Overview of Online Tools and Processes

Concepts

Remnant Prairies provides a robust and flexible mechanism for defining and tracking individual plots of land. While this flexibility introduces some additional complexity, its payoff is our ability to accommodate virtually any setting. The mechanism involves these hierarchical levels of geography:

  • A Location is the primary geographical entity (though a Group can have multiple locations — more about that here). A Location usually corresponds to a field, but it can represent any space that is a cohesive concept about which someone has questions and wants answers. A Location has one or more Georegions. Read all about Locations here.
  • A Georegion is an overlay within a Location that represents a particular subset of interest. There are three types of Georegions: Regions, Lines, and Markers. Lines and Markers can be used to describe, locate and measure particular features of interest, while Regions are two-dimensional spaces within which a Floristic Quality Assessment is performed. Read all about Georegions here.
  • An FQA is a point-in-time measurement within a Location’s Region based on the plant species identified there. Read all about FQAs here.

The terminology we’ve adopted probably seems rather slap-dash to anyone experienced in formal Geographical Information System (GIS) procedures, but we’ve found that these “GIS-lite” techniques serve our purposes quite well and fit very nicely with the tools that Google Maps provides.

While our system is by no means the same sort of full-featured application that ARC-GIS is, it does offer a major advantage: it is fully web-based. The main limitation is that users need fairly competent bandwidth to use our system — mostly because of all the stuff that Google sends out with its maps. Using the Remnant Prairies tools via a dial-up Internet connection is going to be disappointing.

Process

Setting up a new “account” within Remnant Prairies involves several simple steps (following signing-up and logging-in, of course):

  1. Create a new Location.
  2. Create a new Region (if doing FQAs) or a new Line or Marker (for other purposes).
  3. Select that Region and create a new FQA.
  4. Add in the species of plants you found in the field into the FQA’s species list.
  5. Once you’ve added in all the plants from your survey, the Remnant Prairie system will automatically do all the calculations for the FQA as well as display the current results in context with any prior results.
  6. Behind the scenes, the Remnant Prairies system will also add your data to the aggregated information about the distribution of reported plants — mapped on the various plants’ information pages and in the location database.

Created: February 02, 2010 14:12
Last updated: February 02, 2010 19:24


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