Table of Contents

Part One - This Tool
Part Two - A little bit more about the BDRS Tool
Part Three - What this means for the BDRS Tool

Registering - Users Instructions
Registering - Administrators Instructions
Drawing My Map Locations
Users Instructions
Use My Location
Administrator Instructions for My Location

Logging your sightings
Viewing Your Sightings

Open BDRS Documentation at the Atlas of Living Australia in a new browser window


The content on this page supports that found here in the Atlas of Living Australia.

The content is provided as a quick local site reference - please go to the Atlas site for more current and detailed instructions.


Part One - This Tool

This site has been developed using the Atlas of Living Australia sponsored Biological Recording System (aka “the BDRS”).

The BDRS is a tool designed to capture high quality information about many aspects of positively identified species in the field.

High quality because only high quality information can be used by people and organisations (Government & Industry) to do good science. The poorer the quality the more records are discarded during research and the more complex statistical techniques have to be to “make up” for the lack of quality.

High quality means at minimum:

  • Positively Identified - if we dont know what the species is then the record is not useful
  • Accurately located geographically - if we dont know where the sighting occurred then the record is not useful
  • Accurately located geographically 2 - if we dont know how accurate the location is (co-ordinate uncertainty) then the record is less useful
  • Logged by a known user - if we dont know who logged the sighting and their qualifications and experience in species identification then the record is less useful
  • Number of Individuals - if we dont know how many of a species was seen then the record is less useful
  • Date & Time - if we dont know when the sighting was made then the record is much less useful

These basic attributes are part of the Darwin Core data standards - often abbreviated as DwC.

Of course the more information that can be collected about the location, the environment, the weather, the habitat condition, other species seen at the time, and so on for each sighting event the more useful the record becomes for all kinds of scientific analysis.

Part Two - A little bit more about the BDRS Tool

In the BDRS you log your species sightings in web pages called SURVEYS.

The BDRS allows you to create all kinds of surveys from the simplest - the DwC list above - to quite complex, with multiple species sightings, pre programmed locations, habitat assessments and so on.

Even no species at all....What?

This way you can use the BDRS to describe a location - for example a farm or other property, or a reserve, and even activities you have done or plan to do in this location. At this point its time to read the manual!

Part Three - What this means for the BDRS Tool

In order to positively identify a species two things are required - one: you need to be able to do this in the field yourself; and two: the tool must provide you with a list of species that include the accepted common and scientific names and other information and attributes that can help you confirm your identification.

You are not allowed to just type the name of the species. Why? because you may spell it's name wrong, may use a common name that isn't that common and so can't be resolved into the correct scientific name later, and so on.

Therefore every BDRS has a field guide of some kind containing lists of species with the minimum necessary information for correct identification.

What happens if I am not sure? In this case you select the “Other” or “Unidentified” or “I’m Not Sure” species option - the option will depend on what this systems owner has chosen as their default.

You will then be asked to nominate what you think the species is and why. You will be encouraged to provide a photo or other proof of your identification.

When you save the sighting one of the local experts will review it and make a determination - either to confirm your nomination, suggest another based on a variry of factors including the image and other information you have provide, or perhaps decide that this record cannot be used (hopefully not very often : )

This last process is called moderation.



Simple check list style instructions for using this site:

User Instructions

  1. Open the provided link to the website.
  2. Click on the Sign In menu item
  3. Click on the highlighted link word "here" in the text - "If you have not already registered, you can do so here."
  4. Enter the two words displayed in the Captcha tool
  5. Fill in your registration details including a valid email address and a safe password
  6. Click the REGISTER button
  7. Open your email box
  8. Open the email from the site
  9. Follow the instructions - "To confirm your registration request please click on the following link (or copy and paste it into your browser); otherwise please delete this email."
  10. Log in to the site

Registration is complete

Administrators Instructions

What to do if a user can't log in - check they have been set to active - reset their password and advise them of the change/request change on first access for security

Click here to access detailed up to date instructions and other resources in the Atlas.

Drawing My Map Locations

User Instructions

  1. Log in to the target site
  2. Click on the Admin � Personal Details � My Locations menu option
  3. Select the appropriate tool from the cions on the top of the map
  4. Draw a polygon
    Draw a line
    Draw a point
    Drag a feature
    Select and modify feature
  5. Draw the desired feature
  6. Give the feature a Name that means something to you and enables you to tell your and other locations apart
  7. Save the location

Use My Location

  1. Open a survey to log a sighting
  2. Select your location from the list of locations
  3. Complete the survey and save the sighting

Administrator Instructions for My Location

Check that the "Restrict record locations to this list only" checkbox in the locations screen is not checked.

Click here to access detailed up to date instructions and other resources in the Atlas.

Logging Your Sightings


Surveys are used to log sightings.
Each survey includes a lot of on screen help & instruction explaining what the particualr survey is to be used for.
A detailed set of instructions will be developed explaining the various survey types and available configuration options in due course
This site initially offers two basic options - the ability to log either single or multiple species in a single record, against one of your locations, a point you place on the map or specified survey locations.

Viewing Your Sightings

Two options for reporting on sightings are being developed:

  • Review my Sightings
  • View All records

Currently neither of the two are options are complete and demonstrate only very basic functionality (October 2011).


Loading ALA Species Pages into the BDRS

Click here to access detailed up to date instructions and other resources in the Atlas.