Sunday, 29 April 2012

BTO Birdtrack Android app... REVIEWED!


I'm always willing to give apps a try on my android phone, especially if they are free, and to date there have been a few birding log tools released. I've tried them but quickly abandoned them - they all seem fine when sitting at home, but become very tedious, and laborious to use in the field. Let's face it, the more time you spend with your head in the phone, the less you are going to see.

The BTO BirdTrack app, initially fell into this category: I set it up fairly easily, and added our garden Blue Tits in without any problems. However, "in the field" I stood for a couple of minutes trying to enter a Shelduck into the app, whilst continuing to get an error message that my pre-defined site did not match the grid reference I was at.

So, I looked for a workaround, and by ignoring sites, and just entering sightings as you see them by grid reference from the phone, it seems to work very well.

Best of all, you can upload the sightings to the BTOs Birdtrack survey which contributes to the bigger picture. And, you can browse other people's recent sightings via a map, which is really cool.

So, unlike other trip sighting logs, I'm prepared to give the BTO birdtrack more time, and use it in anger for a few trips. I just need to pack a notebook and pencil for when the phone battery runs out ;)

In terms of improvement, what we really need is an app that takes the data entry by voice input: "Lapwing...2...enter" would be really cool.