ArcheWild GPS LOG App Quick Start Guide
Welcome to the best field research tool for documenting plant communities, population health, and individual species locations. Up and running on any phone, tablet, and Windows/iOS platform in minutes. Works offline.
ArcheWild GPS LOG App
April 13, 2018
Submitted by Mark Brownlee
The App is designed for ecologists, botanists, nursery professionals, and plant enthusiasts to document the composition of plant communities at their favorite sites, track the performance of species over time (e.g., effects of climate change), and to record the location of interesting species.
The App is currently in its third-generation implementation and supports many exciting new features such as a relational database, Twitter and Facebook integration, and user credentialing.
This quick start-up guide will walk you through the general workflow of the app (left column) and show a screenshot of the App on a phone (right column).
The screenshots are long so there can be quite a bit of white space at the end of each text block. Scroll down to the next section.
App Startup Screen
Upon launching the App, you will see the launch screen shown on the right. Press ‘OK’ to enter the App.
Opening Location List
Upon pressing ‘OK’ on the launch screen, the ArcheWild GPS LOG App will open to a list of all of your locations in one tab titled ‘LOCATION TABLE’ and a map of all your locations in another tab titled ‘LOCATION MAP’.
You can scroll through the list to find a location or use the search bar at the top of the screen (click on the magnifying glass).
The Location record is the superordinate record type. All plant, observation, and accession data are linked to a Location.
New Locations are not created here; use the EXPLORER menu item to add a new Location.
To open a Location, click or press anywhere on a line. Press on the map pin for a location to open a map of the location as a quick reminder of the Location in case you forget where it is.
Access the Locations list from anywhere in the App by pressing the ‘LOCATIONS’ icon at the bottom of the screen.
Opening Location Map
Press on the ‘LOCATION MAP’ tab at the top of the screen to see a map of all your locations. This view is helpful in finding or remembering some far away location that you visited years ago. Each Location is represented by a green pin.
Click on a pin to open a card at the bottom of the screen that offers 3 options (not shown in the screenshot):
- Pressing the map pin will open a map of that Location.
- Pressing the ‘goto’ arrow will open the Location record to see species related to that location.
- Pressing the car icon will open Google Maps (or your device’s default map program) and give you directions to the Location.
Pressing the ACCESSION icon at the bottom left of the screen opens a list of all your seed collection accession codes.
Clicking on an Accession gives you information about that accession plus a listing of any specific seed lots, if you are tracking seed lots.
This view is offered for the nursery professional as a quick lookup tool to get details about a particular product’s origin. This view might hold little value for other users.
Accession numbers are treated as global values across all users of the ArcheWild GPS LOG App to provide unique IDs for all accessions.
Pressing the +MAP+ icon at the bottom of the screen opens a map will all of your Species GPS coordinates shown a blue map pins. Your current location is represented with a blue (or colored) solid circle.
When many Species GPS coordinates are very close together, the map will show a large blue circle with a number that represents the number of Species under the pin. Press on the numbered circle to zoom in to see individual Species GPS coordinates. You might have to zoom in several times depending on how many records you have in the same general location.
Clicking on a Species GPS pin opens a card at the bottom of the screen with 4 options:
- Edit the Species GPS record,
- Zoom in to the GPS coordinates on the map,
- Open the Species GPS record, and
- Drive or walk to the GPS coordinate.
Opening a Location from the ArcheWild GPS LOG App LOCATION icon opens the Location View. Here you will see all of the summary information for that Location including:
- The nickname for the Location,
- A map of the Location,
- The full name of the Location,
- The EcoRegion for the Location (if you provided one),
- A list of ‘Related Species’, which is a listing of all Species you recorded at this Location, and
- The Location’s distance from your current location in miles.
Click or press on a Species in the list of ‘Related Species’ to open that record.
Pressing on a Species in the list (as shown above) opens the Species view.
This view shows the name of the Location and the Species’ botanical name.
This view also includes three sections that show:
- A list of individual GPS-tagged plants with a round picture of that plant (if you took a picture),
- A list of your observations about the Species at that Location, and
- A list of Accessions for that Species at that Location.
A few things to keep in mind about this view and its structure:
- You can GPS-tag as many individual plants as you want for a single species and take up to 4 pictures per tag,
- Observations are intended to capture population information about a Species, NOT individual plants. This feature is designed for persons responsible for monitoring Species populations; it provides a view of how Species population is performing over long periods of time, and
- Accessions provide a stable and simple nomenclature for labeling seeds collected from the Species population at a Location.
A Special Note about Accessions
Accession codes represent the unique Location-Species combination only. This means that seeds collected from a specific Species at a specific Location will always have the same Accession number. The intent is to reduce the overall number of Accession codes that a nursery professional needs to track and remember. Individual seed lots are supported by clicking on an Accession if you or your organization wants to keep track of seed performance from year to year.
PLANT GPS View
Clicking on a Plant GPS record opens the PLANT GPS view, which shows a large picture of the individual Plant with the botanical name imprinted on the image and any other pictures taken.
Click on the mini-map of the GPS coordinates of the Plant to open a larger map.
You will also see two social media buttons, shown in blue. One for Twitter and one for Facebook. Pressing either of them sends a picture post to that service with your name and the species name to the associated ArcheWild account. No other information, such as Location or GPS coordinates, are included in the post; the posts are for fun only to let others know what you are finding.
There is no way for the general public to access your detailed records unless you write them down on a piece of paper and hand them to someone.
The social media buttons will turn green once you press them so that you know if you have already shared them. Once shared, you cannot share again or undo a share.
Currently, individual users cannot share to their personal accounts as our data integration engine can only support one account each on Twitter and Facebook. To share a picture on your own social media accounts, take a regular picture of the plant with your phone or camera and upload normally.
Adding a PLANT GPS Record
The Species view of the ArcheWild GPS LOG App provides a table with all of the GPS records for the species; click on the ‘New’ button to open a form to add a new GPS coordinate and a set of pictures.
The form view is simple and straight-forward with 5 pieces of information to record:
- Click the map pin to poll the GPS satellites to get a GPS coordinate. While the GPS service is finding you, go ahead a start taking pictures,
- The first picture is labeled ‘HABIT’, which is meant to show the entire plant or the most significant view of the plant,
- The second picture is labeled ‘LEAF’, which is meant to capture some aspect of leaf morphology (like appressed hairs) for positive ID,
- The third picture is labeled ‘Fruit/Flower’, which is also meant to be used for ID purposes, and
- An open notes field where you can capture any thoughts or other data useful to describe what you see.
While you are following steps #2-5, your phone or tablet is capturing accurate GPS coordinates. Most phones have GPS receivers accurate to +/- 3m. Some devices have GPS receivers accurate to +/- 0.1m. Your phone will capture and record as accurate a GPS coordinate as it can but the App will only display +/- 3m accuracy; this displayed value is strictly a limitation of the software development platform that we use and does not affect the accuracy of the actual, recorded GPS coordinates.
Be sure to press ‘Save’ when you are done.
Synching your Data
All new, changed, or deleted records on your device are stored locally on the device running the ArcheWild GPS LOG App until you ‘Synch’ with the Cloud-based server. This is a very important feature to understand.
- The App will only ‘Synch’ when you press the ‘Synch’ button in the upper right of the screen. This allows you to work in the field ‘offline’ and then upload all of your changes when you connect to WiFi to avoid any data charges.
- Yes, the App will work ‘offline’ just fine, which is very useful when working in remote areas or in a valley
- The Twitter and Facebook buttons will only send messages to those services when you ‘Synch’
- Accession codes are assigned only after you ‘Synch’ because the creation of the Accession code occurs on the server instead of the device, to prevent duplicate codes.
- Other features implemented in the future might only take affect when you ‘Synch’
Ponder the complexity of the pretty flower or stare at the progress bar while you ‘Synch’. See the screenshot to the right.
Making an Observation
Click on the ‘New’ observation icon will open a form with which you will enter some basic information about the status of the population. The App currently offers just 3 Observation types, but more can be added and/or expanded at any time.
- Fruit Cycle, which meant to record the progress of the population’s reproductive process on the day the observation is being made. Simply press the one button that most closely describes the population’s fruiting stage. You can press more than one button, but this is not recommended,
- Colony Quality, is meant to provide a qualitative assessment of the population, and
- Site Description, to record some basic site conditions so that you can track changes over time. You have press more than one button. Any App administrator can add new site descriptors.
The date/time stamp of the observation is pre-filled at the top of the screen. You may edit the date/time stamp in case you need to enter an observation you made at some time in the past. There is a one-in-a-million chance that someone has made or is making an observation at exactly the same time as you are; if this happen you will get an error message. Simply change your date/time stamp by a minute or two.
Remember to ‘Save.’
Click on the menu icon in the upper left and choose ‘EXPLORER’ to see a list of your Locations in descending order based on how far you are away from your Locations.
This is a very handy tool for quickly choosing your current location and to find nearby Locations wherever you are. We at ArcheWild find this feature very handy as we currently manage over 600 different locations.
Use the little icons to:
- See a map of the Location,
- Go to the Location record, or
- Edit the Location.
Add new Locations from the EXPLORER view using the large PLUS button.
Choosing and naming a location is often as easy as naming the park or town with its actual name.
But sometimes, its a bit more complicated.
Remember that each Location is assigned an EcoRegion code and any Species records for a Location inherits that same code. This can be a problem for very large Locations (e.g., Pisgah National Forest) because multiple EcoRegions can be represented. In this case, you will want to create different Location names for each EcoRegion. Read this article to better understand why accurately documenting Species and EcoRegion is important.
Here’s an example:
ArcheWild staff monitors Species along the Delaware River in areas where their are no towns and where the EcoRegion can change several times. In this case, we have multiple Locations along the Delaware River that incorporate the EcoRegion in the Location name itself, such as DELRIVER-064a or DELRIVER-058h. You can invent whatever nomenclature makes the most sense to you. But do try to have each Location encompass only one EcoRegion.
FYI, one of our top, future ArcheWild GPS LOG App development priorities is to have the App automatically determine the EcoRegion in which you are creating a new record. This feature will be implemented as soon as it is ready without prior notification.
The screenshot depicts a scenario that you likely might want to avoid. It shows Plant GPS locations along a 50 mile stretch of road that likely crisscrosses several EcoRegions. You can certainly do this, too; you only give up being able to accurately evaluate Species population composition by EcoRegion for that Location.
One of the stronger features of the ArcheWild GPS LOG App is being able to run a report of Species found and their Frequency within an EcoRegion. Ecologists, Civil Engineers, and Landscape Architects can use the Species-EcoRegion report to guide their selection of plant species for projects within a particular EcoRegion. Smartly using Locations as described above can help to generate a high-quality Species-EcoRegion database for all to use.
Read this article to learn more about specifying Species and EcoRegions on a project.
Access the EcoRegion report from the dropdown menu in the upper left of the App. Type in the EcoRegion of interest to get your basic report. Custom reports may be available.
Shared Species Report
The ArcheWild GPS LOG App provides an easy way to find species that other users have shared with you. Use the drop down menu in the upper left of the App and choose ‘Shared Species’ to see what other users shared.
Think of this as your Interesting Species InBox!