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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
New Data Base of localities within the FMF!
  
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Aug 28, 2014 05:00    Post subject: New Data Base of localities within the FMF!  

Ever since the Forum was set up we have always hoped that one day the FMF would have a feature just like the one we explain below.

It is widely known that it was never our aim to develop the FMF only as a social network, so we have worked within our abilities to help contribute to the growth in the knowledge of mineralogy and to create an as complete and exhaustive as possible list of mineral localities. In creating such a list we have had in our favor a huge advantage, the contributions from many people providing a multitude of data, and in turn, working against us a major problem, in lack of consistency in this data.

In June, 2010 we created the FMF Gallery and from then on we saw that clearly we needed to unify and standardize the names of localities, otherwise all the data that was being added would be relatively useless as it was not indexed properly in neither the FMF nor the FMF Gallery. So since then the administrators have manually been trying to unify the localities, editing images posted by members, but we cannot keep this up forever, especially given that the number of photos being added keeps increasing so the workload keeps going up. On top of that one has to realize that, as it is a manual process, there are inevitable mistakes and errors. On top of that the early photos added to the FMF did not use a detailed criteria and were not reviewed when they were added. So overall, even taking into account the huge effort made, a percentage of the localities are not in a standard format so do not add to the knowledge and information developed.

But from today, after months and months (literally) of effort from our side and thanks also to the efforts of Juan Hernandez who gave us a large database of Spanish localities that he had been developing for his own use, and through the help of the all the administrators of the Spanish version of FMF who have reviewed the Spanish localities and created international ones, we have done it and from now on there is a new field for localities with pull down menus (see the image below) on which the first lets you select the country and then a region and locality in a standard format, as opposed to writing it as you have done in the past. If, after selecting a country and region, in the “Locality” box you start to write part of the locality you are looking for, it will automatically show the possible locality options and you will only see those that match what you have typed above the pull down menu. You can then choose the best one from these remaining options. It is the same system as that used by Google, so we do not think people will find it hard to use and adapt to it, and it will be neat as people will not need to search among all the names in the pull down menu.

If you cannot find the locality you want to use in the pull down list, as it has not been added before, then you can write it in the field as we did in the past, and the administrators can see the new entry, review it and add it to the database so that future entries will find it. We have added a feature that makes sure that you cannot fill in both fields: that of “Locality list” and that of “Locality (if not found in the list) ”, so only one can ever be filled in. If someone does not like the way the locality appears in the list they can write it in a format they prefer, but only in the “Locality (if not found in the list)” field. Do note that for some users it appears that you have to set the country to <blank> before you are allowed to type text into the “Locality (if not found in the list)” field.

As users get used to this new system they will see how useful it is, as it is easy to use, saves time when writing a locality and, looking ahead, will make it really easy to modify a locality as the change will only need to be applied to the database and all relevant entries will then reflect the change.

As one might expect with a new feature, we are sure that there will be things we can improve or modify, and that there will be lots more work to do polishing the currently modest (only 3300 localities from now) database of localities as it will start off incomplete and with some likely ‘faults’. Through everyone’s contributions, hard work from our side, time, and a little bit of patience of everyone we believe that we will be able to develop a future strong list of standard localities that will in turn be a strong complement to the Gallery of images.


Text revised by James Catmur. Thank you James!



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Jordi Fabre
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Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 3913
Location: Barcelona


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PostPosted: Nov 25, 2014 03:13    Post subject: New Data Base of localities within the FMF - An improvement to make things easier!  

Right from when we started our new locality system we noticed that some members did not use it as we hoped. So, concerning localities already existing in the database, frequently they just paste the whole route of the locality that they use into the File Comment box instead to search for it in the FMF drop list.

Every day the administrators spend a lot of time creating and improving the locality database (4000 entries so far) and checking localities that members had incorrectly entered. We think one reason for this short cut approach might be that initially people have to choose the region or province, and that in the case of difficult or foreign localities they may not know or remember the region or province. Given this approach, after lot of hard work, we have changed the system so that members no longer have to always start with the region or province. From now on after to select the Country you can just begin by writing the locality in the
Locality box and the search tool will find it (that is, if it is already in the FMF database) and show it in the pull down list enabling you to select it. We think this will make things much easier, as from now on the use of region/province will be an option, not a requirement, as it is now.

We hope that with this change and with a little more help from members we can further improve the tool and at the same time reduce the workload for administrators and above all for poor Jordi who is going mad with the work load :-)

BTW, do remember that the system has been changed to remember the last locality you entered, so if you change to a new locality you need to remember to erase the old one using the eraser just as we explained in: Database of Localities - Comments & Suggestions

Thanks to everyone for your help


Text revised by James Catmur. Thank you James!


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