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Quick Start

Quick Start Guide Observation.org

Welcome to Observation.org. We want to enable everyone to store and share nature observations via the internet in order to document the richness of nature for now and for the future.

Use our mobile apps

The easiest way to enter observations is to use our mobile apps. In ObsIdentify, you can also easily create an account if you don't have one yet.

Enter an observation on the web

  • If you are logged in you can add an observation.
  • In the menu bar, click top left on 'Add' and choose 'Observation'.

Now you will see the form to enter a new observation.

You can see at a glance the fields needed to add an observation. These include the date, time, species, number of individuals and notes. The 'Date' and 'species' fields are mandatory. These two fields are the minimum required for a basic observation. However, you can choose to add more information. This is not necessary but gives the observation more context. The following fields are accessible when you select the 'Details' check box:

  1. Activity
  2. Stage of life
  3. Method
  4. On / in
  5. Notes
  6. Substrate
  7. Counting method
  8. Escaped
  9. External reference
  10. Obscure
  11. Hidden until

Upload your photo or observation

More and more people take photos of their sightings. If you want to add a photo, click on the blue button Upload and select 1 or more photos (maximum 5). When the upload is complete, you will receive a suggestion as to what species it could be. This suggestion comes from the automatic image recognition NIA. By clicking on 'Accept', the species name is entered automatically. However, please look critically at the suggestion as NIA can be wrong. If necessary, please crop the photo so that the species is clearly visible. If photos contain information about time, date and GPS (metadata), Observation.org will automatically extract that data and use it. In principle, you can add an observation by merely uploading a photo. Editing photos can remove the metadata from photos. A photo larger than 1000 * 1000 pixels will be reduced in size by the server, possibly with a loss of quality. We do this to guarantee the speed of the site.

You can always add media (photo or sound) to an observation at a later time or date. Photos apply to all types of records. Audio recordings are often added too, for example, birds, grasshoppers and crickets and amphibians.

Open the observation by going to Observations and clicking on the date of the relevant observation. In the observation screen on the right, click the blue button Options and choose Edit. You will now see a number of options, namely:

  • Edit - change the information in the fields or add information
  • Add photo - Add a photo to the observation
  • Add sound - Add a sound to the observation
  • Delete - Delete an observation

Is this observation useful?

We often receive questions via email such as: "Does my observation have added value?" Or, "I see a house sparrow here, is that useful?" The answer to all these questions is identical: " Yes, every observation has added value. We are not just a platform for rare species. All observations are welcome and contribute to a better picture of our biodiversity."

Share with others

Your observations help nature

By adding observations to the database you provide more insight into, for example, distribution, migration patterns, mortality, etc. For science, it is crucial to include your data (so-called Citizen Science) in research.

Log in or create an account

Registration is quick and easy via our registration form. At the top right you will find the text 'Log in or register'. Click on this text and choose 'new account'. After entering your details you will receive an email explaining the next steps. After completing these steps you are ready to enter your first sighting.

Your digital notebook

Observation.org is your personal nature diary. All your observations are stored securely and can always be accessed. On what date did I see my first Barn Swallow of the year last year? How often have I ever seen a Comma butterfly before? How many species of mammals have I seen up to now? You can now answer all these questions with ease thanks to Observation.org. But where can I find all that data? When you are logged in, you will see your name at the top right. Click on that and you will get the selection screen with the following options:

  • Profile. Total number of observations and other statistics.
  • Observations. Your most recent observations.
  • Life list. An overview of how many species you have seen within which species group.
  • Settings. Personal information, data, privacy

What others have seen in your neighbourhood

Nature is everywhere, even in your own place of residence. You can discover which species have been seen there via Observation.org. Click on 'Discover' on the homepage and choose 'Locations'. Here you can search for locations where you want to know what has been seen there. You can search by both city and area name. In the location overview you will find useful information about the area such as: Name, area, municipality and province. In addition, you can see at a glance how many observations have been entered in the area, how many users have been there, how many photos and sounds we have in that area and the total number of species that have been observed there. You can see the boundaries of the specific area on the map. There are blue circles that symbolize the latest observations in the area. These are clickable.

In the tabs you have the following options:

  • Details - as described above - starting point
  • Observations - an overview of the last twenty observations
  • Photos - an overview of photos
  • Sounds - an overview of sounds

Other information

For beginners it is sometimes difficult to determine what you have to enter in the detail fields. We give two examples below.

  1. You catch a moth in a light trap.
  • Life stage: Imago
  • Behaviour: At light
  • Method: Light trap
  1. You hear a buzzard, look up and see the bird fly past.
  • Life stage: Always difficult with birds of prey, do not guess if you are not sure -> unknown
  • Behaviour: Flying over
  • Method: Seen and heard

Life stage - The stage in the life cycle of the individual(s) observed. If you are not sure, always choose unknown. Use the right stage of life in insects as much as possible. With birds of prey and seagulls this is often difficult to determine.

Behaviour - What was the observed species doing? If you watch for a while, you will see many forms of behaviour. Choose the most applicable. The choice 'on the spot' is almost always good but says the least. For example you see a Kingfisher flying with a fish. The option 'flying over' is certainly true, but 'transporting food and faeces' indicates a territory and is therefore better.

Method - With this you can record the method of observation for your sighting. This helps with the interpretation of the data.


Obscure

In a number of cases it may happen that Observation.org places your observation under embargo for a certain period. Data from vulnerable species and locations can be obscured to prevent abuse. This can be based on: combination species / area (for example, cranes), but also the combination species / behaviour (for example, owls). This is to prevent disturbance during the breeding season and / or hibernation. Embargos are usually requested by site managers and / or local working groups.

What options does Observation.org offer to achieve these two goals? Vulnerable situations and species can be protected on 4 levels.

  1. At species level - Observation.org can determine that all observations of a specific species are not visible in detail. In this case, location data is invisible, except for the observer himself and our administrators.

  2. At location level - Observation.org can decide on its own initiative or at the request of site owners to automatically hide observations of a specific species in a specific area. Details of the observation will then not be visible, except for the observer himself and our administrators.

  3. At the observation level - The person entering the observation can at all times ensure that his or her observation does not become public. The observation is then entered under obscure until a date to be entered. In this case too, no details of the observation are visible, except for the observer himself and our administrators. The obscure option can be found in the entry screen for new observations and can also be used via mobile entries.

  4. At observation level - The person entering the observation can at all times ensure that the location details of his or her observation are not made public. The observation is then obscured to km2 level. This is actually a mild variant of placing an observation under "embargo". The exact location is not shown, but it is represented as a square of 1 km2. The observer himself and our administrators can see the exact location. The fade option can be found in the entry screen for new observations and can also be used via mobile entries. If a species falls under method 1 or 2, it is not necessary for the observer to include method 3 or 4.


Observation.org

Observation.org is the international variant of Waarneming.nl and Waarnemingen.be and works in the same way. There you will find all observations outside the Dutch and Belgian borders. Many users do not stop passing on observations abroad. You see species you want to record, especially abroad. You can continue to use our mobile applications abroad ObsMapp and iObs. You can even download specieslists for specific countries. More about that on the mobile applications page. The login details that you use on Observation.org are also valid for Observation.

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