Identification Software

Adolf Ceska aceska at FREENET.VICTORIA.BC.CA
Sun Mar 19 18:09:22 CST 1995

> From: stephen gough <sgough at S850.MWC.EDU>
> To supplement traditional methods of identifying vascular plants (mostly
> trees and shrubs) in a Plant Ecology course, I would like to construct a
> software-based system for common items. I don't need the rigor of a
> DELTA-based system; rather I would like something that uses simple
> descriptive characteristics (perhaps a list of characteristics up front) and
> then determines one or more possible "hits," with the option to view line
> art or photographs on screen. Does anyone know what software I might use to
> construct something like this? It should be PC-compatible, and operation
> under Windows would be nice.

I can see that the main stumbling block in the use of DELTA programs is
the preparation of input files (CHARS, ITEMS, SPECS, etc.). To prepare
these files is a painful process, almost as complicated as solving the
RUBIK CUBE. If you make a small change in CHARS file (add or delete a
character), you have to make endless changes in the ITEMS file and other

If you are interested in an interactive identification program, I would
recommend using XID system developed and distributed by

   XID Services, Inc.
   Post Office Box 272
   Pullman, WA 99163
   Phone/Fax: 509-332-2989

XID system has an extremely user-friendly "menus" for entering,
changing, and editing characters and items. You can enter the data in a
fraction of time it would take you to create CHARS, ITEMS, SPECS etc.
I have not had chance to compare performance of XID and INTKEY, but
I don't think one will be significantly better than the other.

One thing DELTA definitively needs is an easier method of how to enter
taxonomical data. XID input method proved that it can be done. Can DELTA
people approach the XID Services, and ask them to provide an interface
between XID input and DELTA input? Both XID and DELTA would benefit from
such a marriage.

Adolf Ceska
aceska at  OR
aceska at RBML01.RBCM.GOV.BC.CA

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