Herpmapper is operating

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

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dery
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Herpmapper is operating

Post by dery »

Don Becker's new project is now in business:

http://www.herpmapper.org/

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chrish
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chrish »

And....it is awesome.....everyone should check it out.

I have 2173 records in there so far, and I am sure I can add another 1000 if I work at it. I wish I had better labels on some of my older slides. :(

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kyle loucks
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by kyle loucks »

I thought this was still in test mode

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Ribbit
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

At first glance this looks very similar to iNaturalist.org, but only for herps, and with apparently fewer features. Is it better in some way that isn't obvious at first glance?

John

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Antonsrkn »

Its certainly well put together, clean and professional. But what is the purpose? How is it different than the NAFHA herp database besides being worldwide? Are there any additional features available if register?

Not trying to be a critic, i'm just curious.

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umop apisdn
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by umop apisdn »

And is there a way to actually zoom in on that map at all?

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justinm
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by justinm »

Antonsrkn wrote:Its certainly well put together, clean and professional. But what is the purpose? How is it different than the NAFHA herp database besides being worldwide? Are there any additional features available if register?

Not trying to be a critic, i'm just curious.

It's different because it's worldwide for one. For two it's not full of politics and infighting. It's just a database for you to map finds and share them if you like or hide them and keep them to yourself if you don't want anyone to see them. It's a fantastic project to get behind I think.

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chrish
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chrish »

Ribbit wrote:At first glance this looks very similar to iNaturalist.org, but only for herps, and with apparently fewer features. Is it better in some way that isn't obvious at first glance?
If you upload data to inaturalist, the data are available for public consumption right down to the exact GPS coordinates. This is potentially detrimental in the case of non-vagile animals like herps that are commonly exploited. Herpmapper only goes down to county.

I've only put in a few dozen records (other than by import), but so far I like it.
- I particularly like that you can automatically import your records from NAHerp if you want.
- I also like the ability to "bulk upload" vouchers and then enter the records later. You go to upload files and you can choose dozens of files at once if you want and it uploads them all. Then you go to "My Files", check the voucher(s) you want, and choose "Create New Entry" based on that voucher. Bingo, entry done!
- I appreciate that it reads the EXIF data from your photos for time and date entry.
- the ability to search for a place name right within the map on the data entry screen. Then you double click and it enters the GPS and elevation data. Shazam!

Things I would like to see:
- I do wish you could zoom in a little bit on the map (maybe just 1:20,000,000 or so where 1 cm of screen would show 200km?).
- I do like that inaturalist allows you to confirm ID's and comment on people's entries. Hopefully Herpmapper will add that ability at some point in time. This has been an issue with HERP, as many of you know.
- a prescribed method for suggesting and evaluating taxonomic changes (another issue we've had with HERP) or at least a tie to some existing taxonomy which is updated
- a "copy record" feature like HERP currently has which makes it easy to enter a number of records from the same locality

It takes a bit of learning to use. For example, to search for a particular taxon or country, you have to click the "View All Records" link at the bottom of the page and then click the "Options" button at the top of the page to search. That isn't all that intuitive to me.

It does have some issues still, like some records by a "person" named zoologist1992 who has entered:
- a bunch of US turtle sightings from Cyprus
- a Hyla cinerea record from Antarctica
- a Green Anole from Egypt

There are a few taxonomic issues with taxa missing and subspecies available in some species but not others, but overall I think is a great start and I hope people worldwide will begin using it.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by JAMAUGHN »

If you upload data to inaturalist, the data are available for public consumption right down to the exact GPS coordinates.
FWIW, this isn't necessarily true. There are three geoprivacy settings on iNaturalist: Public, Obscured (which obscures the coordinates by 10km), and Private (which hides them altogether.) All threatened and endangered species observations are automatically obscured.

That said, Herpmapper looks great. Does anyone know if it will be possible to copy files directly from H.E.R.P.?

JimM

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by justinm »

JAMAUGHN wrote:
If you upload data to inaturalist, the data are available for public consumption right down to the exact GPS coordinates.
FWIW, this isn't necessarily true. There are three geoprivacy settings on iNaturalist: Public, Obscured (which obscures the coordinates by 10km), and Private (which hides them altogether.) All threatened and endangered species observations are automatically obscured.

That said, Herpmapper looks great. Does anyone know if it will be possible to copy files directly from H.E.R.P.?

JimM
Yes you can have your HERP data brought over, I think only the ones that have GPS coords on them though. Contact Psyon for help with that.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by JAMAUGHN »

Thanks, Justin.

JimM

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chrish
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chrish »

justinm wrote:
JAMAUGHN wrote:
If you upload data to inaturalist, the data are available for public consumption right down to the exact GPS coordinates.
FWIW, this isn't necessarily true. There are three geoprivacy settings on iNaturalist: Public, Obscured (which obscures the coordinates by 10km), and Private (which hides them altogether.) All threatened and endangered species observations are automatically obscured.

That said, Herpmapper looks great. Does anyone know if it will be possible to copy files directly from H.E.R.P.?

JimM
Yes you can have your HERP data brought over, I think only the ones that have GPS coords on them though. Contact Psyon for help with that.
You don't have to contact Psyon for the GPS records. Just register and go to My Account. At the bottom of the screen there is a link to Import My Records from HERP. You will then be asked to choose to import all your records or non-sensitive records only. Click that, enter your HERP login and watch the magic happen. I imported over 2K records in a matter of minutes.

The only issues I had were some of the taxonomy didn't match exactly and the imported record is assigned to the common name "Unknown Taxon". The scientific name is intact so you just have to figure out what the appropriate taxon in the Herpmapper database should be. Some of the Herpmapper names are a bit old and it doesn't have some of the subspecies that HERP does. You simply delete the subspecific epithet and it will find the match.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by JAMAUGHN »

Ah, thank you. I didn't see this the first time I logged in. I'm on my way...

JimM

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chrish
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chrish »

I think Herpmapper has jumped 2000 now 3000+ records today alone!

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Ribbit wrote:At first glance this looks very similar to iNaturalist.org, but only for herps, and with apparently fewer features. Is it better in some way that isn't obvious at first glance?
I was going to wait to open it up to people until I had more of the features implemented, but opened it up early because people kept asking me about it, and I was asked to give a talk about it, so I thought it should be open for that.
And is there a way to actually zoom in on that map at all?
No, and that's on purpose. Coloring in a map of level 2 boundaries (counties, etc) of the world takes ALOT of CPU time. The general world map is meant to be a general representation, and I will break it down to regional maps that have counties or other regions shaded in.
How is it different than the NAFHA herp database besides being worldwide?
Aside being world wide, it's a matter of principles. I am working to partner directly with various groups to give them real time access to data for the regions they manage. People submitting data will not have a direct say in who their data is shared with. If they are worried about who sees it, they can continue to use NAHERP, or keep their data to themselves. Many of the features I work out for Herp Mapper will probably be ported back to NAHERP.com where applicable.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Mike Pingleton »

HerpMapper hit the 25,000 record mark this week.

HerpMapper

PDF Flier With HerpMapper Info

HerpMapper FaceBook Group

@HerpMapper on Twitter

- Mike

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Trey
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Trey »

psyon wrote: People submitting data will not have a direct say in who their data is shared with. If they are worried about who sees it, they can continue to use NAHERP, or keep their data to themselves.
Which is why I decided not to report to NAHERP or any other database. Google Earth works well to keep track of my records. People are so anal about sharing sites and coordinates for finds, yet they don't realize when putting information on to these databases how many people can access it..

Personally I will take anyone to or tell anyone about any of MY spots. Just not people who are stingy about their own. The politics are ridiculous, and I know of plenty of people on this forum in "good" standing who have destroyed more than one or two locations. My 2 cents..

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Trey wrote:Which is why I decided not to report to NAHERP or any other database. Google Earth works well to keep track of my records. People are so anal about sharing sites and coordinates for finds, yet they don't realize when putting information on to these databases how many people can access it..
Apparently you don't understand how many people can access it either. On NAHERP, when you submit a record, the only thing people can see is the county the record was found in. If there is a data request for records you have, you have the CHOICE of whether or not to release the specific locality information to the person requesting data. Aside from that, given that I am the database administrator, I have access to the database. Other than that, no one can see anything.

On HerpMapper, the public information is the same. Only down to the county. The difference is that HerpMapper is trying to partner with state and other government agencies that work to protect the animals, and the data is shared freely only with trusted partners. The information is NOT just handed out to absolutely anyone.

If you don't want to contribute your records to an online database, that's fine, but I would hope that you would see the need to contact someone in your states DNR or F&G department to turn into sighting data to them. Most places don't have a big budget to hire people to go out and survey their areas to find out where all the herps are. The only way they can protect habitat is if the know what animals are there. By going herping and NOT contributing your sighting data to SOMEONE, you are not doing anything to help the animals that you enjoy.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

What's the source of the species list? It is rather outdated concerning European taxa. Obviously, splits are also a nuisance for this type of project. I might be persuaded to start using this, although I'm a bit lost with all the projects with similar goals popping up nowadays.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by justinm »

psyon wrote:
Trey wrote:Which is why I decided not to report to NAHERP or any other database. Google Earth works well to keep track of my records. People are so anal about sharing sites and coordinates for finds, yet they don't realize when putting information on to these databases how many people can access it..
Apparently you don't understand how many people can access it either. On NAHERP, when you submit a record, the only thing people can see is the county the record was found in. If there is a data request for records you have, you have the CHOICE of whether or not to release the specific locality information to the person requesting data. Aside from that, given that I am the database administrator, I have access to the database. Other than that, no one can see anything.

On HerpMapper, the public information is the same. Only down to the county. The difference is that HerpMapper is trying to partner with state and other government agencies that work to protect the animals, and the data is shared freely only with trusted partners. The information is NOT just handed out to absolutely anyone.

If you don't want to contribute your records to an online database, that's fine, but I would hope that you would see the need to contact someone in your states DNR or F&G department to turn into sighting data to them. Most places don't have a big budget to hire people to go out and survey their areas to find out where all the herps are. The only way they can protect habitat is if the know what animals are there. By going herping and NOT contributing your sighting data to SOMEONE, you are not doing anything to help the animals that you enjoy.

Trey,

For Illinois for example I've been in a lot of discussions with them, and they want to use Herpmapper for the Illinois database. They now realize the benefit of citizen scientists. The only thing that Illinois' DNR biologists are wanting is the ability to hide sensitive records, and to verify the record in the case of mis-identification. The benefits of a program like this are enormous and can move our knowledge of herptofauna forward in a way that hasn't been seen before.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Trey »

I did not realize I had a choice actually, which does make a difference.

Their are a lot of issues in how Ohio DNR operates which other states have actually figured out. Efforts and funding toward herp related conservation are especially misguided. I really do not feel like discussing it here and opening up a can of worms, but let's just say I have my reservations on contacting the state about anything herp related, especially concerning Crotalids, and we will leave it at that.

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:What's the source of the species list? It is rather outdated concerning European taxa. Obviously, splits are also a nuisance for this type of project. I might be persuaded to start using this, although I'm a bit lost with all the projects with similar goals popping up nowadays.
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Scientif ... amphibians

The species list was started from that book, and I am trying to bring it up to date as we go. You can enter in what ever species names you want to use, even if they aren't in the current list. If the species isn't found in the database, it will flag it, and I review the "Unknown ID" and modify the species list as needed. Of course if someone just wants to let me know about corrections, I can correct the species list before there are any records entered for new species as well.
Efforts and funding toward herp related conservation are especially misguided.
"We don't have it in our budget" is one of the phrases that made me want to work on NAHERP, and now HerpMapper. I am currently working on a bit of software that states can use to run localized atlases as well. I want to eliminate as many of the excuses for not having active herp mapping and management programs as I can.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chris_mcmartin »

psyon wrote:"We don't have it in our budget" is one of the phrases that made me want to work on NAHERP, and now HerpMapper. I am currently working on a bit of software that states can use to run localized atlases as well. I want to eliminate as many of the excuses for not having active herp mapping and management programs as I can.
I think you and I had this conversation the last time we visited...the fact that you are pouring so much of your time and other resources into these efforts pro bono is commendable and hopefully isn't lost on the agencies (and individuals) you're helping.

:thumb:

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

chris_mcmartin wrote:I think you and I had this conversation the last time we visited...the fact that you are pouring so much of your time and other resources into these efforts pro bono is commendable and hopefully isn't lost on the agencies (and individuals) you're helping.

:thumb:
Apparently some governments are having a hard time accepting that I am doing things for free.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chris_mcmartin »

psyon wrote:
chris_mcmartin wrote:I think you and I had this conversation the last time we visited...the fact that you are pouring so much of your time and other resources into these efforts pro bono is commendable and hopefully isn't lost on the agencies (and individuals) you're helping.

:thumb:
Apparently some governments are having a hard time accepting that I am doing things for free.
Too many people equate "free" with "not worthwhile." :? Examples that come to mind include Penn & Teller's experiment wherein people paid good money for water from the restaurant's hose out back, but expounded on the subtle qualities of what they THOUGHT was expensive imported bottled water.

Maybe network aggressively with the relevant agencies' nongame biologists (if you haven't been already)?

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Chris Smith
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Chris Smith »

Mike Pingleton wrote:HerpMapper hit the 25,000 record mark this week.

HerpMapper

PDF Flier With HerpMapper Info

HerpMapper FaceBook Group

@HerpMapper on Twitter

- Mike

^ Worth reposting this. Please share everyone! :thumb:

-Chris

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

chris_mcmartin wrote:Maybe network aggressively with the relevant agencies' nongame biologists (if you haven't been already)?
Pffft, I've been doing that for the last decade. It's the easiest way to see all the cool herps :P We are starting to work with people around the Midwest first, where myself or people helping have a closer relationship with the agencies. Chris Smith has been in contact with a group in India already as well. I had a man from French Guiana contact me about promoting the site there as well.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chris_mcmartin »

psyon wrote:
chris_mcmartin wrote:Maybe network aggressively with the relevant agencies' nongame biologists (if you haven't been already)?
Pffft, I've been doing that for the last decade. It's the easiest way to see all the cool herps :P We are starting to work with people around the Midwest first, where myself or people helping have a closer relationship with the agencies. Chris Smith has been in contact with a group in India already as well. I had a man from French Guiana contact me about promoting the site there as well.
:thumb:

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

psyon wrote:Of course if someone just wants to let me know about corrections, I can correct the species list before there are any records entered for new species as well.
I'd be happy to do this for the European species. A thought - if this takes off to becoming a global resource, you might want to work with a network of local taxonomy experts, in order to avoid having to spend too much time on this yourself.

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:I'd be happy to do this for the European species. A thought - if this takes off to becoming a global resource, you might want to work with a network of local taxonomy experts, in order to avoid having to spend too much time on this yourself.
It's as if you are reading my mind. I am working on all the tools needed for others to help manage the species list and some other things on the sites.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chrish »

psyon wrote:
chris_mcmartin wrote:Maybe network aggressively with the relevant agencies' nongame biologists (if you haven't been already)?
Pffft, I've been doing that for the last decade. It's the easiest way to see all the cool herps :P We are starting to work with people around the Midwest first, where myself or people helping have a closer relationship with the agencies. Chris Smith has been in contact with a group in India already as well. I had a man from French Guiana contact me about promoting the site there as well.
If you build it, they will come. If that is where the data resides, people will come to access it.

This would be the case for HERP as well if we could get the internal politics out of it. That is being worked on.

psyon wrote:
Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:I'd be happy to do this for the European species. A thought - if this takes off to becoming a global resource, you might want to work with a network of local taxonomy experts, in order to avoid having to spend too much time on this yourself.
It's as if you are reading my mind. I am working on all the tools needed for others to help manage the species list and some other things on the sites.
That sounds like a great collaboration, although I wonder if finding a consistent global taxonomy (Amphibiaweb, Amphibian Species of The World, The Reptile Database, etc.) might be more internally consistent?

Either way, it is a great project and hopefully it will continue to grow internationally.

Are there going to be foreign language versions available eventually? Might be tough with common names, but everything else would be easy translation.....if I spoke any other languages....Que?? :lol: If you need it translated into gibberish, I'm fluent!

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

chrish wrote:That sounds like a great collaboration, although I wonder if finding a consistent global taxonomy (Amphibiaweb, Amphibian Species of The World, The Reptile Database, etc.) might be more internally consistent?
Yeah, I thought about it, but I also plan to make the species list available for download so anyone else can use it if they want. Given that those sites don't do that now, I'm not sure how well it would go over with them if they collaborated, and then I released the list.
Are there going to be foreign language versions available eventually? Might be tough with common names, but everything else would be easy translation.....if I spoke any other languages....Que?? :lol: If you need it translated into gibberish, I'm fluent!
I am trying to make Google's Translate service work with the site as a start. It keeps screwing up the layout though and makes things hard to read. Once the site is a bit more completely, and I don't think I will be adding a bunch of stuff to it, I will do translations server-side. It would that you would go to herpmapper.org/es/ and get the spanish site, and herpmapper.org/de/ for german, etc. So where you have herpmapper.org/record/1 right now, to see it in german would go to herpmapper.org/de/record/1

That's my plan at least, but I may change my mind by then. Also, right now the species list tools are being made to manage the list with just english and latin names, but as I get some kinks of the species management worked out, I will add in other language names.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

psyon wrote:
chrish wrote:That sounds like a great collaboration, although I wonder if finding a consistent global taxonomy (Amphibiaweb, Amphibian Species of The World, The Reptile Database, etc.) might be more internally consistent?
Yeah, I thought about it, but I also plan to make the species list available for download so anyone else can use it if they want. Given that those sites don't do that now, I'm not sure how well it would go over with them if they collaborated, and then I released the list.
I did the checkup for the European list (I can e-mail it if you PM me your address). As I suspected, the last decades caused a significant number of changes. For a tiny list of (currently about) 200 herp species, I am missing 86 widely accepted changes, including 45 'new' species.

Furthermore, at the moment, the presented taxonomy is a mix of old and new, with newer stuff implemented for North America (e.g. the Elaphe split, with genera like Pantherophis being accepted while contemporary Old World genera like Zamenis are not present).

I'm starting to feel that Chris's suggestion may be the best option, possible supplemented with local expert input (because the mentioned resources are not flawless). Imho, I think (if necessary) you would rather forget about the list printing option than having to run some sort of parallel taxonomy. It's an inevitable mess, of course, as there is no single truth.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

BTW, I also spotted two mistakes that shouldn't have been there even at the time of your taxonomy reference (spelling error and a missing species described in 1789). I imagine this type of errors are likely to be far less common in the mentioned online resources which are being scrutinized all the time.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:BTW, I also spotted two mistakes that shouldn't have been there even at the time of your taxonomy reference (spelling error and a missing species described in 1789). I imagine this type of errors are likely to be far less common in the mentioned online resources which are being scrutinized all the time.
Yeah, the book had all sorts of errors. It left out species it shouldn't have, it misspelled others, I am pretty sure it duplicated some things too. It was still the best source I had for starting a complete from. Since the page is meant for the general public, common names were an important factor for me, and that is something lacking from the current online sources.
Furthermore, at the moment, the presented taxonomy is a mix of old and new, with newer stuff implemented for North America (e.g. the Elaphe split, with genera like Pantherophis being accepted while contemporary Old World genera like Zamenis are not present).
I am doing my best to update it based on the changes I know, and based on what people are entering for records.
I'm starting to feel that Chris's suggestion may be the best option, possible supplemented with local expert input (because the mentioned resources are not flawless). Imho, I think (if necessary) you would rather forget about the list printing option than having to run some sort of parallel taxonomy. It's an inevitable mess, of course, as there is no single truth.
Keep in mind that the site isn't aimed towards herp experts. It's goal is to get information from the public. The public cares more about common names, if even that, and don't keep up on the absolute latest changes to taxonomy. Experts on the other hand, would know what old names to search by if they want data.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

I've been putting observations in iNaturalist.org for awhile now. They have addressed most or all of the issues mentioned here, including supporting multiple languages for UI and for common names, supporting multiple taxonomies from external sources, dealing with taxonomic changes, etc. They are also partnered with a number of museums and societies. I don't really understand what benefits Herpmapper offers over iNaturalist, but if the effort to create and support another such project seems worthwhile, I think a lot could be learned by checking out how they handle the issues that Herpmapper is coming across.

John

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Don Becker
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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Ribbit wrote:I don't really understand what benefits Herpmapper offers over iNaturalist
1. Locations are given out to the general public on iNaturalists. A lot of people don't like that.

2. On HerpMapper, I can give people real time access to records based on GIS boundary data. I could give you access to only records found in your own yard if I needed to.

3. I have the ability to PUSH data down to partners, so that they can archive it and keep their own copies if need be.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

psyon wrote:
Ribbit wrote:I don't really understand what benefits Herpmapper offers over iNaturalist
1. Locations are given out to the general public on iNaturalists. A lot of people don't like that.
This isn't true. For each observation, you can set the geoprivacy to "open" (public), "obscured" (the public can see a location, but it is randomly moved up to 10K from the specified location), or "private" (the public can't see a location).
psyon wrote: 2. On HerpMapper, I can give people real time access to records based on GIS boundary data. I could give you access to only records found in your own yard if I needed to.

3. I have the ability to PUSH data down to partners, so that they can archive it and keep their own copies if need be.
I don't know if either of these are true for iNaturalist. (I'm also not sure whether they are important -- I'm not saying that they aren't, just that I'm not sure.)

John

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Ribbit wrote:This isn't true. For each observation, you can set the geoprivacy to "open" (public), "obscured" (the public can see a location, but it is randomly moved up to 10K from the specified location), or "private" (the public can't see a location).
Yes, you CAN set it to private, but a random person out walking who finds a Bog Turtle may not know to mark it as obscured or private.
psyon wrote:I don't know if either of these are true for iNaturalist. (I'm also not sure whether they are important -- I'm not saying that they aren't, just that I'm not sure.)
I didn't just make that a feature because I thought it was a cool idea. It was something that people that I know who work in conservation wanted. As it is now, people are talking with me and want to built a central hub of all digital records (like Herpnet for digital records), so that all the data is available in a single easily searchable location. I am not sure if I am going that direction or not, but the whole point is that the people who need data, need to be able to obtain it easily. Any hurdles to obtain data can dissuade people from using it. The state of Iowa for example has a database of records for their T&E species. If they are checking to see if something exists on a certain property, that is all they check. They don't go through every collection and look at every specimen for Iowa, and request the GPS coordinates for them all. They might over time slowly add those records to the NAI database if they are made aware of them, but when someone asks for a development permit a quick search of their local copies is all that is done. Pushing data to them, and helping them easily update their own records, helps to protect the animals.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

All good points. As far as I can tell, there is no way to set a default Geoprivacy for all your observations in iNaturalist (I might be missing something). And even if there were, a random person would still not know that it is possible, or how to do it.

Like I said, I'm not sure if iNaturalist has ways to send data to specific organizations. It wouldn't surprise me if they did; I just don't know.

It just seems unfortunate that there are multiple projects with basically the same goals but completely separate data. If I could push a button in iNaturalist to export all of my herp data to Herpmapper, I would do so in an instant, but I probably won't take the time to enter it again all manually. I imagine most people wouldn't want to do the labor-intensive data entry part multiple times for multiple systems.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Ribbit wrote:It just seems unfortunate that there are multiple projects with basically the same goals but completely separate data.
There seems to be some complaints about every project out there. I don't think anyone took the time to ask users and conservation groups what they wanted or needed out of a project. HerpMapper is very basic right now, because it is being shaped based on what is wanted by people who use data. People in Illinois for example want the ability to automatically flag any record for saugas in Illinois to be hidden from the public by default. I am working on a moderating system, and along with that some automatic moderating rules.
If I could push a button in iNaturalist to export all of my herp data to Herpmapper, I would do so in an instant, but I probably won't take the time to enter it again all manually. I imagine most people wouldn't want to do the labor-intensive data entry part multiple times for multiple systems.
That was one of the biggest issues starting HerpMapper, which is why it has an option to import data from NAHERP. Also, in doing this, I am trying to work out data sharing protocols so that projects can more easily share and exchange data.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Ribbit wrote:It just seems unfortunate that there are multiple projects with basically the same goals but completely separate data. If I could push a button in iNaturalist to export all of my herp data to Herpmapper, I would do so in an instant, but I probably won't take the time to enter it again all manually. I imagine most people wouldn't want to do the labor-intensive data entry part multiple times for multiple systems.
I (and probably many others) would pay good money for a plug-in that would provide such a service: "Export data set to [iNaturalist, HerpMapper, NAHERP, you name it]" in the correct format for the target database.

Heck, just charge a token dollar and you'd probably make a decent amount to support further projects!

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Gluesenkamp »

I'm excited to see that more people are interested in contributing to online databases. I am also a little bit concerned about proliferation and redundancy but I am confident that most of these issues will be worked out in the future. For example, the suggestions mentioned above regarding exporting observations from one platform to another would be a huge benefit to observers who want to share with more than one project. One issue with HerpMapper that concerns me is that there is not (yet) any measure of the precision of locality information. This is important in mapping element occurrences, which are the currency of resource management (http://www.natureserve.org/conservation ... a-standard).
On another note: some have expressed concern with the availability of locality information to the public. As mentioned by others, privacy settings are controlled by the observer. Someone mentioned a hypothetical where a naive collector posted an observation of an endangered species without obscuring locality information. The Herps of Texas iNaturalist project (http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/herps-of-texas) automatically makes locality information for T&E observations private.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Gluesenkamp wrote:One issue with HerpMapper that concerns me is that there is not (yet) any measure of the precision of locality information.
The project is aimed at taking information from the public. The public just knows that what ever GPS unit they have tells them the Latitude, Longitude, and the Accuracy returned by the GPS chip. That is what gets saved with HerpMapper. My state tried to do a program where they trained everyone to enter data exactly as they needed it, and not many people turned up for trainings, and the program didn't really go everywhere. I believe it is best to have the information that the public can easily give us, than no information at all.
On another note: some have expressed concern with the availability of locality information to the public. As mentioned by others, privacy settings are controlled by the observer. Someone mentioned a hypothetical where a naive collector posted an observation of an endangered species without obscuring locality information. The Herps of Texas iNaturalist project ( http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/herps-of-texas ) automatically makes locality information for T&E observations private.
Only county level data is available to the public. When viewing the record, it does show a mark on a zoomed out map of the world, but even the center pixel of that mark is the size of an average county in the US when drawn at that scale. I am working on a way to automatically hide records that meet a certain criteria.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

Just for clarity, iNaturalist automatically obscures to the public the location of any observation of a protected species. I forgot to mention that earlier.

Also, precise coordinates seem fine when they are obtained from a GPS reading. But many wildlife observers don't take GPS readings, and use cameras that don't have a GPS, so they must determine the location from a combination of memory and a map. That often leads to imprecise locations. I do appreciate iNaturalist's support of arbitrary precision for each observation.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

Ribbit wrote:iNaturalist automatically obscures to the public the location of any observation of a protected species.
Do you know if it takes local protection status into account? Ambystoma laterale for example is real common in places, but has a very very restricted range in Iowa, and is endangered here.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Ribbit »

Good question -- I don't know where they collect their protection status data. I tried an experiment just now with Ambystoma laterale. I first created an observation in Ontario. Its location was not obscured. Then I created an observation in Iowa. Its location was obscured (and was accompanied with the fine print that says that locations of threatened species are obscured). So in this particular case, they do seem to be taking the local protection status into account.

(Then I deleted both bogus observations, of course!)

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Gluesenkamp »

I agree that observations should be easy to post. Even with data from an iphone or GPS, I double check my locations by looking at the google map and adjusting acc. to fit (i.e. if it shows the observation is in the ROW but on the wrong side of the road, I assign an accuracy that is roughly the width of the road). This seems trivial but assigning accuracy adds tremendously to the value of the observation.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Don Becker »

(i.e. if it shows the observation is in the ROW but on the wrong side of the road, I assign an accuracy that is roughly the width of the road)
I've had cases like that where one side of the road was a county record, and the other side wasn't.
This seems trivial but assigning accuracy adds tremendously to the value of the observation.
I don't think it's trivial at all. I will often sit in place for a while letting my GPS get as accurate reading as possible, and then even later, if I am not happy with that, I will adjust it in my records. I understand the importance of it, but it's not something you can expect the general public to worry about. Using A. laterle as an example again, if someone reports one from a location that is well away from the known populations, but only was able to be accurate within a few miles because their device triangulated from radio towers instead of using GPS, I would still be ecstatic. It would still show that one was found far from known locations, and give us a starting point for searching for them. We could always ask the observer questions about where it was found as well to narrow it down further. In that case, the coordinates that were given, assuming pulled from a device, helps back up their story of roughly where it was found.

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Re: Herpmapper is operating

Post by Chris Smith »

Gluesenkamp wrote: One issue with HerpMapper that concerns me is that there is not (yet) any measure of the precision of locality information. This is important in mapping element occurrences, which are the currency of resource management (http://www.natureserve.org/conservation ... a-standard).
The HerpMapper app (Mobile Mapper) DOES record GPS error and those data are stored with the observation for exactly this reason. Also, when entering records via the web-interface, there is a place to list GPS error. If using a map to pin-point an observation, the observation records that the location was derived by a "map" vs "GPS unit."

-Chris

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