Those of you who follow BrumBats on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook will be aware that we were out in force in 2017 doing a lot of surveys. What you may not realise is that the WAY we are recording our survey data is changing! We are in the middle of a year’s trial of the fabulous Conseris app (for Android and iOS), a data collection app that we’ve been adapting for use during bat surveys like bat box checks, mist netting and harp trapping. We’re even thinking about using it for bat care records!
The app is very user-friendly. The first thing you do is to set up your data collection. What do you want to record? Do you want it to be text-entry or multiple choice, etc? You set up those parameters (above, left) and they appear when you download the dataset onto your app. My favourite thing is that you can have nested questions – ones that are hidden unless the previous question is answered in a certain way. For example, if you say the age of a bat is a juvenile, it won’t ask you about breeding condition or pregnancy! It keeps things short and sweet when they need to be, and detailed when more information is needed.
Of course, it’s fun using it in the field, but the really cool stuff happens in the Conseris website, where you can explore your data, create graphs and export. So, for example, if I wanted to look at all of the records of Noctule and which style of bat box they are in, I can do exactly that! Likewise, at the end of the year, I can tell each one of my trainees how many bats of which species they have handled and processed.
I can’t wait to get out in the field and complete a whole season’s data collection using the App, and I will, of course, report back. But in the meantime, I’m being interviewed tonight for the new Conseris podcast, so keep an eye on social media for the link to listen!
-Morgan Hughes (Chair, BrumBats)