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Software for collecting
#1 Print Post
Posted on 13-06-2006 09:00
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Location: Sweden
Posts: 1996
Joined: 22.05.06

More questions. What kind of software do you use to keep track of your insect collections? Is it Excel, Access, Filemaker or other special designed applications? If you "made it yourself" - what info do you register (what fields/columns)?
#2 Print Post
Posted on 13-06-2006 10:51
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Location: Reading, England
Posts: 7699
Joined: 12.07.04

I use a very old English software package called 'Recorder 3.3' (they released newer versions but I don't like them) but this only comes with a UK species list. Other people here often use MapMate (http://www.mapmat...), which is simple and very easy to adapt with local species lists etc - or Recorder 2002 (http://www.nbn.or...Level2ID=1). The most important thing (IMO) is a good species list as part of the package - so you should start by looking for Swedish software.

As for home-made packages the data recorded is usually different depending on who is doing it and which things they are interested in. The basic data falls into 2 groups:
1. data: exact location (including map reference or lat/lon); date of capture; collector's name. Secondary information like: habitat; altitude; any references to a wider survey/job that this is part of; any rearing information (host, foodplant, date emerged etc); method of capture; which collection it is in; voucher reference; collection aquisition code etc; cross references to other specimens linked to this one (genitalia/spore preparations etc).
2. name: the name and sex (the determination or 'det'Wink; name of determiner; date of their det. Secondary information like: references to keys or publications used to make the det.

#1 is all static and is information that cannot change because it is all taken to be fact. But #2 is open to interpretation - the identification might be revised at a later date. In good packages the system should store BOTH determinations with just one being marked as the 'true' determination.

So, a person might just record the minimum of data OR they might choose to record more and that 'more' depends on what you are collecting (fly, moth, fungus, plant). Grin

Personally, if I could avoid writing my own system I would - mainly because of the need for the species lists but also because you'd presumably want to link mapping to your data and I don't fancy writing a mapping package! Wink But if I did write it I'd write it in PHP/MySQL because this is 'web-ready' and I could then publish the data easily and make it available to the wider world. Remember, collecting data is just the start - some day you have to distribute your information to other organisations so that it can be made use of. Grin

Cheers, Chris R.
#3 Print Post
Posted on 14-06-2006 09:49
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Location: Sweden
Posts: 1996
Joined: 22.05.06

Thanks for the input. I doubt there is a swedish software for this purpose. I guess I have to use Artportalen to register my finds when that is ready to accept all insects.

When googling for entomology and software I also stumbled across Mantis. Anyone here use this?
Susan R Walter
#4 Print Post
Posted on 14-06-2006 14:48
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Location: Touraine du Sud, central France
Posts: 1802
Joined: 14.01.06


I have recently completed the biological recording module for my university course, and we discussed software at length. Chris has got it spot on. Really, the simplest format to use is a spreadsheet such as Excel, as most people already know how to operate them to a reasonable level. Their other advantage is that the data from a spreadsheet can almost always be transferred into almost any other system fairly simply (using delimited text or similar). The big disadvantage is not having a built in species list.

Recorder is by far the best of the custom systems in terms of the arrangement of data and the amount of information it can handle. However, you cannot buy it any more and the newer versions are called Recorder, but are not actually the same product. Also, if you have not used it every day for years you will really struggle with it.

MapMate is considered a very good alternative for the amateur/semi-professional and is easy to use. The deal with MapMate is that you must share your data - which is fine by most people, but you can end up with a load of useless unwanted data from others. I would enquire about Swedish species lists from MapMate - my impression is that they would quite like to take over the world and are keen to exploit any opportunity.Wink

There is a very good simple mapping programme called DMapW which will take data from any programme that stores records (lots of fun).

I don't know anything about Mantis, but I will see what I can find out (might take me a while, as v busy at present). I work for an independent non-profit GI (geographical information) organisation so have contact with the software designers in some cases.
Gordon Jar
#5 Print Post
Posted on 14-06-2006 18:48

Location: East Sussex, England
Posts: 209
Joined: 09.10.05

I use mapmate for recording and for very much an amateur such as myself I find it very good. I do share my data with the local county recorder but do not receive any information and therefore do not have any unwanted data. The other advantage which I like is I have been able to create a detailed local map of my own personal area.

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