Build CyberTracker Apps for Complex Data

Build a CyberTracker App for Complex Data

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In this tutorial, we will look at:

Plan your CyberTracker App on Paper Spreadsheets

Before we had computers, we did numerical analysis on large sheets of paper – called “spreadsheets”.

Read this tutorial so that you understand the basic components of a CyberTracker App and then plan your app on a large sheet of paper. While it may be easy to build a simple App consisting of a linear sequence of screens without planning, CyberTracker allows you to create apps that can capture very complex data.

For complex data, it is easier to first plan your app on paper. Draw the Screen Flow and the List Items for each screen. Sometimes paper “spreadsheets” are still the best UX option!

More Options

Under More Options, select Community Features to build more complex applications. If you prefer to build simple, linear Apps, you can select Basic Features.

Over time, depending on funding, we will add Professional Features for technical users.

Screen Flow Diagrams

To build an app to collect more complex data we can visualize the Screen Flow diagrams using colours to represent different functions.

Linear Sequence with Main Screen as a Save Target

  • The Main Screen (Yellow) is a Single Select List screen which, for example, provides a menu of species for which you need to collect data.
  • In Edit Application, Save Targets tab, you can select more than one Save Target screen.
  • When you save an observation, you select the Main Screen as the Save Target to loop back to the Main Screen.
  • The screens that come before the Main Screen may contain Meta Data that needs to be attached to every observation you make. This may include the names of the observers, the type of survey, survey details, etc. By looping back to the Main screen when you save an observation, you do not need to enter the Meta Data again for every observation you make.
  • When you create more than one Save Target, you need to: (1) Create a Save Target for the Start Screen (Red); (2) Add an “End Survey” List Item on the Main Screen and (3) Check the Save Button check box to go back to the Start Screen.
  • On the mobile device, for the Save button that goes back to the Start Screen, you need to hold down your finger to save – it has a delay to prevent accidentally going back to the Start Screen when you need to go back to the Main screen.
  • When you use a Save Target you can also use the GPS Timer Tracks to track the path followed (see below).

Linear Sequence with three Save Target Screens

  • You can create a third Save Target screen that allows you to loop back to a screen (Orange) that comes after the Main Screen (Yellow).
  • For example, the Main Screen may contain a list of hoofed species. You may be tracking one species to study its feeding behaviour. While it is feeding, going from one plant to the next, you need to record the plants it is feeding on, but you do not want to go back to the Main Screen for each plant recorded. By selecting the screen with the list of plant species as a Save Target screen, you can Save a plant it is feeding on and loop back to the Plant list screen.
  • You can have several Save Target screens in a linear sequence of screens.
  • You can add an Icon to the Save Target screen.
  • You can change the order in which the Save Targets appear in the Save pop-up menu on the mobile device by moving them up or down in the list of Save Targets.
  • When you use Save Targets you can also use the GPS Timer Tracks to track the path followed (see below).

GPS and Timer Track App Settings

  • Under App Settings you can switch off the GPS if you are collecting data indoors or do not need GPS locations for your survey.
  • When you use Save Targets you can save GPS Timer Tracks to track the path followed. The GPS Timer Tracks will stop when you Save to go back to the Start Screen at the end of your survey. Without Save Targets the GPS Timer Tracks will therefore stop every time you Save an observation – the Timer Tracks only works if you use Save Targets.
  • The Save Timer Tracks for session allows you to track the path followed while collecting data. This is essential to calculate the Survey Effort and Index of Abundance of animal populations. For accuracy, Timer track point interval of 10 seconds is recommended, or for high accuracy 1 second intervals.
  • The Timer Tracks set at 10 second intervals also have the advantage that the GPS acquisition when saving an observation is virtually immediate. Without the Timer Tracks, the GPS may lose track of the satellites and then cause a delay when saving an observation when it needs to re-acquire the satellites.

Branch Out into Different Screens

New users will follow the new tutorial for the New Branches Feature:

 

  • From the Main Screen (Dark Blue) you can branch out to different screens (Green).
  • For example, in the Main Screen you may create List Items for different categories such as Hoof (for hoofed species), Predators and Birds, each branching out to a different screen.
  • To branch out into different screens, first create the screens to which you need to go to (Green), for example, create a screen for Hoof, another screen for Predators, and another screen for Birds, each with a list of species.
  • After creating a screen for each of the categories in the Main Screen, in the Edit Application, Screens tab, got to the Branches tab and select the screen.
  • You can expand the list items using the icon, and then select the next screen to which each list item will go (i.e. the next screen when you select the Hoof List Item on the Main Screen), in this case the Hoof screen (Green).
  • You can either continue onto the Main Flow or some, or you can add additional screens to a branch.
  • To do this you, under the Belongs to Main Flow or Branch dropdown, select the Branch to which the screen belongs.
  • Repeat for the other categories in the Main Screen, so that each List Item on the Main Screen (Dark Blue) will branch out to a different screen (Green).
  • After branching out to one of these screens, you will go on to the next screen in the Main Flow (Blue) of the sequence of screens.

 

Add Screens to Branches

  • When you have branched out from the Main Screen, you can add screens to each branch (Lime green).
  • For example, the Hoof screens (for hoofed species) may go along a separate Branch of screens for Activities that are different from Predators.
  • The Hoof Branch may consist of screens for Hoof Activities and Feeding that includes a list of plant species.
  • The Predator Branch may consist of screens for Predator Activities, such as Hunting and Prey Species that it may feed on.
  • To create a Branch, In Edit ApplicationScreens, select the Add Branch button.
  • Under Label, enter, for example, “Hoof Branch” and in the drop-down menu select “Main flow”. This will create a Branch Header highlighted in green in the list of screens to indicate where the screens that belong to the branch start.
  • Move the Branch Header up the list of screens so that it is above the Hoof screen (Dark green) that branches off from the Main Screen (Dark Blue).
  • Create the screens that will be in the Hoof Branch (Lime green), for example, a screen for “Hoof Activity” and a screen for “Hoof Feeding”.
  • For each of the Hoof screens, select the Edit button (the Pencil icon), and in the “Belongs to main flow or branch?” drop-down menu, select “Hoof Branch”.
  • Move all the Hoof screens (Green) so that they follow the Branch Header in the correct order.
  • Repeat for Predator Branch screens.
  • The Hoof Branch screens, and the Predator Branch screens will follow separate paths. After completing their separate paths, the sequence of screens will rejoin the Main flow (Blue) of screens.
  • You can also create Branches within Branches
  • Remember to check that the order of the screens is correct.

 

Existing users of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will continue with the following tutorial as done before. Existing MVP users can however request to do a manual upgrade to the New Branches Feature, described above.

  • From the Main Screen (Yellow) you can branch out to different screens (Green).
  • For example, in the Main Screen you may create List Items for different categories such as Hoof (for hoofed species), Predators and Birds, each branching out to a different screen.
  • To branch out into different screens, first create the screens to which you need to go to (Green), for example, create a screen for Hoof, another screen for Predators, and another screen for Birds, each with a list of species.
  • After creating a screen for each of the categories in the Main Screen, in the Edit Application, Screens tab, select the Edit button (the Pencil icon) for the Main Screen.
  • In Edit Screen, under List Items, select the Edit button (the Pencil icon) for the Hoof List Item.
  • Select the Makes Visible drop-down menu and select the screen to make visible (i.e. the next screen when you select the Hoof List Item on the Main Screen), in this case the Hoof screen (Green).
  • Repeat for the other categories in the Main Screen, so that each List Item on the Main Screen (Yellow) will branch out to a different screen (Green).
  • After branching out to one of these screens, you will go on to the next screen in the Main Flow (Blue) of the sequence of screens.

Add Screens to Branches

  • When you have branched out from the Main Screen, you can add screens to each branch (Lime green).
  • For example, the Hoof screens (for hoofed species) may go along a separate Branch of screens for Activities that are different from Predators.
  • The Hoof Branch may consist of screens for Hoof Activities and Feeding that includes a list of plant species.
  • The Predator Branch may consist of screens for Predator Activities, such as Hunting and Prey Species that it may feed on.
  • To create a Branch, In Edit Application, Screens, select the Add Branch button.
  • Under Label, enter, for example, “Hoof Branch” and in the drop-down menu select “Main flow”. This will create a Branch Header highlighted in green in the list of screens to indicate where the screens that belong to the branch start.
  • Move the Branch Header up the list of screens so that it is above the Hoof screen (Dark green) that branches off from the Main Screen (Yellow).
  • Create the screens that will be in the Hoof Branch (Lime green), for example, a screen for “Hoof Activity” and a screen for “Hoof Feeding”.
  • For each of the Hoof screens, select the Edit button (the Pencil icon), and in the “Belongs to main flow or branch?” drop-down menu, select “Hoof Branch”.
  • Move all the Hoof screens (Green) so that they follow the Branch Header in the correct order.
  • Repeat for Predator Branch screens.
  • The Hoof Branch screens and the Predator Branch screens will follow separate paths. After completing their separate paths, the sequence of screens will rejoin the Main flow (Blue) of screens.
  • You can also create Branches within Branches
  • Remember to check that the order of the screens is correct.

Publish your App

  • Go to the Publish tab, and click the Publish button.
  • A message will confirm when your app has been published.
  • A CyberTracker Mobile App QR Code image will appear.
  • Scan the Mobile App QR Code to install your app onto mobile phones.

Deploy your App to Mobile Phones

To deploy app to mobile phones use the QR Scanner in CyberTracker Mobile to scan the Mobile App QR Code:

  • Download CyberTracker Mobile from the Apple App Store onto your iPhone or from Google Play onto your Android phone.
  • Use the QR Scanner in CyberTracker Mobile to scan the Mobile App QR Code.
  • Scan the Mobile App QR Code on your desktop computer where you published your app.

Share your App with Other Users:

  • In the Publish tab, Download the QR code to email the Mobile App QR Code.
  • For a Community Science project you can share QR Code via a WhatsApp Group and receivers can then scan the QR Code (if it is received on a phone, it must be scanned from the phone of another member of your group or from desktop WhatsApp on a PC, Mac or laptop).
  • You can also post the Mobile App QR Code on your project Facebook page or your project website if you want members of the public to scan and use your app to collect Community Science data.
  • You can also print out the Mobile App QR Code and distribute pamphlets to people who want to use your app for Community Science projects.
  • Another way is to long-press on a project (on the mobile device) and click “QR code”. Then there is a button on the bottom left called “Share link”. This way you can share the link via email or WhatsApp, etc. On the receiver’s phone, touch the link to install the app.

Enter Your Name in the CyberTracker App on your Mobile Device

  • On the mobile device, in CyberTracker App, select the Projects button and then Settings. Enter your name under Collect as. Your name will be attached to every observation.

Update App

  • You can make changes to your app, like adding more screens or more list items, or re-ordering items.
  • Re-publish (select the Publish button again).
  • There is no need to resend the app link to your mobile users. The mobile phone will detect that there is a new version available and show the refresh icon in the Projects list.
  • Touch the refresh icon to update to the new version of the app.

Set up Observation Filters

In View Data, Settings, select any of the Single Select List Screens as Observation filters to filter your data in the Map views.

View and Filter data

  • Go to View Data to see the Map view.
  • You can filter your data using the Observation Filters on the left.
  • You can also view your data in the Observations Table or Photos table, or select Audio table, by clicking the Map View drop-down menu.

Export Data

  • You can Export data as a CSV file.
  • We will be adding more export file formats.