What's the Trip Counter?
Trip Counter is a new BirdLog (iOS only for now) feature that provides 3 species total counters that are updated in real time as you create your eBird checklists. It's simple, but I'm finding it to be surprisingly useful and powerful for things like:
- creating a summary species list for a multi-week trip to share with other trip participants
- tracking your team's running species total in real time for a big day
- creating a summary of the aggregate count for each species during a day of birding to print and put into my paper notebook
- summarizing multiple eBird checklist during a pelagic trip
Some of my BirdLog-using friends were telling me, much to my chagrin, that they were hesitant to break a day of birding down into multiple checklists because they wanted to be able to track their running species total in real time. Well, Trip Counter is intended to provide the best of both worlds by aggregating your lists into a single summary report. This way you can create as many checklists as you want on a trip and easily keep track of your species total in real time.
The way Trip Counter works is simple: it takes all of the checklists that you have created via BirdLog (including those that have not been submitted yet) between and start time and an ending time and combines them together into a single list that you can view or share via email. It also calculates a sum of all of the counts for each taxa. We plan to enhance this capability over the next few months, and roll it out to Android.
In this post I outline how to use the Trip Counter, including some less-obvious tricks like how to share a trip list via FaceBook.
BirdLog Trip Counter Basics:
Trip Counter is a simple but powerful tool that keeps track of three separate aggregate lists:
- Today: a summary of all of the birds entered via BirdLog between midnight and midnight for the current date.
- Trip Counter: a summary all of the birds between a start and end date/times specified by you
- All: a summary of all of the birds in all of your BirdLog checklists.
The "Trip Counter" is customizable, while the "Today" and "All" lists are automatically calculated and cannot be customized. Note that only checklists that were created in BirdLog are included in these lists. If you remove a checklist (by swiping across the name on the "My Sightings" page), then it will no longer be included in the counter totals. Similarly, if you edit or delete a checklist via the eBird website these changes will not show up in your BirdLog Trip Counter.
Note that the start time cannot be set to a time later than the end time and visa-versa! If you want to change your start time to later time, you need to change your end time first.
If you change your end time to a time in the past, it will be fixed. On the other hand, if you set the end time to the current time, then the end time won't be fixed, but will always be set to the current time. This feature is useful when you want to keep running track of a trip and don't want to have to update the end time every time you check your trip list.
As a convenience, the Trip Counter total is displayed on the Home Screen next to the words "Trip Counter". Note that this value does not update automatically because doing so would slow things down too much. (We tested it ... it was irritating!) To refresh the Trip Counter just tap on the Trip counter or the little refresh button to the right.
Modifying the start and ending dates:
1) From the home screen go the "My Lists" page by tapping on "Trip Counter"
2) On the "My Lists" page, tap in the middle section, which will be labeled "Trip Name" unless you rename it as I have below. This action will take you to the summary page for the Trip Counter.
Note that you can also tap on "Today" and "All" to see those summary lists.
3) On the "Trip Name" page, there are two dates at the top left and right below the "My Lists" and "Edit Title" buttons respectively, which display the start and stop times. Tap on the dates to set the start and/or stop times for the trip counter.
Some notes on start and stop times:
that the current version 1.4.7 has a minor bug that will not allow you to enter a start time before the time the current version was installed. That bug is fixed in 1.4.8, which will be released shortly. Some notes (repeated from above):
The start time cannot be set to a time later than the end time and visa-versa! If you want to change your start time to later time, you need to change your end time first and then change the start time.
If you change your end time to a time in the past, it will be fixed. On the other hand, if you set the end time to the current time, then the end time won't be fixed, but will always be set to the current time.
Editing the Trip Name:
If you choose you can rename the trip counter by tapping the "Edit Title" button. This doesn't really serve much of a purpose other than to make the summary look a bit nicer and to give the list a meaningful name.
Emailing the Trip List to yourself or to Friends
You can email the list of birds by tapping the "Email Checklist" button at the bottom. That should bring up a window with a pre-formatted email summary of the list that you can edit and send. Here's an example of what that page looks like on my phone:
Emailing the Trip List to Facebook
You can use the email function to send a trip list to Facebook or to a discussion group. All you need to do is use the right email address. This functionality is ninja-level BirdLog / Facebook stuff, so just be aware that you'll be posting to your Facebook page and you should be careful about what you put there. Your family and friends will see it so take a little extra time to get it right!
Facebook: see directions here: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20103506-285/update-facebook-status-via-e-mail/
For me personally, I don't tent to post entire lists. Still, this is a useful starting point for a post. I can edit the summary to list only the more interesting birds which is a pretty convenient alternative to typing an entire email with my fat thumbs on an iPad Screen.
We love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and ideas for improvement:
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