Sightings documentation

Overview | Documentation | Tips
Saving records | Exporting records | Importing names | Settings
Sightings on facebook

Requirements
Available for iPhone and iPad (note: will not work very well on iPod touch or the original iPhone due to lack of GPS hardware).

Sightings records coordinates in the WGS84 datum.

Saving records

Most of Sightings’ functionality can be explained in pictures.

Sightings add record screenshot
Select from the autocomplete list to ensure quick and accurate entry of common and scientific names
Sightings record details screenshot
Notes can be recorded with each record
Sightings record list screenshot
The complete record list can be emailed or downloaded through iTunes

Exporting records
Note: your records are not shared with anyone else or uploaded to the Internet – only you have access to them.
The easiest way to export your data is to email it to yourself from Sightings. But if you don’t have any network coverage, you can connect your phone to your computer, select it in iTunes and download your data.

Sightings record list screenshot
Download it hard!

Importing new names
Sightings ships with all currently recognised Australian tetrapods (i.e., amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), along with a few extras (most butterflies and dragonflies, some fish). But people with broader interests can import a list of names for inclusion in the auto-complete list.

To import additional names, you need to create a tab-delimited text file called ‘speciesList.txt’. The format of this file needs to be:
<group name><tab><scientific name><tab><common name>
with one species per line. The text file should look something like this:

You can export a tab-delimited text file from Excel. I think you should also just be able to copy rows from Excel and paste them into a text file (e.g., in Notepad, BBEdit, TextWrangler).

When you have this text file, just use iTunes to copy it to Sightings the same way you download data files (see above). The next time you launch Sightings, it will import the new names and delete them from the text file. Any rows that were unable to be imported will be left in the text file. Sightings is also smart enough not to import duplicate scientific names. You’re not restricted to only plant and animal names; you can include any names you want.


Settings
You can adjust settings for some of Sightings’ functionality in the iOS Settings app.

Sightings settings screenshot

Default email
This is the address that will be used by default when emailing data from Sightings.

Enable GPS in BG
You can leave the GPS hardware running in the background if you want. These means you won’t have to wait for your iPhone to pick up the satellites the next time you want to enter a sighting, but it will obviously use power. I keep this setting on, and then just manually turn off the GPS in the Sightings app using the little satellite button at the bottom of the screen.

GPS auto-off
Use this to automagically turn off the GPS hardware if it has been unused for 10 mins. This will help decrease battery usage.

CSV files to keep
If you don’t want to email the data files to yourself, you can connect your phone to your computer, open iTunes and download the data files. A new CSV file is saved each day, up to this limit.

Output formats
As well as emailing yourself a CSV file, you can export the data in GPX format. If you email this to your iPhone, you can open the GPX file in something like GPS Kit to view your Sightings records on a map. The only other export format supported at the moment is GPX, but other formats may be added if there is sufficient demand from users.

Dark interface
Turn this on to darken the interface. This is useful if you’re road cruising at night and want to keep Sightings running. The dark interface is less distracting than the regular light interface.