Thursday, June 4, 2020

Message from Sean Sime regarding multiple personal GPS markers on Ebird

Let's keep it simple and post sightings using locations "Prospect Park" or " ProspectLake." Keeps record searches easy and manageable


The message:

Please excuse the non-sighting (and lengthy) post, but this is an important bit of housekeeping. In the latest update of the eBird mobile app, when a user creates a checklist the first possible location to choose from is a GPS point and not the nearest hotspot. This is confusing because the GPS choice now also lists the name of the location and not just the coordinates-making it seem like a hotspot. There has been a massive uptick in personal location records in May and this is counterproductive for eBird data output. A quick dive by Shane turned up 54 personal locations for Black-throated Blue Warbler in Prospect Park alone this May as an example. These are records that will not be represented when searching the park hotspot for status and distribution, arrival/departure dates, trends, etc... These checklists are also inaccurate in so much as they imply the checklist effort is from that GPS point, when most are birding effort throughout the entire park (Prospect in this instance, but applicable in any area). This runs afoul of checklist protocol and could potentially result in checklists being removed from output.
Please choose hotspots when birding in areas where it is a choice. Choosing the hotspot that fully encompasses your birding route is best.  A hotspot option in the app will always be preceded by an orange icon with a flame in the middle. A blue marker is a personal location. Let's all make an effort to keep Brooklyn and Queens data clean and accessible with this small fix. If you have friends who are just starting out using the app please share this information with them before habits are set. If you have not been using hotspots or would like to merge your personal locations with a hotspot there is very helpful information and instruction here: