Working for birds in Africa

ABC app help text

Introduction

We have tried to make this App as user friendly as possible. Many users who are familiar with a range of smartphone and tablet birding Apps will probably not need to use the help text. However, we have found in usability trials that some features may need further explanation. The purpose of this section is to provide help text and associated diagrams to assist usability. Thanks and acknowledgements follow the help text. 

Settings Tab

Settings are used by each individual to enable their own requirements to be met. Access to Settings is via the sequence Home: Settings. At present, the Settings page has four functions which the user can control: language; range status; species' list sequence and sightings. The App is written in English but species names are provided in English and several other languages and Scientific names can also be viewed. The user can decide on the primary and secondary languages. A single button is available to control range status. If range status is required, this button has to be switched on and GPS must also be invoked. Note that the range is the approximate distance between the smartphone and the nearest point of the species' range. The species' list sequence can be changed between alphabetic and taxonomic by switching the button Sort by taxonomy on or off. Highlight my sightings allows the user to specify a time period for the display of his or her sightings. See DIAGRAM1.

Species Tab

Access to the Species List for Mauritius is via the sequence Home: Species. Scroll down the species list to see the full Mauritius checklist. For fast access to a species of interest, tap a letter on the right hand side of the screen e.g. T to provide a fast search to species beginning with the letter T. Use the search function and type for example ‘tern’ to find all terns or ‘mauritius’ to find all species with Mauritius in the name. In red, you will see the estimated distance to the nearest range of each species or the words 'in range' in green. Ensure the range status Setting is ON for this function. See DIAGRAM2 which has further explanation of the search facilities. Use the Settings function to switch between alphabetic and taxonomic species' lists as required.

Sightings

You can add your personal sightings via the sequence Home: Species: Click on a species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Sightings: +Add sighting or press + in the top right corner. The date and time will be specified automatically and location will be given provided that GPS is active. The sighting will be saved on your smartphone. See DIAGRAM3 for further details.

Call

Quick access to the species' call is via the sequence Home: Species: Click on species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Call. You can hear the call by pressing 'Play' and stop it at any time by pressing 'Pause' or Stop'. Please do not play the call at a high volume or repetitively which may disturb the bird. See DIAGRAM4 for further details. Please note that calls can also be accessed from the species' text screen. If the Call button is pale blue, no call is available for this species in the App. 

Info

Photos

Access to photos is via the sequence Home: Species: Click on species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Info. The forward and back arrows at the top right of the screen allow the next and previous species on the checklist to be viewed. The back arrow on the top left of the screen allows you to return to the species list. Above and below the photo, you will see related information including bird type, location and photographer. At the bottom left of the photograph, you will see the number of photographs of this species and the position of each image in sequence. You can scroll left or right to see the next and previous images. Double tap on an image to go to Max Mode. This allows you to use pinch zoom in order to to magnify the photo. You can rotate the phone to give a full screen image of landscape photos. Double tap on the image again to return to normal mode.  See DIAGRAM5 for further explanation of the various features and buttons. 

Text

Follow the sequence as for 'Photos', then touch the 'Information' button on the lower control bar. On the resultant screen, you can scroll down the species' text, play the Call or see a detailed map of Mauritius with the range of the species. See DIAGRAM6 for further explanation of the various features and buttons.

Maps

Follow the sequence as for Text. Touch the Map button to see a detailed map of Mauritius with the range of this species. See DIAGRAM7. The Map button at the bottom of the screen will display a Google Map. Click on 'Map layers' then the appropriate buttons to apply your personal sightings (My Sightings), Community Sightings and Range Maps as required for this species. Pinch zoom the Google Map or use the + and - buttons to zoom in and out as required. The area of interest can be shown in satellite or standard map format. Note that there are few sightings for Mauritius at present but we hope that these will build with use of the App. See DIAGRAM8.

Similar Species

Follow the sequence as for Maps. Touch the Similar button to see species which are similar to the target species (note that not all species have similar species in Mauritius in which case only the target species will be shown). As an example, Common Sandpiper shows Grey-tailed Tattler and Great Knot as similar species. Click on Grey-tailed Tattler or Great Knot and you will be able to compare photos and other information for these species and Common Sandpiper. See DIAGRAM9.

Sightings Tab

If you have added your personal sightings, you can view these via the sequence Home: Sightings. These are shown on the page in blocks and if you tap on a block say for a specific date, the sightings will be displayed on a Google Map. See the section 'Maps' above for a description of some of the available functions. See DIAGRAM10.

Back-up Tab

You will be able to back-up and restore your personal sightings via the sequence Home: Back-up. In order to use this database service, you will need to register and sign in with your e-mail address and password. Once signed in, you can Back-up your personal sightings. These will be stored in a central database and can be downloaded to a different device later if required. Note that your records may be used by the community of users as on the Species:Map pages and for other purposes e.g. conservation research. You can also Restore your personal sightings to this device and Update community sightings to download the latest community sightings to this device. You do not need to sign out and will remain signed in the next time you use the App. See DIAGRAM11.

Acknowledgements

The Birds of Mauritius is a field guide which includes photos, calls, text and maps for birds on the Mauritius checklist. It can be used as an aid to identification and also to record bird sightings and maintain personal lists. It is intended to be used by ornithologists, national park wardens, bird watchers and anyone with an interest in the birds of Mauritius and its associated islands including Rodrigues. The App is free to download by anyone who has an Android or IOS smartphone. It is an ABC asset which meets the Club’s primary objectives of education, communication and the conservation of Africa’s birds. Perhaps more importantly, we aim to increase people’s environmental awareness and their appreciation of nature. We want to represent birds in a way that is fun, stimulating, cool and interactive and as a result, change people’s perceptions of the natural world.

Sponsorship

We would like to thank Rockjumper which has provided financial and content support making significant contributions towards the development of the App.

Content

Thanks are due to the large number of people who have provided content and support for the App. There are far too many to name individually here although providers of photographs and calls are named along with their content in the App itself. Particular mention should be made of Jacques de Spéville's contribution of a huge number of superb photographs taken in Mauritius and Rodrigues as well as his overall support to the development tasks; Peter Hills and Paul van Giersbergen have provided a large number of excellent photographs; Vikash Tatayah, Director of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation responded positively to the initial suggestion of the App and has helped with the provision of calls and other information; the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provided most of the calls for the App; photographers and members of birdlife photography Australia provided photographs of a large number of vagrant seabirds; Bloomsbury Publishing provided a licence to ABC for the use of text from the 8 Volume Birds of Africa; Roger Safford, one of the main authors of Birds of Africa Volume VIII and Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands provided significant advice and guidance; Paul Roper has helped in many ways but his knowledge of waders and terns has been most valuable; Elaine Cook's knowledge of seabirds has been a great help and Jo East has provided help in sourcing many of the calls. Special mention is due to Kevin Ravno of g-bird who has combined technical vision and leadership with the ornithological knowledge in order to bring this App to fruition.

Future

Birds of Mauritius is the pilot App which we believe has demonstrated our competence at developing and populating a smartphone Field Guide. We would welcome your feedback on any aspect of the App to help us improve our future offerings. We plan to roll out similar Apps for other African countries, our next venture being Birds of Nigeria and other West African countries. This is a considerably larger task than the Birds of Mauritius and will require significant help from ABC members and others in the preparation of content. If you would like to provide feedback or help in this work in future, please contact us at [email protected].

John Caddick, Website and Technical Manager and Richard Charles, Chairman African Bird Club

________________________________________________________

HELP TEXT WITHIN THE APP

Introduction

We have tried to make this App as user friendly as possible. Many users who are familiar with a range of smartphone and tablet birding Apps will probably not need to use the help text. However, we have found in usability trials that some features may need further explanation. The purpose of this section is to provide help text and associated diagrams to assist usability. Go to the ABC website for further details with diagrams or contact [email protected] if you have any problems or suggestions for improvement. Thanks and acknowledgements follow the help text. 

Settings Tab

Settings are used by each individual to enable their own requirements to be met. Access to Settings is via the sequence Home: Settings. At present, the Settings page has four functions which the user can control: language; range status; species' list sequence and sightings. The App is written in English but species names are provided in English and several other languages and Scientific names can also be viewed. The user can decide on the primary and secondary languages. A single button is available to control range status. If range status is required, this button has to be switched on and GPS must also be invoked. Note that the range is the approximate distance between the smartphone and the nearest point of the species' range. The species' list sequence can be changed between alphabetic and taxonomic by switching the button Sort by taxonomy on or off. Highlight my sightings allows the user to specify a time period for the display of his or her sightings.

Species Tab

Access to the Species List for Mauritius is via the sequence Home: Species. Scroll down the species list to see the full Mauritius checklist. For fast access to a species of interest, tap a letter on the right hand side of the screen e.g. T to provide a fast search to species beginning with the letter T. Use the search function and type for example ‘tern’ to find all terns or ‘mauritius’ to find all species with Mauritius in the name. In red, you will see the estimated distance to the nearest range of each species or the words 'in range' in green. Ensure the range status Setting is ON for this function. Use the Settings function to switch between alphabetic and taxonomic species' lists as required.

Sightings

You can add your personal sightings via the sequence Home: Species: Click on a species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Sightings: +Add sighting or press + in the top right corner. The date and time will be specified automatically and location will be given provided that GPS is active. The sighting will be saved on your smartphone.

Call

Quick access to the species' call is via the sequence Home: Species: Click on species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Call. You can hear the call by pressing 'Play' and stop it at any time by pressing 'Pause' or Stop'. Please do not play the call at a high volume or repetitively which may disturb the bird. Please note that calls can also be accessed from the species' text screen. If the Call button is pale blue, no call is available for this species in the App. 

Info

Photos

Access to photos is via the sequence Home: Species: Click on species of interest e.g. Mauritius Bulbul: Info. The forward and back arrows at the top right of the screen allow the next and previous species on the checklist to be viewed. The back arrow on the top left of the screen allows you to return to the species list. Above and below the photo, you will see related information including bird type, location and photographer. At the bottom left of the photograph, you will see the number of photographs of this species and the position of each image in sequence. You can scroll left or right to see the next and previous images. Double tap on an image to go to Max Mode. This allows you to use pinch zoom in order to to magnify the photo. You can rotate the phone to give a full screen image of landscape photos. Double tap on the image again to return to normal mode.

Text

Follow the sequence as for 'Photos', then touch the 'Information' button on the lower control bar. On the resultant screen, you can scroll down the species' text, play the Call or see a detailed map of Mauritius with the range of the species.

Maps

Follow the sequence as for Text. Touch the Map button to see a detailed map of Mauritius with the range of this species. The Map button at the bottom of the screen will display a Google Map. Click on 'Map layers' then the appropriate buttons to apply your personal sightings (My Sightings), Community Sightings and Range Maps as required for this species. Pinch zoom the Google Map or use the + and - buttons to zoom in and out as required. The area of interest can be shown in satellite or standard map format. Note that there are few sightings for Mauritius at present but we hope that these will build with use of the App.

Similar Species

Follow the sequence as for Maps. Touch the Similar button to see species which are similar to the target species (note that not all species have similar species in Mauritius in which case only the target species will be shown). As an example, Common Sandpiper shows Grey-tailed Tattler and Great Knot as similar species. Click on Grey-tailed Tattler or Great Knot and you will be able to compare photos and other information for these species and Common Sandpiper.

Sightings Tab

If you have added your personal sightings, you can view these via the sequence Home: Sightings. These are shown on the page in blocks and if you tap on a block say for a specific date, the sightings will be displayed on a Google Map. See the section 'Maps' above for a description of some of the available functions.

Back-up Tab

You will be able to back-up and restore your personal sightings via the sequence Home: Back-up. In order to use this database service, you will need to register and sign in with your e-mail address and password. Once signed in, you can Back-up your personal sightings. These will be stored in a central database and can be downloaded to a different device later if required. Note that your records may be used by the community of users as on the Species:Map pages and for other purposes e.g. conservation research. You can also Restore your personal sightings to this device and Update community sightings to download the latest community sightings to this device. You do not need to sign out and will remain signed in the next time you use the App.

Acknowledgements

The Birds of Mauritius is a field guide which includes photos, calls, text and maps for birds on the Mauritius checklist. It can be used as an aid to identification and also to record bird sightings and maintain personal lists. It is intended to be used by ornithologists, national park wardens, bird watchers and anyone with an interest in the birds of Mauritius and its associated islands including Rodrigues. The App is free to download by anyone who has an Android or IOS smartphone. It is an ABC asset which meets the Club’s primary objectives of education, communication and the conservation of Africa’s birds. Perhaps more importantly, we aim to increase people’s environmental awareness and their appreciation of nature. We want to represent birds in a way that is fun, stimulating, cool and interactive and as a result, change people’s perceptions of the natural world.

Sponsorship

We would like to thank Rockjumper which has provided financial and content support making significant contributions towards the development of the App.

Content

Thanks are due to the large number of people who have provided content and support for the App. There are far too many to name individually here although providers of photographs and calls are named along with their content in the App itself. Particular mention should be made of Jacques de Spéville's contribution of a huge number of superb photographs taken in Mauritius and Rodrigues as well as his overall support to the development tasks; Peter Hills and Paul van Giersbergen have provided a large number of excellent photographs; Vikash Tatayah, Director of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation responded positively to the initial suggestion of the App and has helped with the provision of calls and other information; the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provided most of the calls for the App; photographers and members of birdlife photography Australia provided photographs of a large number of vagrant seabirds; Bloomsbury Publishing provided a licence to ABC for the use of text from the 8 Volume Birds of Africa; Roger Safford, one of the main authors of Birds of Africa Volume VIII and Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands provided significant advice and guidance; Paul Roper has helped in many ways but his knowledge of waders and terns has been most valuable; Elaine Cook's knowledge of seabirds has been a great help and Jo East has provided help in sourcing many of the calls. Special mention is due to Kevin Ravno of g-bird who has combined technical vision and leadership with the ornithological knowledge in order to bring this App to fruition.

Future

Birds of Mauritius is the pilot App which we believe has demonstrated our competence at developing and populating a smartphone Field Guide. We would welcome your feedback on any aspect of the App to help us improve our future offerings. We plan to roll out similar Apps for other African countries, our next venture being Birds of Nigeria and other West African countries. This is a considerably larger task than the Birds of Mauritius and will require significant help from ABC members and others in the preparation of content. If you would like to provide feedback or help in this work in future, please contact us at [email protected].

John Caddick, Website and Technical Manager and Richard Charles, Chairman African Bird Club

____________________________________________________________________________

PROCESS TO DOWNLOAD APP FOR TEST PURPOSES

When fully tested, the App will be available for download from Playstore and iStore in Android and IOS versions respectively. During testing, users will install a version which is only available on Android phones and tablets. The following instructions are for the set-up process using Android 7.0 on a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone but should also work on other Android devices with the latest software installed.

1. Ensure that you have access to wifi and download the file v28.apk to your computer from the Dropbox folder - address will be sent in associated e-mail. The file size is approx. 80 mb.

2. If a previous version of the App is installed, shift the icon to 'uninstall'. Message "Do you want to uninstall this App", click "OK".

3. Attach smartphone or tablet to your computer via USB cable.

4. Message should appear on smartphone screen "allow access to device data" and click "Allow".

5. Using your computer, copy the file v28.apk to your smartphone or tablet.

6. Unplug the device from the computer and go to Apps: Samsung: My Files: Installation Files.

7. Click on v28.apk and see message "Do you want to install this App", click "OK".

8. Click "OPEN" when App installed.

9. Message "Allow Birds of Mauritius to access this device's location" and Click "ALLOW".

10. View the App and carry out test procedures as suggested in the e-mail.

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