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World Birdstrike Association

The WBA... Aviation Safety Around the World

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Airport Wildlife Collection Database

Airport Wildlife Data Collection Program and Database Template

(Free for download and use for any WBA member)

Cybertracker

 

Cybertracker Database

 


  

 

Cybertracker is a wonderful free program that is used all around the world by a huge variety of users. It is one of the best software programs out there for collecting data on a mobile device and maintaining the data in an useable and easily modifiable format. Several packaged solutions for electronic data capture in airport wildlife control program exist on the market today, most of which are costly and require the distributor’s/manufacturer’s involvement in order to initiate any changes or upgrades in the database. Cybertracker is a free database solution, that when coupled with an inexpensive Windows Mobile PC, smartphone, PDA, or other handheld computer and GPS combination, can allow airport wildlife control personnel to collect electronic data in the field with ease, including GIS information and an unlimited number of other variables.

The Cybertracker database was originally developed for usage by non-literate African trackers in order to collect scientific data in the wild, so the implementation and employment of the system is, as a result, quite straightforward and painless. The software requires no programming skills, allowing wildlife managers to freely customize the data collection for their own needs and allowing on-the-fly upgrades and modifications with endless levels of detail. Data collected through Cybertracker can also be readily exported to Excel and other spreadsheets for further analysis and review.

In order to get started with the program, you will need to do the following:

 

1) Download the latest version of the Cybertracker software (roughly 12-13 MB). It can be used at airports to collect all sorts of data, in particular daily wildlife logs. The software is free and is available for download at:

http://www.cybertracker.org/

This is the background software (where you modify the "app", manipulate and view data, and make any changes). The "app" is then uploaded to a mobile device with a GPS (smartphone, tablet, Garmin, Trimble, etc) that is run with Windows Mobile or Android. (iOS and Macs are not supported unfortunately). (Sorry only PC's running Windows will work since you must sync them to the Mobile PC/Garmin/Android device)

 

2) You need to get yourself a Windows Mobile Device or Android device with GPS. It doesn't matter the type - we use the completely outdated Garmin iQue M5 (they don't sell them any more but they can be bought cheaply on eBay for <$40.) I've also used my Android smartphone and my Samsung tablet without issue. We use the Garmins as dedicated data collection devices, instead of using our existing personal Android device for data collection and all of the other functions that one would use it for (phone calls, etc.) but you may want to keep everything on one device - it's entirely your preference. Used Garmins like the iQue M5 are also much cheaper typically, though used Android devices can be found nowdays for very little as well. Also, if you lose it, break it, drop it in the lake when you bend over to pick something up, you're only ruining your inexpensive data collection device, not your $ 800 smartphone.

 

3) Once downloaded, install Cybertracker on your PC. Double Click on "Setup.exe" (Application) to install. Install the professional version, not the simpler version. Instructions are here:
http://www.cybertracker.org/software/getting-started

 

4) If you are using a Windows Mobile handheld device you also need to install the Windows Mobile and ActiveSync software that comes with the Smart Phone or PocketPC. Before you ever connect the unit to your PC, you need to install "Windows Mobile Device Center", version  6.1. You can download it free of charge from Microsoft's website (or other places). This works if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7, and Windows 8 (and possibly Windows 10). If you have Windows XP, then you need to use Microsoft Activesync.

Both can be found:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/device-center-download.mspx

These programs have the drivers for the Garmin units as well.

 

5) After you install the software (the current registration code is "ct3rhino"- since it's free, there's no issue with using the same code as everyone else and there is only one anyway, or you can email the author and he will send you back the same code), open and run Cybertracker on your computer and open the database we have created as the template. Open in Cybertracker under "Open database". The database template is on Dropbox at:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/pS9DtnL8bXxL3481fEyUts

And that's it!

 


You should now have the database open and make sure it is set to "Applications" on the far left, to see the actual program. If you want to see how it will work on your handheld PC/Garmin/smartphone, just click on the button "Test Run" and it will open a window and will let you browse the application as it will be on the handheld.

 

You can read how to collect data and customize the database here:
http://www.cybertracker.org/downloads/software/CyberTracker-Step-by-Step-Tutorial-1.pdf

 

though it should be obvious and pretty easy.

Great stuff!

 

6) ***Before you do anything, under "File", go to "Save Database As" and save it under a different name. *** This way if you screw it up somehow, you can always go back and reload the original file (instead of having to download it all over again).

 

Also, one of the first things you need to do when you get your unit up and running is to ensure that the SD card is being used for data backup. In the Cybertracker program on your PC, under the "Edit" tab, go down to the choice "Application Properties". This should already be set appropriately when you installed our database but you should still doublecheck. Make sure the box labeled "Use SD card for data backup" under the "General" tab is checked. (The "Field Map" tab is the one you will use to set up your airfield map when you get going, if you so desire.) Click "OK" to close the window. This will also prevent you from losing data if you take the battery out, break your Android device, and lose everything else.

 

If you wish to keep all the data (or at least maintain a copy of it for however long you wish) on the unit itself, go to the "File" tab of Cybertracker, down to the "Database Properties" choice. In the "Transfer" tab, make sure the box "Clear data after send" is unchecked. Otherwise, each time you download the data to your PC, it will delete all the data you've already collected from the unit (this is actually my preference though). The additional data slows the units down some and some people might like to just work with that day's data on the unit, instead of an entire month's or year's, but this all up to your personal preference. All the data will stay on your PC no matter what, it's just if you want it on your handheld unit as well all the time.

 

 

7) Before you start collecting data in the field, you're going to want to customize your lists a little, to better reflect your own species and maybe some other items too.

 

Under "Application" when the database is open, go down to the screen entitled "Species ID" (about a 1/3rd of the way down if all your boxes are expanded). Highlight it with your mouse. In the second column, you'll see a section called "Element list". Just below that, you'll see a box with the word "Elements", with a checkmark next to it. To the right of that, you'll see "American Kestrel, Black Vulture", etc. When you click on either place (just click the checkmark if in doubt), a little box with 3 dots will show up (...). Click on that and another window will open up entirely that says "Edit element list".

 

There you will see all the species we've listed. To customize this to your own use, just use the buttons to the right. You can delete any species (like if you'll never see a deer or a Canada goose at your airfield). You can also create any one you want. For that, either hit "New element" and fill out the name in the new window that opens, or even easier, just type the name in the blank line at the top and hit your "enter" key. The species name will be added to the bottom of the list.

 

You can change the order of the species, to put your most common ones at the top of the list by highlighting them, then clicking "move up" or "move down" (or first or last).

 

Once you're done, just hit "OK" and your newly revised custom list will show on the screen in the 3rd column. Don't change anything else in the middle column.

 

You can do this for other choices/screens as well, though most of them should be pretty comprehensive and aren't unique to your location. You can obviously delete/add screens as you desire, depending on your data needs.

 

8) After you modify it to your hearts content, it can then be uploaded it to your mobile device.

Remember, we've used this for vegetation surveys, fence maps, and heaps of other uses. If the bushmen of Africa can use the program, then an operations agent at your airfield certainly can use it without issue. I also get teams to email me their data from all around the world (small files of only 200k or so), and I can see all the data they're collecting at once!

 

9) What Cybertracker does well:

a) Filter data. It does a wonderful job of filtering out your entire data set to show you just the data you want. The easiest way to filter your data is simply to use the dropdown lists when you are viewing your collected data (under "Reports"). If you want to see all the Canada geese sighting from 8 am to 2 pm, on only cloudy days when they were flying overhead, a couple of quick clicks, and voila! Your data is filtered. Try to filter your data first before exporting it, as Cybertracker tends to do this better and easier than Excel does.

b) Exporting to Excel. Want to use your data in Excel? Simple, just hit "Export data" and save it as an xls file. Open in Excel and you're done.

 

c) Mapping sightings. Cybertracker does a wonderful job of mapping your sighting data on an aerial view of your location. Here's an example below. Simply filter your data for the sightings that you want to display, do "View as map" and let the program overlay them on satellite images. You must be connected to the Internet for this to work. You can zoom in or out as desired and save the photo by size, view, etc. You can modify the colors of the sightings, add multiple types of sightings, etc. It's wonderful and one of the most powerful and beneficial things that Cybertracker can do.

 

 sightings

 

What Cybertracker does not do well:

a) Graph your data. It has some basic graphing capabilities but you're far better off filtering your data in Cybertracker, exporting it for use in Excel, and graphing your data in Excel itself (or some equivalent).

 

b) Adding, combining, plotting, etc your data. Cybertracker has almost no capability to quantify your data collected. Again, export it to Excel and manipulate your data there.

 

Overall, it's an exceptional program (and it's free!). I would highly recommend that all airfields across the world utilize this program. It makes modifying your database simple and customization easy. You can change the data you collect very easily (like changing the order of species sightings that you show on your device based on seasonal changes for example), without input from a software manufacturer or other individual. You make the changes in Cybertracker, "compile" the data, and upload the revised "app" to your data collecting device. Imagine being able to do that with any of your Android apps or other types of programs, such as your Garmin GPS. What a wonderful user experience most apps would become.

 

There's also wonderful technical support for the program. You must join an email list to take advantage of it but once joined, you can search the archives or simply ask a question. Oftentimes, it's the software designer that answers your questions directly. Again, if all software were like this, the world would be a better place.

 

The hard work has all been done for you (creating the foundational database structure). All you need to do is customize it to your preferences. You could even use the base database without any modifications as it is (though you would probably at least want to customize the species that are used in the program).

 

Good luck and feel free to email me with any questions you might have concerning the software or its implementation. (nick(at)worldbirdstrike.com)

 

Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
President - CARSAMPAF
(Central, South American and Caribbean Birdstrike Committee)
Executive Vice President - World Birdstrike Association

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