BirdTrack for UK and Ireland goes mobile!
Here you can find instructions on how to use the BirdTrack app for Android and iPhone, how to find help if you are having a problem, and an evolving FAQ. Please visit Google Play or the App Store now to get the latest version.
- *** Captures observations for UK and Ireland only ***
- Works without a network/WiFi connection
- Add casual records
- Create complete and incomplete BirdTrack lists
- Use maps and GPS to get accurate location fixes
- Download the full British and Irish species list
- Sync all your existing BirdTrack sites
- Verify all sightings against the local BirdTrack thresholds
- Upload everything into your BirdTrack account
- View what species have been seen in your local area over 3, 7 or 14 days
- View local hotspots (~50 miles from device) over 3, 7 or 14 days
- View your year and life lists
- View species you still need this year and life
- Full help within the app
You can download the app free from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Once installed on your device, you need to enter your BirdTrack username and password (case sensitive), then populate the species database and download your existing BirdTrack locations. All these tasks can be found in Management Options (Android) or Settings (iPhone).
You can record both casual sighting and lists of species, just like on BirdTrack Online. Once you have collected any records, you need to verify them (a sanity check against local thresholds to minimise data entry errors).
We have also created a helpful event sequence image of how to add species to a list in Android - here
While the apps are designed to be as intuitive as possible, support is readily available through the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. You can also telephone the BTO if neccesary during working hours on +44(0)1842 750050 (switchboard).
- How do I register for BirdTrack? You need an account before you can use the app, but you can do this easily (and for free) via http://www.birdtrack.net. Once you have your username and password, add these to the app.
- I can only see some of my BirdTrack sites – where are the rest of them? Some users have 2000+ sites in BirdTrack. This is far too many to be useful on a small screen, so we restrict the sites available when creating a casual or list to those within approximately 5, 10, 20 or 50 miles of the phone's physical location (based on in-app user preference). The app is designed for immediate use in the field, not for data entry away from your birding sites.
- Why does verification set some records to red? This is a basic type of error checking, similar to what happens adding records through BirdTrack Online. It's designed to catch mistakes in selecting rare species, unusually high numbers or early/late dates for migratory species. It doesn't stop you uploading records, it's more of a sanity check to help reduce typos and other data entry errors.
- Will the app sum my counts for me? Yes – when compiling a list, the app will automatically tot up additional sightings of the same species. If you add a species without a count, the record will be considered 'present only' and no count will be stored. The app will also take the highest breeding evidence and sensitivity setting added for each species, and concatenate any comments for you.
- Can I edit sightings before I upload? Yes, each individual sighting is fully editable by navigating to it and editing any field.
- I'm worried about mobile data charges! Understandable. We have calculated that 1MB of data transferred can account for:
Verifying and uploading approximately 175 species lists of 30 species average, or
Verifying and uploading about 2,400 casual records
We think this is quite a lot, and shouldn't impact on your monthly contact limits.
- Why does the app sometimes fail to verify or upload, or fail to confirm my BirdTrack account? This can happen when you are on a marginal cellular conection or on the edge of WiFi coverage. Please connect to the server when you are sure you have a strong, stable signal. All assuming you have a BirdTrack account already, of course!
- Why won't it work on my iPad? The information we have suggests that the app will work on newer iPads only - it will not work on 1st generation iPads.
- Can I use 'c' or '+' for circa or approximate counts? No, we haven't built this into the app.
- Why do the records vanish from my phone when I upload? This is to avoid potential duplicates (and inevitable confusion) between the phone and BirdTrack online, and also to prevent excessive phone memory being used.
- Is the app available for Blackberry or Windows phones? No, sadly we don't have the resources to develop for those more specialist platforms – iOS and Android are the biggest market share, and we had to target our limited resources into developing this free app on those platforms.
- How do I enable location accuracy? If you declined Location Services on the iPhone by accident, click on phone Settings > Privacy > Location Services to re-enable. On Android, switch GPS on through phone Settings > Location & Security > Use GPS satellites.
- The app won't find my current location! On Android, sometimes the GPS works too slowly for the app, so the app thinks you are still in your previous location. To speed it up, close the BirdTrack App, click Home > Maps and wait for the location to become accurate, then re-open the BirdTrack App and create a new list or casual record – it should reflect your location accurately. Don't forget to switch GPS off once you have set the location for your records to save battery power!
- I've seen something that isn't in the species dropdown. We try to keep up with the arrival of vagrants (and escapes) previously unrecorded in Britain or Ireland but occasionally we are a few days behind. We also match our master list of species with the updates from the British Ornithologists' Union on an annual basis. You can import the lastest species list at any time through the settings option – it is worth doing this every few months to make sure you're up to date. If you find a species that doesn't seem to be available in the app, please email birdtrack [at] bto [dot] org (subject: Species%20missing%20from%20list%20in%20the%20App) (birdtrack@)birdtrack [at] bto [dot] org (subject: Species%20missing%20from%20list%20in%20the%20App) (bto.org).
- iPhone Operating System Versions. Due to the limited resources the BTO has, we can really only develop apps for the current iPhone operating system release. This may mean that users will have to update to stay in line with Apple releases. BTO has little control over this...
- Can I add records for areas outside UK and Ireland? Not at the moment, no. But it is high on our list of priorities, when resources become available - we do have a donate button coming too...
The Android version of this app was designed and developed in-house by the BTO IS Team and launched May 2012. The iOS version of this app was developed by BTO IS Team & App Developers UK and launched February 2013. Subsequent iOS updated have been developed by the BTO IS Team.