This page lists the latest changes to and news about the Observação de Cogumelos website.
Saturday December 29, 2012
- Some tweaks and bug fixes to herbaria and specimens.
Saturday December 15, 2012
- First release of Herbarium and Specimen pages.
Friday October 26, 2012
It's been a busy summer! Some of these changes have been out for a while, but in case you haven't noticed them all, here's a run down.
- Improved searching to better catch misspellings. (Jason)
- Show Name page has been revised. More images and text on the page! (Nathan)
- Show Image now has options for rotating the image. (Jason)
- Show Image page has been cleaned up. (Jason)
- Foreign language handling has been improved and can now be tweaked directly from the web page ('Edit Translations on this Page' link at the bottom of any page) (Jason)
- Added user and 'species list' checklists accessible from the 'Life List' link on the user summary pages and from the Show Species List page. (Jason)
- Better handling of maps when there are large numbers of points. (Jason)
- File downloads of observations. Resulting files can be loaded into any spreadsheet program. Search for observations and click 'Download as CSV'. (Jason)
- Added real support for Subgenera, Sections and Stirps and better handling of provisional names (Jason)
- Times are now accurately shown in the browser's time zone. (Jason)
- Added classification information nearly everywhere based on Index Fungorum. (Jason)
- Significantly expanded the species and images being shared with EOL. (Nathan)
- Added 'hide authorities' option to user preferences (Jason)
- Added MyCoPortal links to Show Observation and Show Name. (Jason)
- API cleanup to support development of a mobile app. (Jason)
Friday May 18, 2012
- "Thumbnail" map is now shown on observation page.
- Maps with too many observations are now simplified to help reduce strain on your browser.
- You can now attach observations, images and species lists to projects.
- (More details are available here.)
Monday May 7, 2012
- Image votes are no longer anonymous, by default.
- The original file name of uploaded images is kept to help users organize their images.
- Full-size images should now be reliably available immediately after upload.
- MO now tracks changes in image copyright.
- MO automatically updates copyright holder name in your images when you change your name in your profile.
- Improved entry of GPS coords for observations.
- Improved handling of locations in species lists.
- Improved warnings about "redundant counties", etc. in locations.
- Comments are allowed in species lists.
- Prototype bulk observation editor is available for species lists.
- (More details are available here.)
Tuesday December 27, 2011
- New Black on White theme along with some cleanup of other themes. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday November 5, 2011
- Fixed error in calculation of Observed Taxa. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed Needed Description List. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday June 9, 2011
- Added the feature tracker. (Jason Hollinger)
Saturday March 26, 2011
- Transition to Passenger and 6sync hosting service complete resulting in a significant speed up. (Jason Hollinger)
- Bug fix for an obscure case in the create observation workflow.
Saturday January 8, 2011
- Create Observation now goes directly to Create Location if the location is new to the system.
Tuesday December 21, 2010
- Improved donation pages.
Monday December 6, 2010
- Added donation pages.
Saturday September 11, 2010
- Expanded size of location names to 1024.
Thursday August 19, 2010
- Added geocoding to location creation and editing. This means the system will
try to figure out reasonable GPS coordinates from a given name. You can re-ask
by click the 'Find on Map' button. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday August 15, 2010
- Added links to Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Wikipedia and Google Search help define locations.
Added some additional 'Create Location' links. (Nathan Wilson)
Friday August 13, 2010
- Completed a major overhaul of location handling. Features
include: a user preferences that switches the displayed order
between country last (like a postal address) and country first
(regular practice for scientific collections), an exhaustive
(and exhausting) review and revision of all the location names that have
been entered so far, a documented set of rules
for location names with an automated warning system that ties to ensure
that the rules get applied corrected, an interactive interface for defining
the lat/longs for locations, and the ability to provide a specific
lat/long for an observation. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday April 4, 2010 (Pretty much all Jason Hollinger)
- Users may now make their votes public. By default all pre-existing votes
are anonymous, but starting April 5, 2010 the default will be for them to be
public. See http://mushroomobserver.org/25184
and click on the percentage below 'Community Vote' next to the name
Lichenomphalia umbellifera to see an example of something Jason
and Nathan have voted on. You can change the visibility of your votes by
going to your account "Preferences". We only provide for either all new
votes being public, or all new votes being anonymous, although existing users
have the option of grandfathering in old anonymous votes while making all new
- All users are now encouraged to vote on image quality. At Chris
Parrish's and Debbie Viess's suggestions we've deliberately omitted negative
votes. Image quality is only used to rank images in search results. Also,
only images of a minimum quality ("useful for identification") are being
shared with third-party sources, such as EOL.org. As with proposed names,
there will never be any sort of penalty for posting an image that other users
happen to dislike!
directly from most places on the site. At Alan Rockefeller's and Curtis
Björk's suggestion, we now optionally provide larger thumbnails. The
thumbnail size can be changed in your account "Preferences". Additional
image sizes are available when you click on an image, as well. As it takes
longer to process all the new image sizes, please be patient after posting
observations -- you will be seeing the cartoon Amanita more often than
Name and Location Descriptions:
- Names (and locations) have been split into two parts: the name itself and
synonymy remains where it is; all the descriptive text has moved into an
attached object. This allows us to develop multiple descriptions for a
species, e.g., the standard public one, private drafts developed by students
for a class, descriptions extracted automatically from third-party sources,
and alternate ("personal") descriptions provided by individual users.
- Each name has a "default" description. This is the old public
description, where one existed. All users will be allowed to read this
description. While it is possible to make a read-only description the
default, any user may create a fully-public description and make it the
- Descriptions have three types of permissions: read, write and admin.
These are all completely customizable by admins. You automatically become an
admin for any personal descriptions you create. There are two boxes on the
main create/edit form that let you classify a description simply as readable
or writable by the general public. Use the "Adjust Permissions" tab at the
top to grant individual users or user groups any of the three types of
permissions. Public descriptions are intended to always be readable and
writable by everyone so their permissions cannot be changed except by the
site admins. In extreme cases the site admins could make a public
description read-only, but we hope that will not be necessary.
- Existing drafts (for the undergraduate projects) have been transformed
into special private descriptions. Read, write and admin permissions should
remain unchanged. Drafts (and any other description) may still be
"published" whenever you are ready. In this new context, "publishing" is a
process that turns your draft into a public description and makes it the
default. If a public description already exists, you may choose to merge
your draft with it instead.
- Users may now comment directly on names (and locations). Note, if you
enter a comment when approving or deprecating a name, it shows up as a
comment now, instead of being inserted into the general "Notes" field.
Hopefully users will find it convenient to use this forum to debate taxonomic
issues, rather than under the observation of the moment, where the comments
are soon lost under the mountain of new observations.
- You will immediately notice that you now have the ability, thanks to
Darvin DeShazer's and Paul Derbyshire's suggestion, to select which type or
types of activity you are interested in seeing on the main "Activity Log"
page. Note that you may set this as your default at any time.
- We've made massive changes behind the scenes to how searching and
indexing is done throughout the site. One sign you will notice is that in
addition to the old "<< Prev | Next >>" tabs at the top of observation and
name pages, there is now also an "Index" link that shows you the results of
the latest index or search. All three links are now present for all types of
- You can now also request to see a list of names, locations or images from
the index of observation results, and vice versa. This can be particularly
useful, for example, should you like to see a list of species that you have
observed on MO -- select "Your Observations" from the left-hand panel, then
select "Show Names" from the links at the top of the resulting index.
- You now have the ability to modify sort order for any of the indexes.
When sorting by name, title, or user, most indexes will allow you to jump
straight to the set of results starting with a given letter.
- You may now use the search bar at the top of the page to search for
comments, species lists, and users.
- Timestamps should now be reported in your local time zone, as reported by
your browser. There is, obviously, no guarantee that your browser is
reporting the correct time zone (mine isn't right now!), but it should be
correct for most users, I hope.
- As usual, we've made a number of improvements in code and database
performance. (In some common cases, such as the "Activity Log" site index,
the new version takes less than half the time to respond in local tests!)
Unfortunately there are many factors involved in the overall response time of
a live production server, so it remains to be seen how much of an improvement
the average user will see. We are guardedly optimistic.
- We have added the ability to synchronize with additional remote
webservers. In particular, we hope to establish a close working relationship
with a clone of MO that has been started in Russia. There is still a small
amount of testing and final development before this goes live, so it may be
some weeks before the first Russian observations start rolling in.
- For those power-users out there, we have developed a powerful
programatical interface to our database. It is fully-featured: everything
you can do on the normal web interface can also be done via the API. (It is
being used to synchronize with external servers.) Please contact us if you
are interested. It is still in testing stages, as well, so we have
temporarily disabled it pending final QA.
Friday October 9, 2009
- Fixed bug in the changed name email when new names get created. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added a count of the published descriptions for projects. (Nathan Wilson)
Wednesday September 23, 2009
- Fixed bug in the mail queue that has prevent queued email from getting delivered since Sept. 15. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday September 21, 2009
- Fixed some more query stall problems with the advanced search page. (Nathan Wilson)
Wednesday September 16, 2009
- Fixed query stall problem with the advanced search page. (Nathan Wilson, Jason Hollinger)
- Added google-like syntax for advanced search - each word is considered separate unless they are surrounded by double quotes, OR can be used to between words, and - a the start of a word indicates that that word should not be in the text. (Jason Hollinger)
Sunday September 13, 2009
- Added references section to name descriptions. (Nathan Wilson)
- Tentatively introduced the ability to classify certain deprecated names as "misspelled". This currently only has the effect of removing these names from the name index, auto-completion, and a few other lists. If users find it useful we will be expanding upon it in the future. (This and all the rest: Jason Hollinger)
- Name tracking now works for taxa higher than genus, at least in some limited cases. It is based on the "classification" section of the name descriptions. The more genera that get "classified", the better this will work.
- Added concept of "authorship" of locations, and made email notifications based on location available.
- Further expanded the already-bewildering array of email preferences. Please take a look at your Preferences page to see all the new options.
- All the emails are now available for translation. We welcome all you multilingual users to pitch in. This is probably the easiest and most visible (at least to foreign users!) contribution you can make to the development of Mushroom Observer.
- Tweaked auto-completion on scientific name and location fields to be more responsive, especially for those of you with slower internet connections.
- Keenly observant users will notice that the Create Observation form now carries over the default date and location from your previous observation if you are creating multiple observations.
- Image upload is handled completely differently on our end. Users should be able to notice a few subtle differences: 1) thumbnails of your new images will not always appear immediately, the new process can take up to a few minutes in extreme cases; 2) we're hoping the overall performance of the site will improve noticeably (this remains to be seen).
- NOTE: We now limit uploaded images to less than 20 Mb. However, please try to keep images below 10 Mb. We can help show you how to resize and/or convert your raw images to JPEG if this becomes a problem.
Tuesday July 21, 2009
- Fixed some validation problems with the HTML generated by the unit tests. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added classification validation when names get created rather than just when they are edited. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added automatic translation from Division to Phylum. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday June 4, 2009
- Tweaked the EOL XML generator to reflect recent changes at EOL. (Nathan Wilson)
- Default email Reply-To fields now go to an address that automatically generate
a note explaining the right way for people to respond. (Jason Hollinger)
Friday May 22, 2009
- Added a number of new types of email notification, complementing the
existing "Email Alerts" and comment notifications:
- a. Authors of name descriptions will get notifications if anyone else
makes changes to the descriptions they wrote.
- b. Observers will now also get notified whenever someone proposes a
name for their observation.
- c. People who have commented on an observation will now get sent
subsequent comments to the same observation -- i.e. people will get sent
"responses" to their comments.
- Users can now "watch" specific observations. This would tell MO to
send you emails whenever anything happens to that observation: change to
notes, addition of images, comments, name proposals, etc. Look for the
cutesy little eye-balls in the upper right corner of the observation. The
one with eyes open tells MO to "watch" the observation. The one with eyes
screwed shut tells MO to do just the opposite -- do not send you
emails of any sort, even if you created or commented on that
- Users can now "watch" names, too, using the same mechanism. (Again,
look for the eye-balls in the upper right on the "About Name..." pages.)
This is meant to complement, not replace, the existing "Email Alerts".
Email Alerts are sent out whenever someone observes a given name; it
is intended primarily for use by professionals doing research on a taxon or
group of taxa. Watching a name, on the other hand, tells MO to send you
emails when someone changes a name (e.g. edits the general
description); it is intended as a casual means for curious users to keep
updated on the latest research in a given species or genus.
- If you use these new "watch" and "ignore" features a lot, you can see
a list of all the objects you are watching or ignoring by clicking on the
"Your Interests" link under your login name in the left-hand panel on every
page. We'll add your Email Alerts to this list, soon, too, so that they are all
available in the same place.
- At the suggestion of Darvin, the show_name pages now displays all
children taxa (currently only works for genera and below), paginating the
list if it is too long instead of truncating it.
- Fixed a bug in the parsing of _object id_ syntax. (Thanks to Paul
Derbyshire for bringing it to our attention.) (all changes by Jason
Friday May 8, 2009
- Added 'Authored Names' page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Changed name index pages to have alternating pattern due to the 'Authored Names' page. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday May 4, 2009
- Added Domain as a valid rank. (Nathan Wilson)
Friday May 1, 2009
- Expanded the name.citation field to be an arbitrary text field rather than having a 100 character limit. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday April 23, 2009
- Moved site from MediaTemple to Slicehost to address proxy error problem. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
Friday April 17, 2009
- Updated crediting for description authors and editors. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday February 8, 2009
- Added German translation strings. (Christian Asseburg)
- Changed textile behavior with links. Links are allowed to be longer before getting
truncated and links within Mushroom Observer no longer get truncated. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday February 7, 2009
- Added advanced search. (Nathan Wilson)
- Search URLs are now reusable. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday January 19, 2009
- Fixed some links that were confusing the robots. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added more translations. (Nathan Wilson)
- Tweaked the CSS based on feedback from Mike Wood. (Nathan Wilson)
- Put in block for onego.ru after it brought the site down twice from excess load. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday January 1, 2009
- Added classification field to species descriptions. For now it is just a text field with certain formatting requirements. Someday it might be smart and automatically propagate changes. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday December 28, 2008
- Separated editors from authors for descriptions. Author gets automatically set when a general description first gets added to a name. An existing author or a reviewer can change the authors for a name. Editors get automatically added anytime a change is made to a name. (Nathan Wilson)
- Authors and editors are listed after the description fields on a description page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Reviewers and authors get notifications when drafts get published. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added 'Listed Taxa' to the site states. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added date a user joined the Mushroom Observer to the user summary. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday November 1, 2008
- Adjusted textile parser to automatically create links when species are mentioned in comments. This is really easy to use and should work retroactive on names in old comments. There are also new special syntax goodies for various sorts of internal references. See the 'Internal links' section of Textile Sandbox (Jason Hollinger)
- Created complete translation into Spanish and vastly improved process for adding more languages. Anyone interested in creating additional translations or correcting or extending the existing translations is very welcome to help out. See Translator’s Note for more details. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added user specific language preference. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added stats to most pages indicating when it was last viewed and how many times it has been viewed. (Jason Hollinger)
- Adjusted textile parser to automatically create links when species are mentioned in comments. (Jason Hollinger)
- Improved image compression handling for thumbnails and standard sized images. (Jason Hollinger)
- Improved name parser. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added count of observed taxa to the site stats page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed bug in prev/next handling when votes are made. (Nathan Wilson and Jason Holliger)
Saturday October 11, 2008
- Added explicit licensing for description text. (Nathan Wilson)
- Improved speed for EOL Preview. (Nathan Wilson)
- Taxa can now be excluded from being exported (e.g., Insecta). (Nathan Wilson)
- Added EOL Need Review to easily find candidates to review for export to EOL. (Nathan Wilson)
Wednesday October 8, 2008
- Added publish and destroy actions for drafts. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday October 5, 2008
- Added projects and drafts. See the
page for details.. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday September 18, 2008
- Bug fix for displaying spurious notifications. (Nathan Wilson)
- Improved display and handling of past names. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added species citation as a reference in the EOL feed. (Nathan Wilson)
- Cleaned up bogus user cookie stuff on logout. (Jason Hollinger)
Wednesday September 17, 2008
- Significant infrastructure changes for comments and versioned object. (Jason Hollinger)
- Various bug fixes. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday September 14, 2008
- Added review functionality for Names and Images for a designated set of expert users ('reviewers'). (Nathan Wilson)
- Added EOL Preview page to visually present the information sent out on the EOL Content Feed. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday September 11, 2008
- Added EOL Content Partner Feed is now available at http://mushroomobserver.org/name/eol. This will become a very large XML dump, so I don't recommend loading this just to check it out. However, if you have a way of handling large XML dumps and want to download the data using this service feel free. (Nathan Wilson)
Tuesday September 9, 2008
- Broke up notes for names to support General Description, Diagnostic Description, Habitat, Look Alikes and Uses. Largely motivated to improve EOL support. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday September 8, 2008
- Completed upgrade to Rails 2.1. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
- Cleaned up species list exporting. (Jason Hollinger)
- Improved auto-completion especially for locations. (Jason Hollinger)
- Improved internal handling of prev/next and user info. (Jason Hollinger)
- Fixed bug with multiple copies of the same genus. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday August 28, 2008
- Bug fixes and improvements for Name List Generator. (Jason Hollinger)
- Fixed URL trimming code. (Jason Hollinger)
Sunday August 24, 2008
- Improvements to the Name List Generator. (Jason Hollinger)
- Auto-completion is now case insensitive. (Jason Hollinger)
Thursday August 21, 2008
- New Name List Generator to more efficiently create species lists. Also allows you to save lists of names as text, RTF or spreadsheets. (Jason Hollinger)
- Can now upload and annotate images at the same time as you create an observation via a dynamic form: it's all a one-step process now. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added user thumbnails to comments and contributors page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added support for email alerts at the genus level or below to include subtaxa. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added 'Your Email Alerts' link to Summary page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added mailing address to user profile. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added percent complete to profile to encourage people to create complete profiles. (Nathan Wilson)
- Rewrote auto-completion code for names to be faster (more client-side). (Jason Hollinger)
- Cleaned up pagination behavior on alphabetized lists. (Jason Hollinger)
- Notifications now work better with species lists. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed handling of long URLs in comments. (Jason Hollinger)
- Enabled rdoc documentation generation. (Jason Hollinger)
Saturday August 9, 2008
- Fixed bug in species list checklists. (Jason Hollinger)
Friday August 8, 2008
- Implemented email tracking for species. See the
page for details. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday July 23, 2008
- User profile page with image, location and notes. (Jason Hollinger)
- Fixes to user preferences page. (Jason Hollinger)
Saturday July 19, 2008
- Added email queue for managing comment and feature email. (Nathan Wilson)
Wednesday July 2, 2008
- Fixed more prev/next bugs. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday June 19, 2008
- Fixed ordering issue with following a list of images for an explicit observation. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed bug with the same image getting used more than once for a particular observation. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday June 16, 2008
- Major revamp of handling for prev/next links. (Nathan Wilson)
- Performance improvements for show_observation and for session handling. (Nathan Wilson)
Sunday April 27, 2008
- Namings and votes included in contribution. (Jason Holllinger)
- Votes weighted by contribution (logarithm). (Jason Hollinger)
- Observer's vote weighted higher. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added the Como Ajudar page and updated Como Usar. (Nathan Wilson)
- Bug fix in displaying observer's opinion. (Jason Hollinger)
Saturday April 4, 2008
- If you put just a number in the 'Find' box it will first try to find the corresponding object by id number. If there isn't one, then it does the regular search. (Nathan Wilson)
- More tweaks to handling of newlines. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
- Added Textile Sandbox Page for more interactively creating your markup. (Jason Hollinger)
- More fixes to vote caching. (Jason Hollinger)
Wednesday April 2, 2008
- Fixed problem in comments and such where newlines required a <br/> to display correctly. Blank lines now appear as blank lines. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added Textile Sandbox Page for more interactively creating your markup. (Jason Hollinger)
- More fixes to vote caching. (Jason Hollinger)
Thursday March 27, 2008
- Added page for manually creating a single name. Available from the Observation Index or any Name Page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixes to vote caching. (Jason Hollinger)
Tuesday March 25, 2008
- Tweaks to the Name page so that more observations get shown. (Jason Hollinger)
Saturday March 22, 2008
- Modified how votes get counted. The value is calculated as sum(votes)/(number of votes + 1).
Range is normalized to +/-100%. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
- Reorganized Name page to rank by consensus vote. (Jason Hollinger)
- Added section to Name page for observations that have had the given name applied to them. (Jason Hollinger)
- Observations with a score less that 0 are not shown in the Observations or Synonyms sections. (Jason Hollinger)
- There are some known issues with the way that observations you have voted "I'd Call It That" appear on Name pages.
Friday March 14, 2008
- Alphabet added to top of Name Index page. (Jason Hollinger)
- Fixed bugs in handling notes when names get merged. (Nathan Wilson)
- Modified how votes get counted. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
Wednesday March 19, 2008
- Various bug fixes.
Friday March 14, 2008
- Alphabet added to top of Name Index page. (Jason Hollinger)
- Fixed bugs in handling notes when names get merged. (Nathan Wilson)
- Modified how votes get counted. (Jason Hollinger and Nathan Wilson)
Tuesday March 4, 2008
- Fixes to voting algorithm.
Saturday March 1, 2008
- Added icons for observer's choice and the current consensus.
- Fix bug in adding authors to existing names.
- Loosened rules for deleting a naming. In particular you can now remove a naming
you created as long as no one else has chosen that as their strongest positive vote.
- Fixed where the site sends you after you send a user email.
Saturday February 9, 2008
- Released support for formally proposing names for anyone's observation as well as voting on proposed names.
See the Como Usar page for
details. (Jason Hollinger)
- Many other small changes went in as part of the proposed naming/voting work. (Jason Hollinger & Nathan Wilson)
Sunday January 6, 2008
- Location search button now returns a list of locations rather than observations. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added a link/page to map the locations returned by a search. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday January 5, 2008
- Added location search button. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added link to all locations on the location search result page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added direct email link to show user page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Added more links to the show user pages throughout. (Nathan Wilson)
Thursday January 3, 2008
At long last, I am very excited to announce a major new feature for the Mushroom Observer website - Google Maps! The most interesting maps currently supported are Distribution Maps. Here's an example for
Craterellus cornucopioides. To get a map for a particular name, you go to the page for a name either from the
Índice A→Z link on the left side of any window or by clicking an 'About ...' link at the top of an observation page. Once you're on the page for a name, there is a new link near the top called 'Distribution Map' which takes you to the map for that name.
So like pretty much everything on Mushroom Observer, users can add to the Distribution Map for a name. The easiest way is when you create a new observation, use an already defined location. The auto-completion for the Where field will list all locations that are currently being used whether they are defined or not. Right now there are only a few values that are defined, but I'm hoping that will change quickly as users define more locations (see below). When creating or editing an observation, there is a checkbox labeled 'Is Collection Location'. By default it is checked. If you uncheck, then that observation will not get put on the distribution map. This allows you to record observations of mushrooms in places like mushroom fairs, grocery stores or other places where you may not know where the mushroom was actually collected.
After you enter a new observation, you can check to see if that location is defined by clicking on the location link on the resulting observation page. If it is defined, then it will take you a location page that shows you a map of just that location. Otherwise it will do a search for observations that have that value in the where field. The search page will include links at the top to 'Define This Location' or 'Merge With A Defined Location'.
Clicking a 'Define This Location' link will take you to a location creation page. The first thing to review is the name of the location. You are strongly encouraged to end each location with country. In the USA you are also encouraged to include the full state name along with the county. Abbreviations are discouraged with the exception of 'Co.' for County. Thus a good name is:
Salt Point State Park, Sonoma Co., California, USA
a bad name is
Salt Point, CA
For other countries, I don't know enough to propose a concrete proposal, so I expect conventions will evolve over time.
Locations are currently defined as a box that completely encloses the named location. Part of intention with making the locations an area rather than a single GPS reading is to not force people to reveal their 'spots', while still getting something that is at least accurate to the county. To define a location you enter the extreme north and south latitudes as well as the extreme east and west longitudes for that location. To find the latitudes and longitudes, there are links to a couple of convenient location finder pages on the location creation/editing pages. These will open in a separate window or tab. You can then navigate to the location on the map and read off the position. I am hoping to integrate this functionality into Mushroom Observer, but I wanted to get this first version out to get some feedback before diving into that problem.
In addition to the position of the location, you can also provide a maximum and minimum altitude along with some notes. Note that the altitudes should be in meters not feet. Once you have filled out the form, click 'Create' to define the location. It does a bit of sanity checking to make sure that the values are reasonable and that the name of the location is unique. An existing location can be edited by going to the page for that location and clicking 'Edit'. Anyone can change the information for a location, but the previous version of the information is kept as a reference to allow easy recovery if someone puts in the wrong information.
A list of all locations in the system is available. You can reach it by clicking the 'All Locations' link from any of the location related pages. This page lists both the defined locations (on the left, sorted alphabetically) and the undefined locations (on the right, sorted by the number of observations associated with that location). My hope is that people will start clicking on the undefined locations and defining them starting with the ones that are in the most widespread use.
Next to each undefined location is a 'Merge' link as well. This allows you to handle the case where the same location has been given but in different forms (e.g., 'Point Reyes National Seashore' and 'Pt Reyes Park'). When you click a 'Merge' link it will do a quick search for any likely candidates and present those in one list and all the remaining locations in another in case it guessed wrong. Clicking on any of those location links will perform the merge.
In theory it would be possible for the same location to be defined more than once (presumably by different people). If this happens, you can propose a merge by editing one of the locations and change the Where field to the value of the other location. This will not have any immediate effect, but a warning will be given and an email will be sent to me with the details. I've restricted the ability to merge defined locations since that could cause significant data loss.
Please send me your feedback on this feature. I have many ideas about how map use could be expanded in the future, but as always your feedback and requests will drive the order in which I do things.
Hope you enjoy this new functionality!
Monday December 31, 2007
- Emergency bug fix related to spontaneous logouts. Logouts still happening, but users should not be losing data
any more. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday December 15, 2007
- More layout tweaks. (Nathan Wilson)
- Automatically removes extra spaces when lists are given. (Nathan Wilson)
- Modified date now gets set for observations created through a species list. (Nathan Wilson)
- Change 'Who' link to go to contribution summary. (Nathan Wilson)
Saturday November 17, 2007
- Adjusted layout to better use the space on the page. (Nathan Wilson)
- Adjusted link order based on usage patterns. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed problem in RSS feed. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed bug in display images with multiple names. (Nathan Wilson)
- Improved spam filtering. (Nathan Wilson)
- More internationalization. (Nathan Wilson)
- Fixed spammer generated errors with the welcome page and prev/next links. (Nathan Wilson)
Monday November 5, 2007
- Patched bug with internationalization that was causing the string __localization_missing__ to appear unexpectedly. I don't fully understand why it does this, but I've addressed the symptom. (Nathan Wilson)
- More improvements to auto-completion. (Jason Hollinger)
Friday October 19, 2007
- Improvements to auto-completion. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
- Fixed a couple of minor bugs that users stumbled on.
Sunday October 14, 2007
- Comments now visible directly on the Show Observation page. In addition the Add Comment and Edit
Comment pages now list all the information for the observation to make it easier to cut and
paste while working on a comment. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
- Deprecating or approving a name now asks for a comment. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
- Better auto-completion enabled for Create Observation and Edit Observation. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
Saturday October 13, 2007
- Added internationalization support including some translations into pt-BR (Brazilian Portuguese).
Tuesday October 9, 2007
- An email is now automatically sent to the owner of the observation anytime a comment is made. This feature can be turned off on your preferences page. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
- The email messages are now optionally HTMLized. Contributed by Jason Hollinger.
Friday October 5, 2007
- Fixed a bug where genera were mistakenly getting deprecated when species they contain were deprecated.
Monday September 17, 2007
Did a whole bunch of cleanup using the W3C validator to ensure that
as much of the site as possible is valid XHTML 1.0. In the process found many little formatting problems. In
general the layout should be unchanged. However, with browsers other than Firefox there may be significant
changes, but those should be more consistent with the layout in Firefox. Please let me know if you see any
significant layout problems.
For anyone who cares, the Show Image and Show Original pages are not completely valid due to the use of the
proposed RDFa standard used to describe the Creative Commons licensing terms. This standard is expected to be
ratified in the near future.
Sunday September 2, 2007
Contributors now have options for the license they contribute their images under. The license that has
been used so far (Creative Commons Attribution,
Non-Commercial, Share Alike License v2.5, or by-nc-sa v2.5 for short) only permits non-commercial
uses. This license is not enough to allow their use on Wikipedia
which requires the option for all contributed material
to be used commercially. Support has been added for a license Wikipedia does accept,
the Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike
License v3.0 license (by-sa v3.0). While I was working on this problem I also deprecated the use of
by-nc-sa v2.5 in favor of the 3.0 version.
This means when you add a new image you can choose between the Wikipedia compatible license and the
non-commercial 3.0 license. The initial default for all users when adding new images is the Wikipedia
compatible, by-sa v3.0 license. You can change this default on your Preferences page.
You can change the license for any existing image by going to that
image and selecting 'Edit Image'. You will see a new drop down menu listing the license options.
If the image is currently under the by-nc-sa v2.5, then that option will still be in the list and will
be the default. Finally for power users, there is a new page available off the Preferences page, the
Bulk License Updater, which groups your images based
on license and copyright holder and allows you to update each group in one go.
Image search now includes the copyright holder field in the search.
Updated the Introduction and
How to Use pages to reflect many
of the recent changes.
Saturday September 1, 2007
- Fixed bugs in handling version numbers and user assignment for some name changing functions.
Monday August 20, 2007
- Fixed bugs in adding author and creating new species indirectly by creating or editing observations.
Sunday August 12, 2007
- Re-enabled Bulk Name Edit after substantially revising past name generation and compensating for lost history.
Friday August 3, 2007
- Added citations to Names.
- Search improvements:
Box is larger.
Search value stays in all cases.
Switched from just matching the beginning of the name string (unless there's a %), to searching anywhere in multple fields.
Removed Location search since that's included in the Observation search now.
- Updated the past name page to explicitly show previous statuses and citations.
Thursday August 2, 2007
- Added Approve or Deprecate links to Show Name pages based on whether the name is deprecated or not.
- Removed 'Deprecated' checkbox from the Edit Name page.
- Fixed a bug in Edit Observation where providing a totally new name lost any other changes or edits made on the page.
- Fixed some of the handling of 'Unknown'.
- Fixed a bug in recording if a Name used to be deprecated.
Friday July 20, 2007
- Allowed system to assume that a non-deprecated name is preferred over a deprecated name if there is ambiguity.
- Fixed bug in saving author changes when the name can't be changed that was introduced in the July 6 update.
Friday July 6, 2007
- Reorganized the links on the observation, image and name pages to hopefully be more intuitive.
- Limited the ability to change the name and author of name to avoid changes to other people's observations without
- Fixed a few minor bugs.
Sunday July 1, 2007
- Updated the checklist code to give long lists after a visit to either the Observation Index or Name Index pages.
- Cleaned up the naming of Observation Index and Name Index. All Names is still maintained, but is now the same as the Name Index.
Saturday June 30, 2007
- Valid names are now in bold. Deprecated names are not.
Thursday June 28, 2007
- Moved to new hosting service.
Sunday June 24, 2007
- If there are two names that have exactly the same name and author and at least one of them has no notes, then they will get automatically merged if one of them is edited.
- Added a facility for testing the performance of image uploading.
- Fixed an omission in the error reporting code that caused alert emails to not get sent.
Monday June 18, 2007
- Names can now be marked as deprecated. The setting can be changed using the Edit Name page.
- Synonyms support added. Synonyms are used to verify names of observations and in species lists.
- Synonyms can be changed for one name by selecting 'Change Synonyms' from any Show Name page.
- Larger sets of names and synonyms can be added from the Bulk Name Edit page available from any Show
Name page, the Name Index page or the All Names page.
- The Name Index page only lists names that have observations.
- The All Names page lists all names in the database and can be accessed from the Name Index page.
- Fixed bug with Creating Observations immediately after creating a new account.
Monday May 21, 2007
- One year anniversary!
- Added Site Stats, Contributors, Show User, User Observations and Comments for User pages.
Sunday May 13, 2007
- Fixed a variety of minor issues.
- Added 'sanitize' calls to avoid cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.
Thursday May 10, 2007
- Fixed bug in creating new names when creating a species list.
Sunday April 29, 2007
- Substantially improved error handling.
- Fixed problem with Google Web Accelerator.
Sunday April 22, 2007
- Reorganized and simplified observation editing and creation.
- Completed unit testing for existing pages.
Friday February 23, 2007
- Adjusted the size of some of the notes widgets to fill more of the screen.
Monday February 19, 2007
- Added note snippet and comment count to Show Image page for easier review.
- Adjusted options available for the number of rows in list displays.
- Fixed database migration scripts.
- Internal data simplification (removed observations.what field).
Tuesday February 13, 2007
- Added multiple upload option for Add Images.
- Changed some of the links in the left hand panel based on user feedback.
Saturday February 10, 2007
- Added image and location search within the site.
Thursday February 8, 2007
- Added Google image search links to Observation and Name pages.
Wednesday February 7, 2007
- Added checklists. Items in the checklist are the results of the
latest search or viewed species list. Viewing large lists like
'Latest Changes' or 'Name Index' will reset the checklist to all
- Moved loading species lists from files to a separate page off of
Edit Species List to avoid an interaction between the checklist
and file loading.
Saturday January 27, 2007
- Name edits now appear in the RSS feed.
Sunday January 21, 2007
- Added How To Use page.
- Changed 'New' links to 'Create'.
- Fixed a bug with the search box.
- Fixed a couple of bugs with the next/prev links.
Thursday January 11, 2007
- Fixed a bug with creating new species.
- Fixed many bugs with page titles, some of which were preventing pages from loading.
Tuesday January 9, 2007
- Names are now database objects rather than just strings. They have a
rank, a text name an author and notes.
- A show_name page shows this information as well as a list of all
observations that use that Name. The show_pages can be accessed from
each show_observation page as well as the list_names page that is
available in the left-side panel.
- Names can be edited on the edit_name pages that are accessible from
the show_name pages. Anyone is allowed to edit any name, but
following the Wikipedia model,
a record is kept of every version. The previous versions are stored as
'past names'. A show_past_name page shows the name information for a
previous version of a name and is accessible from each show_name page.
- Names are associated with observations through the 'what' field of the
observation. When the 'what' field is changed, the names are searched
for a match. The 'what' field can either be the text_name or the
text_name and the author for a name. No match is found for a 'what'
value, then the user is given the option to create the new name. If a
'what' value matches more than one name (due to different authors
publishing the same name), then the user is given a choice between the
options. The options list how many observations use each version of
the name. If you add an author to a 'what' field for a name that does
not have an author already, it will ask you if you want to create the
new name, but it will actually update the existing name.
- Names given in species lists are treated in the exact same manner,
except that all the new names and all of the multiple matches are
dealt with on the same page. There is also an option on the
new_species_list and edit_species_list pages to 'Just Create New
Names'. This adds the names without updating the species list or
creating the corresponding observations.
- The search box is now available on every page.
- Removed the Observation Index in favor of the Name Index.
- Fixed some of the list ordering to make it more intuitive.
- A filter was added to the account creation process that should reduce the
number of bot created users.
- Fixed a bug with bouncing between observations and images and using the
Monday December 18, 2006
- Added prev/next links that follow the RSS feed.
- Improved prev/next functionality throughout the site.
- RSS feed descriptions now have appropriate line breaks.
Monday December 4, 2006
- Species lists can now be uploaded from files.
- Separated note for species list from note that applies to member observations.
- Fixed use of multiple tabs by switching from session data to hidden fields.
- mushroomobserver.org/# == mushroomobserver.org/observer/show_observation/#
Monday October 26, 2006
- Switched Observations->By Name to include thumbnails and follow layout.
- Maintained old By Name behavior as Observations->Index.
- Added simple search box to Activity Log (Latest Changes) and Observation list pages.
Monday October 23, 2006
- Changed default page to the RSS feed.
- Changed page layout for observation and image list pages.
- Added layout controls to user preferences. Set to 10 rows x 1 column
and turn off 'Put text below images' to get old layout.
- Changed thumbnail image size from 100px to 160px with lower quality (jpeg 50 vs. 75).
- Provided Prev/Next buttons for images.
- Added link to ask the webmaster a question about the site.
- Split up 'Manage Images' into 'Add Image', 'Reuse Image' and 'Remove Images' and made
them more visible.
- 'Reuse Image' allows you to look at the images.
- Added links for viewing the log for observations and species lists.
- Made database lookup for all observations much more efficient.
- Rearranged left-hand panel.
- Images no longer have titles. They are derived from the observation(s) they are
- Removed Edit and Destroy links from view pages.
- Add mini-icon for webpages.
Sunday September 9, 2006
- Links to email the creator of observations or images with questions or commerical inquiries. The creator receives an email with the address of the user who wants to contact them. It is up to the creator whether they want to respond.
- User preferences added to disable the above email feature and to stop receiving emails like this letting you know about new features.
- RSS feed has been overhauled to reduce the number of entries and make them more relevant.
- Copyright holder now has an option to be something other than a registered user. The user who uploads the image is the default, but it can now be changed on a per image basis.
Monday August 21, 2006
Added RSS feed for all interesting events that happen on the site.
Added 'Create Account' link on login page to make it more obvious.
Tweaked page titles to make the site easier to index.
Sunday August 13, 2006
Added this news page.
List pages now have a better interface for paging than just next/previous,
and its at the top and bottom of each page.
Saturday August 12, 2006
Added email verification system to user signup.