Topic: More about ALS
To expand on Christine’s comments on the ALS at http://forums.nbn.org.uk/viewtopic.php? … 34#p24934, those of you in the rest of the UK might like to know the following facts about the site http://www.als.scot/, which was launched at the end of May.
Apart from structure and navigation that makes even G5 look transparent, there is a further loss of functionality from G5, and no replacement of the functionality that we had in G4. Try it and see.
The most bizarre features (these were notified to NBN long before the launch, but are still there) you will find in the download file of taxon records.
Of the 41 fields, no fewer than 5 tell you what species is involved (2 vernacular, 3 scientific); just in case you did not know how a binomial was constructed, another field tells you the Genus; 12 fields are of no relevance to the ordinary user.
If you were hoping to use the OSGR, you had better have a convertor program handy, because although all the records (in the example I am looking at) were uploaded as OSGR, ALS provides only lat-long coordinates. Where did these come from? Converted from the original OSGRs, of course!
If you are one of these eccentric individuals who likes to judge the robustness of a record from the name of the determiner, ALS is not for you. Even for sets where that field is available to all users, it is not downloaded.
You can see both OSGR and determiner, one record at a time, on the site itself, however, so if you really want them, you can always spend hours copying and pasting into the download file. I would find it difficult to believe that editing the export routine to include these fields in the download, and deleting all the irrelevant ones, would take more than a few minutes.
This early warning to the rest of the UK might encourage our non-Scottish colleagues to shout loudly so that these glaring faults (and the rest) are removed before any more atlases are launched. I wish you better luck than we have had N of the border.
As Christine wrote: "We are really not very interested in the glitzy Living Atlas platform, all we want is a simple interactive system that gives us access to the information we need. We keep asking, you tell us you're listening, but we seem to be speaking different languages".