ECOLOG Database Management System

maurobio at IBASE.BR maurobio at IBASE.BR
Thu Mar 4 00:13:02 CST 1993


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___________Database Management System for Ecological Field Surveys___________

System Overview

      ECOLOG is a relational database management system for use in
IBM-PC compatible microcomputers, aimed at the storage, retrieval
and preliminary analysis of data on sites, species, and specimens
gathered in ecological field surveys and biodiversity inventories.
All these data can be cross-indexed to each other, so that it is
possible, for example, to list all specimens of species "X" with a
length "L" collected at site "Y" by collector "Z" at date "W".

System Features

      - Easy of use by people with no technical knowledge or previous
experience in computing; includes browse windows for input, edit and
query data, an interactive menu system, and on-line help;

      - Relational capacity, which ensures that changes to one species
record are automatically applied to all relevant specimen records, thus
avoiding time-consuming and error-prone typing, and optimizing the use
of the available disk space;

      - Complete validation of data done on input through search of
lookup tables, which avoid errors and ensure the integrity of data stored
by the system; during data input or retrieval, the user need only select
the desired items from ready-made lists;

      - Generation of species lists and reports in multiple formats
(including checklists and collecting labels), with optional output to video,
printer or text files and interactive filter definition for the selection
of the records to be included in each report; each data field or combination
of data fields of sites, species or specimens can be used as criteria for
record retrieval;

      - Production of database statistics, including counts of species per
group/family/genus, with percents, counts of individuals per species,
also with percents, and several diversity indices for one or more filtered
sites; these statistics can then be used to produce simple bar graphs;

      - Creation and maintenance of any number of independent databases
in the same computer; the ECOLOG software is written in Clipper, version
Summer '87, from Nantucket Corporation, with some built-in low-level
functions in C and Assembler, being able to read and write fully standard
dBase files (.DBF);

      - Includes a separate utility for exporting data in ASCII format
for input to the FITOPAC ecological data analysis system, developed by
Dr. George J. Shepherd (Departamento de Botanica, IB/UNICAMP, CP. 6109,
13081, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brasil, e-mail: george at or
george at

System Uses

- Faunistic or floristic surveys

- Conservation inventories

- Environmental impact assessments

- Phytosociological studies

- Natural resources management

System Requirements

- IBM-PC compatible microcomputer (XT,AT, etc.), with hard disk

- minimum of 512K RAM

- color or monochrome monitor, with CGA, EGA or VGA graphics adapter

- Epson compatible dot matrix printer, with 80 or 132 columns

- MS-DOS operating system, version 3.1 or higher

System Development

The ECOLOG database system has been developed over the last three years
with previous financial support of the Brazilian National Research Council
and the American John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is currently
in use by two projects at Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (JBRJ/IBAMA), one
at Rio de Janeiro State Foundation for Environmental Engineering (FEEMA) and
one at Santa Ursula University (USU).

Further enhancements to the system include: (i) support for a multi-user
environment, allowing the system to be run on local area networks compatible
with Novell and IBM LAN; (ii) development of an independent program to plot
specimen distribution maps from data stored in ECOLOG databases; and (iii)
export of data for the ALICE biological checklist and species diversity
database system, developed by Dr. Robert Allkin (Computing Section,
Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, England,
e-mail: BTGOLD 81:bio023).

System Availability

Cost of the system is US$ 50.00 (plus 5.00 S&H), for a single user license;
a 10-user site license is available by US$ 100.00 (plus 5.00 S&H). Both
licenses include unlimited user support, by phone or e-mail. At present,
I receive no financial support for the continued development and
distribution of ECOLOG. Developing, maintaining, and supporting
reliable, user-friendly software is expensive, and research funding agencies
rarely support long term software development; on the other hand, large
public or private institutions are more concerned with their in-house needs
than those of individual research scientists. So the license fees are
presently my only source of support. I need funds, for example,
to cover the costs of e-mail and telephone line, to buy some more computer
equipment and software libraries for improving the system.

For the time being, the ECOLOG system and user manual are available only in
Portuguese, but an English version of the software is under completion; an
English version of the manual is yet to be prepared and will be available
as soon as possible. The completion of the English versions of both the
software and the user manual will be announced via TAXACOM and ECOLOG-L.

For additional information, contact me at the address below.

                                            Thank you for your interest.

Mauro J. Cavalcanti                             e-mail: maurobio at
Informatics & Environment Consulting                      maurobio at
R. Aquidaba, 805, C29
Lins, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
20720-291, BRASIL
Phone: (021) 594-4745

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