Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Krosnick, Shawn [1].

Making the collection of field data as easy as (Survey) 1-2-3: digital field notes and specimen labels with ArcGIS online.

In recent years, the acquisition of biological field data has become increasingly digital, allowing for observations and records to be shared quickly and utilized in new ways. Ensuring accurate documentation of the location where specimens are collected is an essential part of fieldwork. GPS-enabled devices facilitate this process by providing the coordinates of an absolute location, which can then be used to manually or automatically populate geographic name data associated with a location (e.g., county name or municipality). Equally important are details such as habitat, substrate, phenology, color, and abundance; these must be captured while in the field because they cannot be inferred afterwards. Finding a straightforward way to collect and store these types of data with a single application is difficult because each app is designed for its own unique purpose. For example, iNaturalist is excellent for documentation and identification of species, but data entry cannot be customized and it is difficult to export data to produce specimen labels. A solution that allows for both flexibility and efficiency in the collection of specimen-based field data is Survey123, one of the apps available with ArcGIS Online. To facilitate botanical field work and herbarium specimen label generation, a customized survey was created, tested, and improved based on feedback from ca. 120 students in a Field Botany course at Tennessee Tech University between 2021–2022. The survey includes fields that follow Symbiota/DarwinCore descriptions, with examples included as “hints” for each field. Photos taken in the field are attached to the record for later use in identification or confirmation of an ID. Taxon name lists were generated for Tennessee and surrounding states using SERNEC to create a list of all unique taxa collected for the specified area. Taxon names are populated via typing the first few letters of the family name, with lower taxa/authorities restricted based on the initial input. Standardized abundance and phenology descriptions are enforced via checkbox options. Once data has been entered in the field, users can login to ArcGIS Online and launch the survey in Survey123 to edit their records. Collaborators can view embedded photos from the field to assist with identification. When herbarium specimen labels are ready to be printed, a customizable report template is used to produce a MS Word document where survey data is formatted as a specimen label. There are multiple advantages to using Survey123 to collect field data and make specimen labels: 1) geographical name data is automatically populated based on point coordinates; 2) all aspects of data entry, taxon databases, and label generation are fully customizable; 3) collection points are easily visualized using ArcGIS Online; and 4) ArcGIS Online is often already available to academic users (depending on institutional agreements). Using Survey123 and ArcGIS online provides ease of use, ensures data quality, and enables hands-on training with industry-standard software.

1 - Tennessee Technological University, Department of Biology, Department of Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 1100 N Dixie Ave, Cookeville, TN, 38505, USA

Field Botany
field studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: BI&HD I005
Abstract ID:917
Candidate for Awards:None

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