Below is a list questions (of the Frequently Asked sort) about the eBird access tools included in the ChicoryLane Web Site. They are more contextual than instructive. For details of use, especially for not first-time visitors, the following links may be more helpful
- Help Overview (This Page)
- Map Tool (Input)
- Search Tool
- Map Tool (Search Area & Sightings)
- What is eBird?
eBird is a joint "citizen science" project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that collects, archives, and makes available data on bird abundance and distribution, largely based on "sightings" provided by volunteer observers. These data are freely provided by them for non-commercial use pertaining to education and/or research through published APIs and publically available services.
- What is ChicoryLane?
ChicoryLane is a 68-acre farm located in central Pennsylvania devoted to ecological diversity, education and research, and understanding and enjoyment of the natural landscape. Its Web site and database include visual images of the property; discussions of activities, principles and goals; as well as a database of plants and birds found on the farm.
- What is the relationship between the two?
None, other than ChicoryLane's interest in ecology, especially birds' interactions with different micro environments and especially the native plants, insectss, and water resources they include.
- Why these so-called "ChicoryLane Tools"?
The ChicoryLane Database includes a number of functions, based on original as well as open source computer code. A birding friend suggested that some of this function might be repurposed to provide additional views of selected eBird data - specifically a formatted and sortable table of recent sightings at specific locations. That, in turn, suggested including a (Google-based) map view to provide geographic and spatial context for the sightings data. Additionaly, such a tool could also provide a convenient way to get latitude and longitude values on which to base searches. The ChicoryLane eBird Tools access selective eBird data provided for non-commercial education and/or research use.
- What, Exactly, are the Two Tools?
A Sightings Search Tool generates search requests and submits them to eBird's database of recent sightings at a specific location. Results are returned to the user and then formatted into table form, where they may be easily sorted and resorted by the user.
A Map Tool serves two main purposes. The user can browse a Google map and designate points, whose latitudes and longitudes are ported to the Sighting Tool for use in searches. Second, the results of a search may be ported from the Search Tool back to the Map to show the geographic area of the search and the locations where individual sightings took place (along with summary data from the search).
The two tools are intended to be used together. Normally, the user will go back and forth between the Map Tool and the Search Tool, porting data between the two. Consequently, the best way to start is to open both tools, which will be placed in separate browser tabs.
Detailed instructions of their use are included on separate pages, links to which are included below. Following are brief summaries of the main functions of the two Tools.
- What an the Map Tool Do?
The Map Tool provides four basic functions, in addition to the functions inherent in Google Maps on which it is based. First, identify a geographic location or point that can serve as the center for an eBird Search. Second, provide a spatial or geographic view of the area included in the search. Third, show the location for each sighting found in the search. Finally, provide a summary of the factual data included in a sighting, such as location, the specific birds observed, their total numbers, etc. A link to a detailed page describing how to use the Map Tool is included, below.
- What can the Search Tool Do?
The Sightings Search Tool also provides four basic functions. First, it prepares requests that generate the eBird searches, often including latitude/longitude values imported from the Map Tool. Second, the Tool can submit the generated request to eBird and make available the results. Third, the user may copy the returned data, presented by eBird in coded XML form, into the Tool and format it as a convenient sortable table. Finally, both area of search information as well as specific sightings information can be ported to the Map tool for visualization within their geographic context.
The Map and Search Tools were described above in a 1-2-3 sequence: begin with the Map Tool to identify lat/lng for a search, perform the search and view sightings data in table form within the Search Tool, then return to the Map Tool to view results geographically. Whereas, this is a natural order for someone learning the system, as users become more experienced with them, they are likely to move frequently and easily back and forth between them. We hope they will share with us and the birding community other patterns of use and applications they find for them.
- Links to the Tools
February 2, 2017