-- Jan 1 2010 Posting And Viewing Mile Reports on the Web, in Five Easy Steps
|Webmaster's note: Here's a quick tutorial on how to file a CoastWatch Mile Report online. This page has been adapted from a PDF file written by Lincoln County Coordinator Carl Ehrman. Thanks, Carl!|
This “manual” for posting mile reports directly to the CoastWatch website may look long and forbidding, but that’s only because I wanted to be sure to cover all bases. As you try it for yourselves, I believe you’ll find it to actually be pretty simple. That certainly seems to have been the impression of those who’ve already used it without any help from me.
Step 1 - Getting On The Website And Browsing Reports
Two ways. Go to http://OregonShores.org/mile_reports.php5, which takes you directly to the Reports Browser; or go to http://OregonShores.org/coastwatch.php5, the CoastWatch Home Page and then under “CoastWatch” in the left column click on “Mile Reports Browser”. Either of these gives the screen you can see in Figure 1. When this screen comes up, it shows a listing of all reports received over the current quarter period for all miles from the county or counties highlighted near the top of the screen. These listings include mile number, date of the mile walk, the CoastWatcher’s self-assigned “nickname”, and a brief summary of the observations.
To narrow the display down to a single or just a few counties, click on any county name to toggle between non-selected and selected; the reports list will automatically change to show the reports for the county or counties chosen, with the most recently received report at the top. This indexing by date is the constant default. During any given session you may change it to index on mile number by clicking on the Mile button. The list will now be ordered with the highest mile number on top; change this to go from low to high by clicking again on Mile so that the tiny arrow changes from an upward pointing () to a downward pointing () one; when you do so refreshing takes place automatically.
You are free to scan as many report summaries as you wish, in any one or more counties, and through the current quarter, or all of the current year or past years as selected in the OBSERVATION DATES: line in Fig. 1 below. This particular example shows Lincoln County, for Winter Quarter 2007. As you browse through, using the slider on the right side of the screen, you’ll notice that some of the reports have a numeral in the column under the camera icon, indicating that one or more photographs accompany the report. Viewing these photos, and the full report, is described in Step 2.
Figure 1, Mile Reports Browser
Step 2 - Viewing Report Listings
As you scan through the list of reports, you will see for each one the mile number, the reporter’s self-assigned nickname, date the mile was walked, and all or part of the reporter’s summary. For any report you wish to view in its entirety, merely click anywhere in its Summary field, and you get the full report, as shown here. Pretty much resembles the paper form we’ve all been used and loved since day one.
On scrolling to the bottom of this page, you get all of the Summary, and a button to view a "printer-friendly" version of the report. Also, if any photos had been posted with the report, they will appear here as small images, plus any descriptive material that might have been included. To see a full-screen blowup of any of them, merely click on it, and it will pop up in a new page.
Figure 2 - Report Display
Step 3 - Logging In For Report Submission
The viewing of reports as outlined above may be done by anyone in the public at large who happens upon this website. However, the posting or submitting of a new report can only be done by recognized “member of the Club”. Hence, the “Login” button near the bottom left on Figure 2, which brings you to:
First-Time User: You need to create an identity for yourself. So, in the NEW MEMBER? Section, give yourself a “nickname”. As explained in the illustration above, this is entirely free-form with the only rule being a minimum length of six characters. Some individuals just use their last name, or first initial and last name; others use something that conceals their real identity. The choice is yours. Then, you create a password of your choosing, something deliberately selected to conceal your identity, the same sort of thing (but not the same password) as you’ve probably already dealt with on financially-sensitive websites. Verify the password by entering it a second time, and then click “New User”, and you’ll find yourself back on the “Mile Reports Browser” page.
Subsequent Sessions: Once you’ve established your identity as outlined above, later sessions merely require you to use the ALREADY AN ONLINE MEMBER? section (assuming you remembered your password; you did remember, didn’t you? Better write it down somewhere).
Figure 3, Log In Screen
Step 4 - Submitting A Report
After logging in and finding yourself back on the home page (Fig. 1), click on the File New Report button. This will bring up the first of five pages of report data, as shown here, the “New Report - Observer Validation”. This essentially duplicates the “CoastWatch Information” block at the top of page one of the paper form you’ve been using. At the top of the page is space for the observer’s (i.e., your) name, address, email, etc., and mile number. If this is your first usage of Web posting, all this will be represented as blanks for you to fill in. The next time you log in to post a subsequent report, this information will already be on the form, but you may change it, if, for instance, your address or other information has changed. The rest of this page generally deals with the day and time you walked the mile, and the weather conditions you encountered.
The only other thing that is required, and that the system is fussy about is the date and its format; it is numeric, and to be entered as mm/dd/yyyy. For example, June 19, 2007 goes in as 06/19/2007 or as 6/19/2007. If you fail to enter the date, or if you mistakenly enter an impossible date, such as month #13, or any date in the future, then when you think you’ve finished the page and are ready to move on, you’ll find a nasty little note in flaming red, slapping your hand and telling you to go back and enter a proper date. The remaining entries on this page are for sky and wind conditions, and drop-down selection boxes are offered for choosing from on both of these; and for optional tide height and air temperature.
Once you're finished with Observer Validation page, click on either the number 2 at the bottom of the screen, or on “Next page”. This will bring up page 2, the “Human Activities” page, covering the “Human Activities” part of the printed form (1. Vehicles; 2. People; 3. Activities; and 4. Activities of Possible Concern). Page 3 duplicates the “Natural Observations” block (5. Dead Wildlife and 6. Driftline Content) of the printed form; while Page 4 does the same for the “Physical Changes” block (7. Development Impact, 8. Beach and Shoreline Modifications), and (9. Evidence of Major Bluff Erosion, and 10. Actions, Comments, Observations) block.
Figure 4, First page of Mile Report Form
Finally, Page 5 wraps it all up (Figure 5). The “Report Summary” is what will show in the Summary column of the Home screen, and it is strongly encouraged that all report submitters provide something here (and if you don’t, your County Coordinator will dream something up for you from the other content of your report).
And, last but not least, if you wish to submit one or more photos with the report, hit the "Upload A Photo” button, and you’ll be presented with a screen that asks for a title, a description, the photo’s date, a file location for uploading from your computer, etc. You are also offered the opportunity to copyright the photo if you wish. Repeat for any additional photos you wish to include.
If you are satisfied with this report, then the “Submit” button takes you back to the Home page, with this new report appearing as the top item, tagged “SUB” in the “Status” column, and your summary in that column (you may have to click the Refresh button for this). If you click in the Status block, you’ll see the full report as shown in Figure 2. However, no one but you, your County Coordinator, and Lloyd Maxfield, the Webmaster, can see it (and Lloyd probably won’t peek). Within literally a couple of seconds after you’ve pressed the Submit button, an email message will be generated to the County Coordinator. Then, when he or she receives the email, that individual can view the report in its entirety, possibly weed out a typo here or there, come up with something to put in the Summary box if you’ve left that empty, and finally hit a “Publish” button. From that instant, the report is visible to the world. It can then be altered only by you, and by the County Coordinator, but other than picking out something minor such as a previously missed typo something, probably 99.99% of the time, no further changes will be made.
If you have questions about your mile, or general curiosity about it or any other mile, the “Miles” button on the Home Screen of Figure 1 takes you to a listing of all of them, running down the left column of the page, from Mile 340 ending at the South Jetty of the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park down to Mile 1 at the California Border. Each listing has a brief one-line description of the mile’s location, and on a small-scale map on the right of the screen the mile’s approximate coastal location is shown. And, if you click on a mile, a page with a more-detailed map of that mile appears on the right side of the screen, and a listing of summaries of all reports for that mile, and any photos submitted with those reports.
Finally, I’d greatly appreciate any feedback from you about this writeup. Thank you.
3552 NE Quay — Lincoln City, OR 97367
541-996-7648 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Figure 5, Page Five of Mile Report Form