I know that there are species posted from other countries - I've added a fair few myself - but I was just wondering if iSpot is reserved for species found in the UK (or at least if that was the intention)?
iSpot is targeted at Britain and Ireland at the moment, and the majority of the recording schemes and groups represented on iSpot (see http://www.ispot.org.uk/representatives), as well as the majority of the experience and knowledge of iSpot's contributors, is focused on this country.
Having said that, some of iSpot's contributors enjoy seeing overseas observations and using their international identification skills, and we've never disallowed such observations from the site. On the other hand, for some of the UK experts on iSpot it can be an unwelcome distraction if they have to get past lots of overseas things before finding the observations they are interested in.
So it's okay to add overseas observations, but probably best not to overdo them, so that our main focus remains on the wildlife of this country.
Entomologist and biological recorder
There are two separate comments I'd like to make, and I'll start with the one that I personally find most annoying; that's really distant foreign observations. There was an instance not long ago when, of the thirty or so observations put up on a particular day, thirteen were by the same person, with images shot in South America and tha Galapagos Islands. Interesting, you might think; but (as I recall) most were identified by the poster, and the majority were so poor that no-one lookng at them could tell WHAT they were. I'm not sure what the objective of putting them up in the first place was - there weren't many agreements.
Secondly, and less annoying, more amusing really, are "out of date" posts. You browse observations, and find one that makes you think, "Wow! That's really early, I'm amazed!" Then you notice that the observation was made last August or something, but has only just been posted. There are occasions when there are good reasons for posting something from a while back, and I fully accept that; all I'm saying is, I wish I had a fiver for every time it's caught me out!
Simon, I understand your complaints, but the answer, to the first one at any rate, is going to lie with letting everyone filter what they want to see by geography. This is part of a major upgrade of iSpot that we shall be working on over the next year. So, its not going to help immediately, but rest assured that as iSpot gets bigger (which is what is happening) it is also going to get better.
Regarding why and when people post their observations, we set no rules and that is the way its going to stay. When you get lots and lots of observations, you'd be surprised at what turns up. One of those 'out of date' observations posted last year turned out to be a bee fly never recorded in the UK before.
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)
I'm delighted to hear that a geographical filter is in the offing; that solves that one.
The second issue is, as I said, more amusing than annoying. It can catch you out momentarily. As I also said, there are good reasons why people post older images, so I agree with you, they should carry on; I didn't suggest otherwise. I merely mentioned it as a minor matter. Can you say you've never thought, "Wow! At this time of year?" when looking at one of them, only to realise that it was actually last year, or something? As I said, "I wish I had a fiver..." I'd probably have about twenty quid.
Keep up the good work.
I have also been caught out thinking that is early or late for a certain fungi or plant.I have noticed some more recent observations that have been added stated under the picture that they were not recent photo's which is a good idea.I spend most of my time looking at the date first just to make sure.I too am not complaining about old observations but it does help if they state so clearly and that the photo is reasonable too.
I often upload spots from Northern France, and although foreign, the species are often related/migratory/occasionally seen here and sometimes make useful comparisons to the British ones (treecreepers eg). I hope that this is useful and perhaps relevant as opposed to just interesting, compared with spots from Sri Lanka or suchlike! If the policy were changed to limit iSpot uploads to UK spots only, it may lose this type of valuable comparison uploads. I'm sure lots of us have hundreds of photos from exotic holidays, and if the site were flooded with these, it would not be very useful to the community as a whole, and not going to be relevant on our forays here. Perhaps so long as this doesn't happen, we can continue to upload our foreign spots
I have quite a lot from France as well and I agree with Jan about posting these for species comparisons. There are generally more species on the continent and so the ID-ing can be more of a challenge, which I certainly enjoy but I'll try not to clog up the filters with too many observations from outside the UK! It's just nice to know what some of the foreign species I encounter are.
We do hope to have sites for other countries in due course, but this will depend on finding the right partners in those countries and/or funding. France is a possibility we are exploring at the moment (among several others).
Presumably if you do find partners in other countries they will prefer sites devoted to those countries to be in the main language in use in the particular country? This would be the sensible option if the intention was for the site to be used by people from those countries. If so, would this make much difference to the number of overseas species on the UK Ispot (since most people prefer to use their native language)?
Personally I agree that occasional foreign species are not really a problem (especially if they are species that may occur in the UK).
Yes, international iSpot sites will be in the language of the country.
Would it be possible to have a common database and have some logic to decide whether an observation should appear in ispot.org.uk or ispot.org.fr?
If a UK user made an observation in France on ispot UK then it could appear in ispot.org.fr (though it would have an English language description).
Obviously there would be disadvantages of that approach, but it might reduce the number of foreign observations on iSpot UK and the data would all be in one place which could be an advantage for research.
We have not decided yet whether we will have one big site with filters applied, so users can see just what they want, or whether the sites will be entirely separate. We could have a combination of the two, depending on what our collaborators prefer.
I'd prefer the countries to be kept separate. Most of our species are found in places like France, but they also have a lot of sometimes very similar stuff to us that we dont have. In order to keep the site relevant to the UK, and to help people with their UK ID skills, I'd prefer only UK obsservations got displayed, not all countries.
Tachinid Recording Scheme
TRS Facebook Page
You don't need to worry. However iSpot is organized, you will only see what you want to see.
I have a lot of photos taken in Greece, and have indeed posted one (of a bird) on iSpot. I would really like help with identifying the subjects of some of them, and am happy to wait until a Greek iSpot appears. BUT - I will have serious problems if I have to post in the Greek language, or understand replies written in Greek. I speak the language enough to buy groceries etc - definitely not enough to discuss the finer points of identification.
In the meantime you could try this thread in the Flickr group Field Guide: Birds of the World. They'll try to identify birds from anywhere in the world. You need a Flickr account but that's free.
Thanks very much, I didn't know about this. Now I just need to find one for invertebrates!
http://www.wildabouttheworld.com/forum/ has categories for the identification of birds, mammals, invertebrates, plants, fungi etc
You could try a few Greek birds on iSpot as there are quite a lot of natural history holidays from UK going there with expert leaders from UK who know most of the birds and quite a few other species.
I have just picked on this post at random, so all I really want to pick up on here is...
"(since most people prefer to use their native language)"
just to point out that some of us English speakers live full time outside the UK.
If the ispot site was not intended to include "foreign" species, registrations from outside the UK should not be allowed.
I live in Italy full time and having registered for the OU course, Neighbourhood Nature, I am only now becoming aware that I have quite possibly made a big (and expensive) mistake by signing up. This thread would seem to highlight the fact.
Can anyone put my mind at rest on this?
Not sure what you want to be put at rest on, there are ispot observations from all parts of the world even though its mainly intended for UK. There is no block on adding observations from anywhere, indeed we have verified observations from every continent including antarctica.
I think the half hour or so that I spent looking through the ispot site didn't produce one single observation from outside the uk. In fairness, I fully appreciate that I probably only scratched the surface of the site content, but what I did find led me to believe that I really would be at a disadvantage and quite possibly, would not find answers in the site database to possible questions I might have from my home location. Only time will tell of course.
This is no way dampens my enthusiasm for the course and participation in the site activities, though I do wonder if I might be coming away at the end with far more knowledge about the UK situation than my own!
Well, you might, but the principles dealt with in S159 are general, even if the examples are from the UK.
Incidentally, here are some observations from Italy:
Just put the word 'Italy' into the 'Search iSpot' box on the RHS of the page.
Thank you...that certainly is encouraging.