I am too primitive to use an iPhone, but one issue I have with many
recording systems which I guess applies to this one as well (maybe I am
wrong) is the inability to record at subspecies level. I know we can't
always pick the subspecies and there is no "official" list of subspecies for
Australia, but in a world where species regularly get split it is useful to
record the subspecies when you can in case you can get an "armchair tick"
2009/8/12 Russell Woodford <>
> Hi everyone
> Here is part of Charles Mezak's reply to some suggestions I sent about the
> iPhone app BIrdsight AU. It is great to get such detailed responses from a
> developer, and even better that we are likely to see some enhancements to
> the next update. Please feel free to send your suggestions to Charles if you
> have ideas for the app.
> Russell Woodford
> Birding-Aus List Owner
> Geelong Victoria Australia
> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Charles Mezak <>
>> Date: 12 August 2009 2:04:34 AM
>> Subject: Re: BIrdSight AU
>> Hi Russell,
>> I'm so glad to be hearing from you. Please share my happiness with the
>> birding-aus list, both for the fact that they are finding some use in my app
>> as well as for their willingness to share this feedback with me.
>> We don't allow commercial messages on Birding-Aus, but we do debate new
>>> birding resources, so you might like to read comments by members who have
>>> used BirdSight AU. You can subscribe at
>>> or read the messages online at http://www.birding-aus.org - click the
>>> Archive link or search using the search box on that page.
>> Thanks, I'll look into this soon. If and when I do post, I'll try to stay
>> within the bounds of propriety vis-a-vis the commercial issue.
>> A couple of suggestions after just a few days of using the app:
>>> 1. Can the Add Sighting control be placed at the TOP of the Observation,
>>> rather than the bottom?
>> Very good idea! I do try to think about making things quick and easy, but
>> this had not occurred to me. I'll have this change in the next update.
>> 2. There does not seem to be a way to delete a single species from an
>> You're absolutely right. This was a tremendous oversight. It's already
>> fixed in the code, and will be in the next update.
>> 3. A lot of other iphone apps have an alphabetic short cut (like in the
>>> address book or Phone Contacts) - instead of clicking the search box for
>>> every species, it would be good to be able to click a letter and then scroll
>>> to the bird.
>> Can do. I'll get this done for the next update.
>> 4. A lot of birders keep longer term lists for a favourite site - such as
>>> a month list for home or work, or a trip list for a holiday. Is there any
>>> way that Observations can be tagged as multiday, not just for a single day?
>> Yes, I can make this happen.
>> 5. I agree with David that it would be good to have no number as the
>>> default for each species record. I know you are storing that as a numeric
>>> field, but is there any way you could allow for species to be tagged as
>>> Heard only? I suppose we can do that through the notes - but another field
>>> of just a few alphanumerics might be useful - H for Heard, J for Juvenile, M
>>> for Male, F for Female, N for nesting etc
>> On the sighting count issue, yes I'll do that. (Technically, what I'll do
>> is have the default count be -1 in the database, which the app will
>> translate as "unspecified".
>> About the Heard, Juvenile, Male, etc. options, yes that is something I
>> should add. Perhaps at the bottom of the sighting details there can be a row
>> for each of these options that can be checked of unchecked. So, if a birder
>> sees a mated pair of finches, she can check both the Male and Female rows to
>> indicate that both male and female birds were sighted. Does that make sense?
>> One question I have for you: In the latest version, when a user adds a
>> sighting for a bird, the app returns to the Observation page. I chose this
>> because it allows the user to quickly add a new sighting for another bird
>> (sometime one sights multiple species at once and wants to enter both
>> sightings in quick succession.) However, another option would be for the app
>> to immediately present the detail page for a newly created sighting. This
>> would allow the user to enter details like count, etc. right away before
>> they are forgotten. Which do you think is the better way to go?
>> 6. Links - I suggest you add the Birdlife INternational data sheets:
>>> and perhaps a link to the IUCN Redlist
>>> I think most people using this app would prefer this type of site (as
>>> well as Flickr and Wikipedia) rather than the "popular press" sites like
>>> Encyclopedia of Life (which doesn't have a lot of Aussie birds!). The
>>> Cornell Lab site also fails to find some of the very common Australian
>> Good to know! I think I'll remove the EOL and Cornell links then so as not
>> to clutter up the interface. I'll see about adding these two.
>> 7. A link to birdsong resources would be fantastic to have - but I guess
>>> there are all sorts of copyright issues there!
>> Usually there are, yes. And when they are available for public use they
>> are usually not located in such a way that the app can automatically find
>> them. Wikipedia does have some bird sounds in their articles, but I've yet
>> to find a way to integrate them into the application. That's something I
>> intend to do in the near future.
>> With the next update, you'll be able to cache downloaded wikipedia
>> articles so that they are always available to you without an internet
>> connection. I may try to extend this caching to other websites if it seems
>> appropriate. It wouldn't work for flickr for several reasons, but I have
>> another idea for that one. With this next update, you'll just need to have
>> access to a fast connection for the initial cache of the data, which will
>> then be ready on your device anytime you want to access it. Even if data
>> usage were not an issue, loading from the device is much quicker than from
>> the web.
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