[Coral-List] Use of iDive housing / iPad for underwater data collection

Thomas Roberts thomas.roberts at my.jcu.edu.au
Mon Oct 19 19:13:09 EDT 2015

Hi Dominique,

For my work I do extensive benthic surveys for reef building corals, and have adopted the iDive to overcome the issues associated with manually recorded surveys. I wanted to make the data entry faster and more reliable, the data transfer fast, and to remove errors in transfer and recording. So, I can give you a brief answer to those questions:

1: So far (60+ hours underwater in use) I have had no issues, despite being treated the same as any other piece of field gear. I run mine on the low pressure inflator hose, so have no problems with pressurising it at any depth. The outer edges of the screen can be a little hard to utilise, as the external screen sits up above the actual screen. My data entry is now faster, with no errors, and data transfer is instant on backup once i’m out of the water. In my experience, its extremely useful for this sort of thing.

2: The data entry app is the most important thing. I used FileMaker Pro to create a database, and data entry program specifically for my work. This means i can change everything to fit the characteristics of the housing (like poor use of the edges), my data entry style, and the precise items being recorded. This backs up to my online database, and can be exported in any format (.csv, .xlsx, .txt, etc). Within this I can do things like provide pre-set species lists (no spelling issues), with drop downs for suggesting species of each genera selected. Every datapoint also has a time and date stamp automatically embedded, an example of how you can increase your data resolution using an iPad.

Using programs like FileMaker, you can build data entry and storage databases for literally any purpose, and customise them to exactly what you want.

I’ve had a fair bit of time working with this set up now, and i’m happy to chat to you, or anyone else, interested in this sort of thing.


(thomas.roberts at my.jcu.edu.au<mailto:thomas.roberts at my.jcu.edu.au>)

T. Edward Roberts | PhD Candidate
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Room 115, Building 32 (Sir George Fisher Building)
James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 Australia

P: +61 07 4781 4829
P: +61 0401 901 264

E: thomas.roberts at jcu.edu.au<mailto:rosemarie.vasiljuk at jcu.edu.au>
W: http://www.coralcoe.org.au/

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