Monitoring the same location over a period of days, months, or years is a great way to track change over time for organisms, land use and more. And it’s part of the protocols for many citizen science research projects. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for how to add locations for predefined sampling sites to a new datasheet on CitSci.org. This tutorial will be most useful for managers and those with project editing access.
What’s a predefined sampling site?
Predefined sampling sites allow volunteers to submit observations at the same location over and over again. They differ from opportunistic observations where volunteers make observations wherever they happen to be when they observe something. Both types of observations have their merits and which one you choose will depend on the scientific needs of your project. For example, StreamTracker includes two different datasheet options in their project, one for opportunistic locations and one for predefined locations and volunteers can choose either one. This allows StreamTracker researchers to use both types of data to answer different scientific questions.
Why use predefined sampling sites?
There are a number of advantages to adding predefined sampling sites to a project as opposed to participants taking observations at happen-stance locations. Predefined locations allow you to easily track change over time in a specific place. Consistent locations can also make statistical analysis and trends/patterns easier to analyze and more straightforward. Then, there’s the obvious – predefined locations make it so much easier for your volunteers to know they are in the right location to do their monitoring!
If any of this sounds useful to you, read on to learn how to add predefined sites to your CitSci.org project.
How to add predefined sampling sites to a new datasheet
STEP 1: Login to your CitSci.org account and navigate to your project homepage.
ProTip: If you are new to CitSci.org, you may want to read our tutorial explaining how to login to your account, set up a project, and begin navigating the tools in your dashboard.
STEP 2: Click on the Submit Data tab.
Once you arrive at your project homepage, locate the yellow “Submit Data” tab.
STEP 3: Create a “New Datasheet”.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the grey “New Datasheet” button. Click on the button to be taken to the Datasheet Creator, a tool that allows you to create, edit and preview your datasheets.
STEP 4: Select the “Predefined” locations radio button.
In the Datasheet Creator, find the “Locations” section. There are two options: “Entered by User” or “Predefined”. Choose the “Predefined” option.
STEP 5: Add Locations.
Once you’ve selected the “Predefined” radio button, a “Predefined Locations” section will appear below with an “Add Location” button. Scroll to the “Predefined Locations” section, and click “Add Location”. This will bring you to the “Add Predefined Location to Datasheet” popup screen where you can create a new location by inputting the location name and the latitude and longitude. If you have any existing locations in your project, you can add them to your datasheet as a predefined location by choosing from the dropdown list. You can add as many predefined locations to your datasheet as you need. Once you’re done adding predefined locations, click on the yellow “Close” button.
ProTip: If you have a project with 25 or more predefined locations, please contact us directly and we can help you add them to your datasheet.
ProTip: Check the list of existing locations in your datasheet before you create a new one. The system will check for duplicate locations and report an error if you accidentally try to add the same predefined location to your list twice.
STEP 6: Use the blue “Preview” button to preview your datasheet.
Toggle between editing view and preview as many times as you need. Changes will be saved as you go. Once you are satisfied with your changes, you are ready to save and exit.
STEP 7: Click “Save”.
You will now be oriented back to your Project Profile. You can go back and make changes as much as needed.
ProTip: Contact our team for assistance creating awesome datasheets to satisfy the goals of your project.
And that is how you add locations for predefined sampling sites to a NEW datasheet. Check out other tutorials for tips on how to make the most of your CitSci.org account.