DataPlus Mobile – Using a Forms Builder for Fisheries Field Data Collection

Elecdata’s DataPlus Mobile form creation software is particularly well-suited for creating field data collection forms for use in fisheries. Using two real-world examples, this article will show how to replicate fisheries field forms, utilize DataPlus Mobile features to speed field data collection and minimize errors, and then quickly and easily download the data to an office computer and prepare the data for use in spreadsheets, databases and GIS software.

A trial or purchase of DataPlus Mobile will include a documents folder with user-manuals for all of the DataPlus Mobile components. A key document within this folder is the DataPlus Mobile Tutorial. The Tutorial includes a number of lessons on how to build a DataPlus application. The example used in the tutorial is a forestry application; however, you can easily use the examples in these lessons to construct a fisheries application. Visit here to obtain a free trial version of DataPlus Mobile with tutorial. Electronic Data Solutions will be presenting a webinar on DataPlus Mobile for Fisheries Applications on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 at 10:00 am MDT.

Example #1:

The first fisheries example is a simple electro-fishing form. Electro-fishing is a sampling method commonly used by many agencies to assess fish populations. When conducted properly it is a non-lethal method for sampling. An electrical current is introduced into the water, the stunned fish are then netted into a holding vessel where they are later anesthetized and processed. The processing may include any number of data but at a minimum typically involves species identification, length and weight measurements and often checking for recapture.

The DataPlus Mobile features and tools that will be emphasized in this example include:

  • two-level application with Level 1 information (date, location, etc.) and data table
  • error checking and pick lists for species, recapture and mark
  • use of translated or single key entry to load species code with a “meaning  field” in a look-up table
  • auto copy species and recapture fields to speed data collection in the field
  • automatic GPS input for lat/long from integrated receiver
  • automatic date
  •  branch-control to access “mark” field only if recapture equals “Y”
  • individual column help messages

Form example:

DPM-Fisheries1

Beginning with the DataPlus Mobile Application Generator, your form will take on this look in the data format tool:

DPM-Fisheries2

Your next steps will be:

  • defining how data is entered for each field
  • defining screen options (how prompts and data will appear on the field device)
  • creating error checks for appropriate fields
  • setting up input for sensors and devices such as GPS
  • creating a conversion format for your collected data

DataPlus Mobile Host is used to load the created application on your field device. Depending on the mobile device that you are using your data collection screens will appear like this:

DPM-Fisheries3

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Data collected in the field can be converted to mulitple formats including ASCII, DBF, MDB and a Shapefile. Data collected in our example application would look like this in MS Excel:

DPM-Fisheries5

Example #2:

This is an example of a shell fish research application. Traps are placed in the ocean to collect crabs and when the traps are pulled at a later date, information about the trap and detailed information about the crabs are recorded in the field for later use in a database. DataPlus Mobile features highlighted in this example include:

  • three level hierarchy with two “children” branches
  • automatic date/time entry in Level 1
  • use of “Constant Column” display on lower levels to show important information from previous screens (e.g. Crab#, trap#, etc)
  • individual column help messages
  • error check fields with pick lists
  • use of digital calipers for measuring left Propodus length and Carapace width in the “Mark-Color” branch

Form Examples:

DPM-Fisheries6

DPM-Fisheries7

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The Data Format in DataPlus Mobile would appear like this:

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Example of an error check file for column “Bait” in the Trap Data Level:

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Data entry screen for digital caliper measurement of Carapace Width (CW):

DPM-Fisheries11

Your next steps will be:

  • defining how data is entered for each field
  • defining screen options (how prompts and data will appear on the field device)
  • creating error checks for appropriate fields
  • setting up input for sensors such as digital calipers
  • creating a conversion format for your collected data

DataPlus Mobile Host is used to load the created application on your field device. Depending on the mobile device that you are using your data collection screens will appear like this:

 

DPM-Fisheries12

DPM-Fisheries13

DPM-Fisheries14

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In this example the converted data will go into a database so the “lower” data levels show key field identifiers that link the data to higher levels.

DPM-Fisheries16

More Information:

These two example applications are available free for your use and modification for your own needs. Download for free here.

For more information and a demo on these forms and tools, view the recorded webinar.