Importing Data from other applications

I’m currently refining and extending an import routine that I wrote for one of the volunteer testers to allow the import of several years worth of data from an RSPB piece of software that is no longer maintained, with the intention of making it a fully flexible import routine to take data in either comma separated values (CSV) or tab-delimited text format.

You specify the source file and the Nature Recorder database that you want to import into and then (hopefully) you get a screen a bit like this :

Import

Once the data is loaded into the grid you are prompted to select the column in the grid corresponding to common name, scientific name, location and count (at least one of common or scientific name, plus location are needed, the others are optional), and an example of the data in each column is shown to confirm.

The main challenge is in mapping species names to ensure there is a match and for this purpose it compares “common names” and “scientific names” where available from the exported data with the names in the database that you’re importing into, and if there is a match on either name then that is used. If there is no match then currently it will flag up the fact that there’s no match and that the record won’t be imported. I will probably extend it to allow you to select the species you think it should match with in due course but its a low priority right now.

I would be interested in getting hold of a wide range of samples, so if you have any data in other software packages, or indeed spreadsheets that you manage manuallyand you would like me to test out importing the records and giving you an updated database please let me know.

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