Monday, December 24, 2012

Coming soon - IOC checklist support

It's been a few months since the last release of Scythebill, and even longer since the last significant features were added.  While I've mostly been busy with my day job, I've also been adding a long-desired feature - support for the International Ornithologist Union's world list!

It would've been simple enough to let you choose up front which list you want to use, but Scythebill goes much further.  You'll be able to switch, at any time, between the two taxonomies, and everything you've entered - species, subspecies, or Clements groups - will automatically be mapped to the new taxonomy.

Before I could even think about supporting this, I had to add support for yet another new feature of Scythebill - "sp." and hybrid data entry.  So those silent empids I see so often in migration through coastal California can now properly be entered as "Pacific-slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher", and Western x Glaucous-winged Gulls sightings can now be saved - and reported to eBird.

With "sp." support, I can now automatically convert Clements entries to IOC form:

  • Western Scrub-Jay becomes California/Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay
  • Azure-winged Magpie becomes Azure-winged/Iberian Magpie
  • Shrike-like Cotinga becomes Brazilian/Andean Laniisoma

... though if you've allocated your Clements sightings to groups or subspecies, you'll typically get a precise mapping.

Getting the IOC data set properly mapped has required a lot of coding and a lot of manual data massaging - in particular, I've found a decent number of errors in the Clements subspecies lists.  More on that later!