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Post Info TOPIC: MapMate users discussion/Q&A


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RE: MapMate users discussion/Q&A


Hi Simon,

Just to reassure you, you can continue uploading your records to GMBRG without running the new birds patch 497. I would recommend all GMBRG MapMate users to hold off from running the patch until I have had the chance to test it on a spare copy of MapMate. In all probability this will just be an update of the scientific names e.g. Carduelis chloris to Chloris chloris and an update to the taxonomic order.

However, I agree that the old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" is a good rule to work by. Many of us who grew up with the Peterson Field Guide in Vouus order, still find it difficult to come to terms with the constant changes to the taxonomic order and there are probably few of us that use the scientific names for birds unless we are in conversation with a birder from Europe. Whilst I don't know the Hungarian for Willow Tit, Poecile montanus will make perfect sense to a birder from Budapest biggrin

I'll post on here once I've tested the patch.

Steve

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Chaps

I have recently received a Mapmate newsletter 122 that has a new patch for birds, patch 497. Do we need to run this patch in order to continue uploading records? I'm always of the opinion that if it ain't broke don't fix it and fingers crossed I haven't had any issues lately.

Cheers,
Simon

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A number of MapMate users have been experiencing difficulty in uploading sync files to the MapMate webserver and have mistakenly thought that their records had been safely received and imported into the GMBRG database. This had unfortunate consequences for one person when their computer crashed and they lost all their records. Luckily I was able to send back to them their records up to end 2011 but they had to reinput approx. 500 of their 2012 records.

Would all GMBRG MapMate users please note the following:

1) After creating a sync file it will appear in the TO DO LIST. To upload the file to the MapMate webserver you have to double-click on the file name in the list. An Upload button then appears at the bottom of the replicator box. Click on this to send the file. If you can't see then the Upload button then your file won't have been sent.

2) When the file has been sent successfully a message will appear to say that user 5ng (i.e. me) has been successfully notified.

3) If your file has been received by me you will always receive a notification email via MapMate confirming receipt. Under normal circumstances I download and acknowledge all files the same day that you send them. Unless it's the middle of the night in which case I will be asleep smile

So if you think you have sent your 2012 records but not received an acknowledgement please get in touch. You will need to reset the sync record before creating and sending a sync file.

Thanks to all the MapMate users who have already submitted their 2012 records. Ian and I greatly appreciate you spending the time doing so, as this allows us to devote more time to other GMBRG matters.

As stated in previous posts we would ideally like you to get up to date with inputting records and start submitting them at the end of each month.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Tuesday 2nd of July 2013 08:24:09 PM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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The GMBRG/GMLRC MapMate licences have now been renewed although you may not have received notification of this from MapMate. If you are still inputting your 2012 records would you please try to complete this by end June and upload them to the MapMate webserver.

Some users are already inputting their 2013 records and submitting them on a monthly basis. This certainly has benefits because it means that when GMBRG receives a data request from an ecological consultant, we are able to supply them with records as recent as last week. There has been a significant increase in the number of data searches carried out over the past year, so you can be assured that your records are being put to good use. The same benefit also applies when the GM Ecology Unit requests data to carry out reviews of Sites of Biological Importance.

Thanks to all the MapMate users who have got to grips with using the programme over the past 10 months. Submitting your records electronically not only ensures the GMBRG database is up to date, but also reduces the data processing workload and will hopefully over the coming years enable the time saved to be devoted to more productive uses.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Thursday 28th of March 2013 08:00:30 PM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Please note that if you have a copy of MapMate supplied by GMBRG/GMLRC the licence expires at midnight tonight. You will still be able to continue inputting records and use MapMate to analyse your records. However, you won't be able to upload sync files or download patches.

GMLRC is in the process of renewing the licences and MapMate will notify you by email once this has been done, hopefully within the next week.

Steve

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Thanks Steve

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Dave,

We would welcome records of other taxonomic groups such as butterflies, mammals and dragonflies. However, please create a separate reference for these as follows:

Author - your name
Year - as appropriate
Title -Greater Manchester Records of Flora and Fauna (excluding birds)

MapMate uses taxonomic filters so it's easy to view your records of birds separately from say mammals. To enter non bird sightings you need to ensure that the appropriate taxonomic groups are added to Your Configuration.
To do this click on View/My Configuration
The configuration wizard will open
Click on Next then put a tick against the appropriate groups you wish to record e.g. Lepidoptera or Vertebrata: Mammals
Then complete the wizard (you shouldn't need to change your geographic areas)

To input records
Open data entry and click on Records / Change Defaults
The Data Entry Properties box will open
Click on the drop down arrow below Default to Taxa in ....
You can select All or alternatively the individual taxonomic groups. The latter tends to make data input easier as it reduces the list of species to select from and reduces the chances of making an error.
If you select All and input Hedgehog you are faced with a choice of 5 species: including gall causer, stonewort, grimmia and clover
Whereas if the default is set to Vertebrata: mammals you will only have one species to choose from Western Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Hope that helps.

Steve




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Greater Manchester Local Record Centre www.gmwildlife.org.uk


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Can non-avian records be submitted using the usual GMBRG reference?

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Synchronisation with other MapMate users.
GMBRG MapMate users please note that you should not download/synchronise files from other MapMate users outside the group. We are operating as a closed group and everyone has been provided with files containing a standard set of sites generated on a single copy of MapMate. The problem with processing sync files from users outside the group, is that these will contain their own sites, recorders and references. If you import one of these files the duplicate sites will be transferred to the main GMBRG database when you send a sync file.

It has taken many hours work over the past 18 months to remove all the duplicate sites from the GMBRG database. This is not an exercise I wish to repeat

Just to reiterate, if you require additional sites please contact me and they will be set up on the master copy of MapMate and sent to you.

Borough site files are now available for all boroughs apart from Bolton and Wigan. So if you would like all the sites for a particular borough, let me know and I'll send you the files. Individual sites can be supplied from Bolton and Wigan and files containing all the sites will be available later in the year.

Steve


-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Sunday 20th of January 2013 02:52:49 PM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Yes Dave,

That's correct. You will need to create a new reference for your 2012 records by opening Data Entry, clicking on the blue word Reference and then selecting Add a new reference from the menu.

Once you've filled in the boxes Author, Year and Title just click on Save.
Then the reference can be called up in the data entry box by just typing your first name and pressing enter.
You will then have two references to choose from, 2011 and 2012.
Select the 2012 reference and click on OK.
It will then appear in the Data Entry box and you can begin entering records.

Steve


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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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When entering data for 2012, for the "Reference" field, it is just necessary to change the year, so that it reads "name, 2012, Greater Manchester Bird Recording Group" ?

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Bill Myerscough wrote:

Hope this is of some use....not trying to interfere.




Not at all Bill, much appreciated
Thanks for the advice from all of you.

When I tried MapMate again tonight, it started by telling me that it was adding to the database. When I then checked the site names, all the new ones had been added (I had tried yesterday closing MapMate down then reopening. I don't know what I'd done wrong)

I have to say that any minor hiccups (on my part) in getting used to MapMate have been easily overcome with the readily shared advice, so anybody reading my post shouldn't be put off if they're thinking of installing and using it

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dave broome wrote:

I need help with a mental block on how to get a file of new site names on to my copy of MapMate........

I can download the file, but can neither open it nor save to a location (i.e. My MapMate/Data/Cache/Download). How do I get the file on to there??





Dave,

Sorry to have missed the late night/early morning posts. I was in the land of nod Ian and Bill have offered sound advice. Have you managed to resolve the problem?

How you process these sites files depends on your computer's operating system. If like me you are still using Windows XP then you should be able to save the file directly from your email to My Documents/My MapMate/Data/Cache/Download. Then open MapMate click on Replication. When the replicator opens click on Synchronise. If you are using Windows 7 it prevents you from saving the file directly to the MapMate download folder. As Ian has explained you need to save it first to My Documents and then either drag, or cut and paste it to the download folder. Don't copy the file because Windows changes the file name to identify it as a copy which prevents Mapmate from recognising the file Sometimes computers are too clever!

I received two emails from MapMate before 10pm last night saying that you had no new records to send me. This suggests that rather than synchronising the sites file you were trying to create a sync file to send to me.

As Bill suggested, check in you MapMate Download folder to see if the file is still there. If it is then open MapMate click on Replication. When the replicator opens click on Synchronise. When synchronisation has completed check to see whether the sites have been added. If the file is not there then save it again from your email and follow the above instructions.

Let me know if your still having problems I can give you a ring this evening or when convenient.

Steve





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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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The option to 'save as' to the My MapMate folder has never worked for me Bill for some reason and dragging and dropping is the only way. No idea why but its easy enough anyway

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Just a suggestion another way to deal with an attachment to an e-mail - I open the e-mail, right click on the attachment and a drop down box should appear on which you can click "save all" - a "save attachments" dialogue box should then appear which by clicking on the browse button then will allow you through clicking open a few folders, to select the file where you want to deposit it - MapMate/Data/Cache/Download. I would have thought this possibly a bit easier than dragging and dropping? If you look at this above mentioned folder before you do this it should be empty. Once you have done the above, if you look again, it should then contain the file that wants replicating. If you then go to the MapMate program and replicate, then this downloaded file should be incorporated into your database and if you go back and look at the MapMate/Data/Cache/Download file it should be empty indicating that it has been dealt with.

Dave - the fact it was replicating - might that suggest that it was dealing with an older file and not the one you wanted? Not sure. Could you try the above and see if it now works? Not sure if you are aware but you can check before and after to see how many sites you have to choose from by going to the MapMate program and clicking on Analysis/Browse Tables/Browse Sites - when you run this query it will tell you at the bottom left in blue how many sites you now have in your database. Again you can look as a "before and after" to quickly see if the update has been effected. Hope this is of some use....not trying to interfere. Hope this suggestion works, if not then Steve will have to ride to the rescue!

Best wishes,

Bill.


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GREATER MANCHESTER NEEDS YOUR BIRD SIGHTINGS!


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Afraid not Dave, may I suggest dropping Steve Atkins (MapMate guru) an email

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Thanks Ian - I've now managed to drag the download into My MapMate/Data/Cache/Download. When I then replicated, it seemed to be working (as it said it was replicating downloaded data in to my database) but I've checked my sites and the new ones aren't there Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?

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Dave, here's what I do personally:

Download the file from the email to 'my documents'.

From there I drag it into the 'My MapMate' folder (which should also be in 'my documents') and within there into 'Data', then 'Cache' and finally 'Download'.

Then, when you replicate in MapMate it should find the file no problem.

If that doesn't work then it's over to Steve as that's about the current limit of my knowledge

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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I need help with a mental block on how to get a file of new site names on to my copy of MapMate........

I can download the file, but can neither open it nor save to a location (i.e. My MapMate/Data/Cache/Download). How do I get the file on to there??

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I think we need to be conscious of not over complicating record submission here. At the end of the day we just really need records submitted for starters

Obviously, the more detail in sightings the better but most observers already note birds obviously just flying over (geese, visible migration birds, waders etc) and also those breeding, whether that be via BTO codes or not.

I just want observers to formally submit what they see and have found that when they do, their natural interest grows and they become more involved in it. There are many birders in this forum who have recently converted to the joys of recording birds and the benefit that brings to both us as birders (via hugely increasing our knowledge and appreciation of birds) and the birds themselves (via their conservation and a more thorough understanding of their status).

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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With regard to birds in the air, most BTO surveys treat birds actually "using" the site, rather than just passing through, with codes other than F for Flyover. So, for instance, a Skylark singing above its territory, a hovering Kestrel, or another raptor which is obviously hunting would not be given the F code. Should this procedure be used with MapMate and Ecxel files for the GMBRG records?

I appreciate that it's not always simple. A Swallow skimming low over a field is obviously using the site for feeding (just like a hovering Kestrel would be) and the site is therefore important to the species when assessing the site's conservation value. However, Swifts flying a bit higher over the site, feeding on insects like the Swallow, may well be nesting a hundred miles away...

Perhaps we should make more behavioural notes under Comments? Any advice on this appreciated

Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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I'd also add that any species flying over the county is important to us; just look at the current visible migration phenomenon going on at some county locations. Terrific stuff.

If it's within the county boundary; record it. Simples

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Nick,

Flocks of Pink-footed Geese should be entered against the site they are flying over which would usually be where you are birdwatching, although I appreciate that on occasions you may see a distant flock overflying another part of GM in which case you will need to try and estimate where they are overflying. So for example if I'm at my raptor watchpoint at Watergrove with my scope I could quite possibly see a flock overflying Manchester City Centre. So I would enter the record against the city centre.
In Status enter Flying Over which allows us to distinguish between birds which are down, although with the exception of singletons it's very rare to see a flock of Pink-feet on the deck in GM.

As usual please enter in Comments the time and direction of flight. If the count is estimated then type the number in Quantity followed by !e. This will add "Estimated Quantity" in Comments.

As far as Waxwings go just enter your own records against your own name and we will deal with duplicate records. However, if you go birding on a regular basis with another MapMate user just let me know and I'll create a joint recorder for you. Then only one person has to input the records and can send them to the other via sync file.


Mark Rigby and I were recently at the RSPB Dovestone bioblitz but have decided not to create a joint recorder. We had a great day but as Mark said, it will probably be another decade before we go birding together again

Steve

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Steve/Ian

Sorry, another question (which may be relevent to others).

How do you want us to treat fly overs by Pinkfeet (or others) flocks, obviously these birds aren't (usually) stopping in GM (never mind the individual site they may be viewed from) and the same flock may be observed by more than one recorder ?

Waxwings in influx years, again usually seen by multi-observers, do you want us to record them as single observers and someone centrally (presumably you !) deal with any potential duplication ?

thanks
Nick

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Steve/Ian

Thanks for the replies.

I will proceed as advised, download patch 283 and go from there.

cheers
Nick

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Hi Nick,

Ian has answered most of your questions but I can add a few comments. You are correct in thinking that as a general rule the more precise the location used when recording and entering records the better. This certainly applies to Schedule 1, Red & Amber list species which account for over 70% of the species found in GM. It's not really necessary for green list birds. Whilst we haven't created sites for the individual Carrington Moss/Chat Moss fields wherever possible the field no.'s should be entered in Comments which you have been doing. There is no need to enter a separate record per species for each field no. just put the information in Comments e.g. 6 Yellowhammer - Irlam Moss FN12 (1), FN16 (2) & FN52 (3).

It's not just when responding to planning applications that we require the locations of birds to be recorded as precisely as possible but also for site management and conservation action. The initial selection of Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) and maintaining their grade/status relies on up to date information being made available to GMEU. For many sites there is currently a lack of bird records. A list of the SBIs in any of the 10 boroughs can be provided to anyone who is interested in finding out which are their local sites. Maps showing the boundaries of individual SBIs can also be provided for recording purposes but please don't ask for too many at once. There are over 500 in GM!

I can also supply you and any other MapMate user with an Excel file containing all the sites in the GMBRG database for a specific borough. You can then request any sites you visit and these will be provided as a MapMate sync file. It's important that you don't add your own sites to your copy of MapMate as these will duplicate those in the GMBRG database.

It is in fact quicker to input records directly into MapMate rather than entering them onto an Excel file, as long as you lock the fields on the data entry box and use the BTO 2 letter species codes. I would recommend that you download patch 283 and enter Wren as WR which will input Troglodytes troglodytes (Wren). Personally the only time I would input sub-species are for wagtails and pipits or when a European sub-species is found. So if you're lucky enough to find a Black-bellied Dipper enter this as Cinclus cinclus cinclus but their is no need to enter every Dipper record as Cinclus cinclus gularis. You can still enter Yellow Wagtail using the full name when you want to record the British subspecies, providing you have set your configuration to include Vertebrata:birds as well as Vertebrata:birds BOU A-C.

To get rid of Sky lark and other silly names such as Little Plover and Black Scoter (dream on!) download patches 427 and 429 but not 428.

Hope the above makes sense If not I'm happy to clarify any points.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Sunday 22nd of July 2012 11:59:19 AM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Steve Atkins will no doubt provide the definitive answers Nick, being far more competent with MapMate than I, but for the time being at least, here's what I know.

Sites in MapMate are provided by Steve, so if you haven't already got in touch with him about what sites you need then you could do with doing that. He'll provide you with your most used sites which you then import into your copy of MapMate, leaving you with all the sites you should need. Though often, using the larger generic sites names is necessary, the more specific recorders can be, the better. Therefore, many sites within the larger generic areas are split (i.e. Brookheys Covert, Olive Mount Farm, Little Woolden Moss, Twelve Yards Road etc etc) for more detail if users can provide it. Of course, you only need type in the first few letters and MapMate will either fill in the rest for you or provide a short list of possibilities to pick from.

I use the BTO codes just for ease of use, as (like Steve) I input an awful lot of records but when entering any species you can, once again, just type in the first few letters i.e. blue-h, and it will fill the rest of the bird's name in for you (Blue-headed Wagtail) or provide a list of possibilities once again for you to pick from.

For species like Wren, just type in Wren (or WR using the BTO codes which can be printed off the BTO website) and the software will fill in the rest (latin name etc).

Sky Lark used to be an accepted spelling of the word but this has now been standardised to Skylark. On my copy of MapMate it is Skylark, so perhaps yours needs an update: Steve will know more about that.

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Steve/Ian

Couple of questions (and I'm asking on here, rather than email, as the answer may impact on others).

When inputting records for the larger GM sites (eg Carrington Moss, Astley and Chat etc) is the strategy to record in the comments field (or other) the recognised field number the records were taken ? I ask, as I assume if the records are being used to challenge developments then more specific information is required rather than just the generic area name (due to the large geographical area the name covers).

If the answer to the above is "yes" then it obviously greatly increases the number of individual records to be input. Is there any way records can be uploaded "in block" either via importing through ms excel or word ?

Re: Taxon; I haven't downloaded patch 283 for using the BTO 2 letter species code but if I do, does it then give you the option of the specific sub-species ?

and on sub-species, some I'm just not familiar with, is it acceptable to put (for example) Troglodytes troglodytes (Winter Wren) rather than Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus (British Wren) ?

and why, on MapMate, is Skylark Sky Lark rather than Skylark (sorry couldn't resist !) ?


many thanks
Nick










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That's a good question Dave and one I have given some thought to. Whilst everyone using MapMate will, I'm sure, want to input their rarity sightings so they can generate a full personal GM, borough or site list, it could potentially cause a problem in the GMBRG database if we end up with 20 records of the same bird on the same date!

However, I think it is worthwhile in the case of a long staying rarity to have a record for each day of its stay. With most rarities not everyone manages to get to see it on the first day.

So there are two ways of getting round the problem. The duplicate records for the same dates can be removed from the GMBRG database. So on the first day it would be the finder whose name goes down against the record. On subsequent days it will become more difficult to decided whose record is retained in the database, unless people log the time they saw it. Even then you might have two people who saw the bird at the same time.

The 2nd way of getting round the problem would be to ask the people submitting duplicate sightings to archive their record on their copy of MapMate. This prevents the record from being sent out when you create a sync file. I'm happy to explain how to do this. However, first of all someone needs to get out there and find a long staying mega rarity which will attract multiple submission.



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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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If a number of MapMate users see the same individual rarity and subsequently enter the record on to their own system, presumably this will result in many records of the same bird being submitted? Does this cause a problem in filtering/sorting the records?

Just trying to get my head around how this all works - computers, they'll never catch on

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Yes Dave,

I'm in the process of sorting out sync files containing people's records and will be sending some of these out over the weekend. The files will be uploaded to the MapMate webserver, so providing you have registered your copy on the MapMate website you will receive notification when the file is available to download. Instructions for downloading and importing the files will be emailed to everyone.

The files will contain all the sites for which you have ever submitted records. In your case Dave there are 350 sites in total, including Wigan Town centre.

Would people who have not regularly submitted records to GMBRG in the past please check the sites received so far and email me with your top ten additional sites. I'll give priority to sorting these out.

Files are also available containing the Horwich Moors, Oldham and Rochdale sites. Again for anyone who bird watches in these areas please let me know if you want any of these.

Eventually, there will be a sites file for each borough but this will take some time to put together.

Steve



-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Saturday 12th of May 2012 12:31:33 PM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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When the sync files are sent out, will this add more locations to the sites list? On the list of 244 locations Wigan Town Centre isn't listed.



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Just a bit more info. I will be sending a sync file to everyone over the coming week which will contain all the records you have previously submitted to GMBRG and possibly some that you didn't

If in the past you have submitted records using the Excel form and have retained these please do not import these into your copy of MapMate. Otherwise you will send duplicate records and sites back to the GMBRG database. Something we need to avoid at all costs!



-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Tuesday 8th of May 2012 08:03:22 PM

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Hopefully you will have received your copy of MapMate today. If not then it should be arriving any day now.

If you have already submitted your 2011 records on the GMBRG Excel file then please do not enter these records into your copy of MapMate, or import them from the Excel file. They will be imported into the GMBRG database in the usual manner and then a sync file sent to you with the records for you to import into MapMate. This will avoid duplication of records and sites in the GMBRG database.

Should you need any help with installing or using MapMate then please get in touch by email, phone or pm.


Steve


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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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MapMate software has now been dispatched to those observers who have expressed interest. This forum is for any discoveries/queries/problems/ideas etc for those using the software.

My sincere thanks to you all

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)
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