Sunday, May 17, 2015

Scythebill 12.2: checklist questions, lifer map, and more

Scythebill 12.2 is now available!  This release has a variety of smaller features, and some important bug fixes.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Google+Facebook, or by email.  The news this time includes:
  • A quick and simple way to answer more checklist questions
  • An interactive map of country-by-country lifers around the world
  • Geographic cleanup of offshore islands for many countries, with a lot more "magic" locations to track full country lists.
  • Lots more checklist corrections and new checklists - all of the Americas are done!

Answer more checklist questions

The Scythebill checklists have made it easy to find out what lifers you can see in hundreds of areas of the world.  And you can always find out what would be new for your list right there - what Indian species would be new for your Indian list, for example.  But they haven't let you answer questions like:
  • What species in a US state would be new for an ABA list?
  • What rarities of the Canary Islands would be new for your Western Palearctic list?
  • What Australian birds would be new for your year list?
All these questions are easy to answer now!

Start with Browse by location, then:
  1. Find the checklist you want to examine.
  2. Change "Show everything" to New for a custom report...
  3. In the window, choose the report for which you'd like to find new species.  So if you wanted to find checklist entries that would be new for the Western Palearctic, choose "Location" "is in" "Western Palearctic", and click OK.
  4. That's it!  You'll now have a list of species that would be new for that report.
If you'd like to exclude rarities, just check the new Hide rarities? option.

Thanks to Jochen B. for the feature idea.

Interactive lifer maps

Scythebill's new Map of world lifers... menu item (in the File menu) brings up a map of the world with each country color-coded for how many lifers are waiting for you there.  Here's my map:

You can also zoom into a specific region of the world with a small menu in the upper left:

Geographic cleanup

Many countries around the world have offshore states or territories that do not fit into ordinary geographic bounds.  For example, the US state of Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean, not North America, so that needs to be separated to keep our "North America" lists in proper form.  I've cleaned this up for a number of other countries:
  • Australia has "lost" a number of offshore territories.  The Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Coral Sea Islands have independent entries.  (Norfolk and Macquarie Islands already had their own entries.)
  • The Colombian department of "San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina" has been moved to the West Indies.
  • South Africa's "Prince Edward and Marion Islands" have their own entry in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Netherlands Antilles have been divided in two.  The West Indies portion comprises  Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.  The South American portion includes Bonaire and Curaçao.  (Aruba left the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, and is its own country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
  • Spain's "exclaves" of Ceuta and Melilla have been moved moved into Africa.
All of this is more geographically accurate, to be sure, but it made calculating a full country list much harder.  To fix this, I've added a slew of "magic" locations:
  • Australia (with dependent territories)
  • Chile (with offshore islands)
  • China (with administrative regions)
  • Colombia (with Caribbean islands)
  • United Kingdom (with dependent territories)
  • United States (with dependent territories)
  • Ecuador (with Galapagos)
  • France (with Overseas Territories)
  • New Zealand (with Tokelau)
  • Portugal (with Azores and Madeira)
  • Spain (with Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla)
  • Norway (with Bouvet Island and Svalbard)
  • Finland (with Åland Islands)
  • Kingdom of Denmark
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • South Africa (with Prince Edward and Marion Islands)
You can find the full definition of each of these in the online manual.

Checklist improvements

Lots of checklists have been cleaned up in this release.  In particular, I've finished manually verifying and setting rarity status checklists for all of North America (including Central America and the West Indies), making this the third completed continent (after South America and Africa);  this required corrections to:
  • All of the Canadian provinces and territories
  • Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, and Greenland
(Whenever I tackle this, I tend to find some humorous mistakes.  This time the winner came from the El Salvador checklist, which was missing Great Blue Heron - and instead had Great-billed Heron, which would be an impressive range extension from southeast Asia!)

I've also reconciled the checklists (setting "rarity" status and adding/removing species as needed) for:
  • Portugal (removing birds recorded only on the Azores or Madeira)
  • Spain (removing birds found only recorded from the Canary Islands or Ceuta and Melilla)
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Greece
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Socotra Island
  • Seychelles
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • Faroe Islands
  • Madeira
  • Azores
And there are brand new checklists for:
  • Heard Island and MacDonald Islands
  • Macquarie Island
  • Easter Island
  • Juan Fernandez Island (and its endemics removed from Chile)
  • Curaçao
  • Bonaire
  • Niue
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Saint Pierre et Miquelon
  • Coral Sea Islands
  • Ashmore and Cartier Islands
There's additional, smaller fixes in southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Costa Rica, and Peru.

Fixed bugs

I've fixed a couple of problems with the photos code added in the last release.
  1. If a photo was moved or deleted, and Scythebill couldn't find it, you'd get an unfriendly error message.  Now, you can relocate the photo and fix the problem.
  2. Under some circumstances, Scythebill might not save added photos.

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