Here are a few tips to help you work more efficiently.
Note: your records are not shared with anyone else or uploaded to the Internet – only you have access to them.
Protecting your data is one of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of field work. Sightings gives you a couple of ways to back up:
The quickest and easiest way is to email your data to yourself (or to another person, such as a colleague back in the office). You can email a single record, or all records. Click the button at the bottom-left of the screen to bring up the Compose email screen. Even if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you can still create an email containing a backup of your data. It won’t get sent until you’re back on a network, but your records will be sitting safely in your Outbox. Just don’t lose your phone, or drop it into a creek in the Kimberley, or drop it off a boat when you’re seep-sea fishing. Those situations are hard to recover from.
Downloading via iTunes
If you’re not on a network (e.g., you’re in a remote location) and so can’t email your records, you can connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer and download data via iTunes. Have a look at the Sightings Documentation for more details. This is also how you access previous backups stored on your iPhone/iPad. Each day, your records are backed up to a new text file (the filename will have the date in it).
You can update the coordinates for a record by clicking the Refresh location button. You might want to do this if you see an animal in the distance and create a record, but then want to update the location as you get closer to the animal. You can also create a record and start typing in a name before you have an accurate GPS fix, and then update the location once your iPhone/iPad has had time to lock on to the satellites.
Duplicating and deleting records
You can delete a record in the standard iOS manner; by swiping to the left on the record. You can ‘duplicate’ a record by swiping right on it. This will create a new record with the same common/scientific name, but using the current time and location. It’s an easy way to create records if you’re seeing a lot of the same species.
Importing additional names
You can import additional names and have them appear in the auto-complete list. These could be plants, fish, insects, geological classifications, site names, etc. Have a look on the Sightings Documentation page for more details.
To reduce battery usage, Sightings by default turns off the GPS hardware when you quit the app. You can alter this behaviour so that Sightings keeps the GPS hardware active when it’s in the background. Check out the Sightings Documentation for details on how to do this. You might want to do this for a couple of reasons:
Working under dense canopy
If you work under dense canopies, such as rainforests, you’ve probably already noticed that the iPhone often has trouble getting a satellite fix. If, however, you obtain a fix in a clearing and then walk under the canopy, the iPhone is able to maintain that fix. As such, you may prefer that Sightings keeps the GPS hardware active so that it doesn’t lose the satellite fix when you quit it.
Other users might just prefer that Sightings is always ready to record an accurate location. By keeping the GPS hardware active in the background, you can quit Sightings to work in other apps and know that Sightings will be instantly ready to record a location as soon as you reopen it.