be overlooked is the ability to import and edit taxonomies.

    Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_s...rating_systems for operating system usage. 90% of user are on some version of Windows.

    Good luck mate! I don't envy your project!!! Hope some of this helped.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    yep will be GPL'ed and totally open source.

    hadn't even thought of having to obtain licensing for including a taxonomy. hrmm. might have to be a base of "Troy's memory taxonomy" then I also want to include flora and all types of fauna. I know that much of the australian government stuff is coming out with creative commons type licenses, so I'll have to investigate is csiro's list of aust. vertebrates is going to be released under the same license. If not - I dunno what I'll do. I wonder if providing mechanisms to import taxonomies via excel or csv files (like jbird does) could be enough to get around that... There will definitely be means to edit/add/delete species.

    I'm doing it in Python for its cross platformability, so yeah - should be right.

    thanks for the suggestions.
    Aus Life List: 508 - Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Sydney Pelagic, 13/8/11
    2011 List: 302 - Channel-billed Cuckoo, Concord, 10/10/11

    My photos
    My blog

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bird recording software

    Right now, for the first version, I think you should just have basics, just C & B, Just birds, maybe be able to put in the location. All of this to get your name out there, and then you should release one feature at a time. But maybe this is just my impatience to want bird recording software for free XD, And I will HAPPILY test it!
    Worldwide: ~900 Australia: 396 Birds on my block*: 113
    Latest: South Island Pied Oystercatcher *Including sites within 2min walk from my house
    Geopolitics, Cartography & Biodiversity - Latest post: Let's hear it for the Jangmadangs!

  8. #8
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    Default

    BIRD RECORDING SOFTWARE
    I have just spent the past month exploring the virtues of some new Birding Journal software I was kindly sent. I must say that I have been highly impressed by it and have found it an excellent addition to my Bird Recording. It is very easy to use and self-explanatory and allows one to methodically record each and every species of bird, mammal, butterfly, insect of flower that one has seen - hugely impressive.

    For example, after adding my bird species of today and 1,878 entries down the line, at-a-glance I can see that I have now recorded 153 species during that time, that my highest day tally was 9 August with 97 species and that I have recorded 104 species in the past 7 days and 94 in the past calendar week.

    It also has a mass of other functions and with each new location added, it automatically works out a site list and a cumulative county total, as well as constantly updating a calendar year total and a Life count.

    There are five main function utilities, with ENTRIES (your personal sightings), GRAPHS (a drop down menu of graphs showing Year Species Count, Monthly counts, Locations tallies and Checklist counts), GALLERY (all of your uploaded images), SPECIES (all of the data you require on each and every species you have seen) and LOCATION (where you have seen each species).

    Although the principle taxonomy used is that of Clements (World) and BOU (Britain), it can be easily customised allowing one to add in any list of one's choice, including that of the UK400 Club (full Western Palearctic Listing complete with all sub-species) and other custom lists such as those of British Butterflies or Moths or Mammals or a massive selection of country lists.

    Bluebird Technology also offer a very helpful and useful birder's forum, where members can share lists and discuss add-ons and new functions and I have been customising a new database concentrating on Rare Birds recorded in Britain and Ireland. This software is revolutionary and adds a new dimension to your everyday birding exploits.

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