Working backwards and understanding the big picture for your projects can save you time in the long run. This article will help you look at the problem from all sides and prepare your team before they go out in the field.
Who are your stake holders? Most likely there are several. Consider how you will deliver your data to them.
- Is there an agency that needs input to their database? Do they want the data in an Excel sheet? Can you enter the data directly to their database?
- Who else will you send your data to? Do you compile a weekly, monthly, or annual report?
- Do you need calculations in your report? Would a custom report help save time with calculated fields?
Who will be on the team and what are their roles? Remember that the same members can have different roles on different project. You can always adjust team members as the project matures, but it is helpful to visualize your team and how they will work together as you build your project.
If you have used paper forms in the past resist the temptation to simply duplicate the forms on glass. Now is your chance to improve efficiency and accuracy.
- Do the survey forms already exist? Check the Wildnote survey library.
- Can you start with an existing survey form and modify it to meet your needs?
- Would the data collectors benefit from data specific questions such as counters, lat/long, and selection lists?
How do you like to submit your photos? Gone are the days of sorting through photos and trying to remember which site or data they are associated with.
- You can include photos directly in the surveys.
- You can include descriptions or captions with each photo.
- If you require a photo log you can utilize our pre-authored photo logs
- You can bulk download and rename photos based on the project and date.
Locations are a very powerful tool that can be utilized in different ways. The metadata associated with locations can be entered once and used throughout the project. ASk yourself will I be using a set of items over and over? For example,
- If you have contact information associated with sites you can include it in your reports.
- If you have lat/long information you can enter it in your locations and use it to navigate using the locations map feature on your mobile device.
- Locations don't even have to be used as locations. Some teams use them for statuses or contacts.