information about RESEARCH INTERFACE

Gary Noonan carabid at MPM1.MPM.EDU
Tue Oct 3 14:46:38 CDT 1995

        Below is the information about the RESEARCH INTERFACE. Sorry if
you've seen it
        I couldn't find the E-mail version of the original program
announcement and had to convert an old ASCII file and lost paragraphs in the
process. I created new paragraphs but may have put some in the wrong places.
This message gives more detailed information about the RESEARCH INTERFACE.

The RESEARCH INTERFACE is a stand-alone IBM compatible DOS program written
to:(1) speed up the recording of research specimen data; (2) help the
checking of research specimen data for accuracy; (3) produce specimen
databases suitable for use in GIS type software; (4) and to help the
analysis of systematics research data.
        The most current version is 1.8a, released March 1995. The current version
includes several features not in the earlier version put on other FTP
servers. The most notable new features are: printer drivers for several
hundred printers; the ability to browse a database of populated places in
the United States, with each record listing latitude and longitude for each
such place and various other data; latitude and longitude fields that are 19
digits long for the whole portion of these data; and GIS files that include
the new fields of olat and olong. The 19 digit latitude and longitude fields
are because the Windows version of Atlas GIS converts the data in these
fields into units used by the current map projection and needs 19 digits.
The olat and olong fields retain the old latitude and longitude values and
are useful for examining while using GIS software. The current version also
fixes a bug in the county databases.
        The material below is about the program and is organized into the following
sections:-- with long lines of asterisks separating the secretions.
        1. Directions for obtaining free copies of the program and manual via FTP
and for installing it.
        2. Background information about how the program came to be and the
rationale behind writing it.
        3. Major features of the program.
        4. Introductory section from program manual--giving more information about
program features.
        5. Plans for enhancing the program.
        6. Hardware requirements. Please feel free to contact me via E-mail with
suggestions for program enhancements or for questions.
Gary Noonan, Curator of Insects Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 USA and Adjunct Associate Professor of Zoology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee carabid at voice (414)
278-2762 fax (414) 223-1396

************************************************************ 1. Obtaining
the program via FTP
        The Research Interface program and U.S. latitude and longitude database are
available via FTP from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee FTP site The files are in a directory pub/carabid/ResInt/program.
Access the FTP site as an anonymous user. Be sure FTP is in binary mode
before getting the files. To install the program make sure you have all its
files: install.bat pkunzip.exe
readme.1st small.bat
        The manual for the program is supplied currently in the following files and
formats: doc60w.wpd The WordPerfect for Windows 6.0a format in which the
manual was written. docw51.doc The WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS version of the
manual. If you decide to print this document, check the table of contents to
be sure that page numbers are accurate. docami3.sam AmiPro 3.0. I don't know
how this will look because I don't have this program and had WordPerfect
6.0a export to this format. docww2.doc Microsoft Word for Windows 2.0c. Same
comments as for AmiPro format. ascii.doc Ascii format. If you print this
from DOS you will have to number pages. The table of contents doesn't have
page numbers because it is impossible to know what they should be.
        Installing the RESEARCH INTERFACE Change to the root directory by typing
<cd\> + <Enter>. Create the RESEARCH directory by typing <md research> +
<Enter>. Change to the RESEARCH directory by typing <cd\ research> + <Enter>.
        FULL OR PARTIAL INSTALLATION You may make a full installation which
requires approximately 45 megabytes of hard disk space after installation.
This option installs the places database which contains latitude and
longitude for populated places in the United States. The full installation
allows checking of latitude and longitude for U.S. populated places,
automatic insertion of degree data into your research records and browsing
of the places database. The option of a partial installation does not
install the places database. The partial installation allows you to use all
other features of the program than those associated with the places
database. A partial installation requires only approximately 7 megabytes. If
you are working with foreign insects exclusively or lack adequate disk
space, you may wish to make a partial installation. Copy the files from
Internet into the RESEARCH directory and then type "install" and the <Enter>
for a full installation or type "small" and the <Enter> for a partial
installation. The installation program will make a subdirectory called GIS
to hold files created for GIS software will make an export subdirectory to
hold exported files, will make an import subdirectory to hold files to be
imported and will install the program for you. The full installation program
will unzip all files while the partial installation will unzip all but the
places database. During a full installation the install batch file will
first unzip files and then issue a command which starts a small program that
builds an index for the large places database. The program will show a small
window in which somewhat cryptic information appears about index building.
This window is provided so that you won't think nothing is happening while
the index is being built. Depending on the speed of your computer and
memory, building the index may take 15 minutes to an hour or more. Your next
step should be to print a copy of the manual and then follow its directions
for starting the program.

 2. Background information about development of program and its rationale.
        Approximately two years ago I decided to use GIS type programs in making
geographical distribution maps and in analyzing geographical relationships
of carabid beetles on which I am doing monographs. This meant that I needed
an easy way for determining latitude and longitude for specimens borrowed
from other museums. I also decided that I needed a program that would speed
the entry of geographical and character state value by research assistants
and which would at least partially automatically check their data entries.
        Over time I wrote and kept augmenting a program. Once the initial goals
were met I began to add various features for further speeding data entry and
for analyzing data. The major current features of the program are listed
below. I will be happy to have the program distributed to people who think
it may be of use. For want of a more catchy name, the program is called the
        Once I have received comments from colleagues, I'll seek funds for further
program development. An important such development will be the production of
CD-ROM disks containing latitude and longitude and other data for all
countries of the world. The program will be modified so that batch checking
(see below for information about checking) can be done to obtain latitude
and longitude for records in research databases. If development funds are
obtained, the program will be greatly enhanced as noted below and
distributed at no cost or at very low cost of CD-ROM media.
        BASIC PHILOSOPHY Systematists should not have to become expert in running a
general database program to speed the recording of research data and
production of data files suitable for import into GIS type software. They
should also not have to waste time examining database records and manually
producing a list of specimens examined. Instead the systematist should be
able to select menu choices to perform these and other operations.
        The program includes a detailed manual. The files are zipped with the
latest version of PKWARE. The files can include the PKWARE program for
unzipping files because I have a PKWARE distribution license. The files when
zipped require approximately 6 megabytes of space. The single largest zipped
file is 2.7 megabytes. I can distribute the program by disk but don't want
to sit by the computer and copy disk after disk. If people want the program
by disk, I'll have to calculate a small charge to hire someone to copy
disks, mail disks, and to cover cost of postage and handling. I can be
reached at the Internet address of carabid at or by snail mail at:
Gary Noonan, Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 West Wells Street, Milwaukee
Wisconsin 53233. telephone 414 278-2762

3. Major features of program.
        Automatic insertion of latitude and longitude into current record for
records containing a populated place in the United States. The program will
also insert missing geographical data in many instances. For example, if you
enter "Washington " in the state field and "Seattle " in the reference point
or locality field, the program will insert the latitude and longitude into
the current record. It will also insert "King " into the county field, and
if there is a known elevation for Seattle will also insert that into the
current record. These actions are done when the user elects to check the
data in the current record.
        Automatic calculation of total number of specimens. When the user elects to
check data the program also adds the number of males and females and inserts
the resulting number into the field for total number of specimens from a
given locality.
        Checking of geographical data. When the user elects to check a record, the
program also checks spelling of certain geographical data for United States
localities. (Future program versions will check spelling for other countries.)
        Automatic checking of entry of geographical data. A common typing error is
to accidentally press the space-bar before typing in the name of a
geographical locality.--at least my typists do this. When the typist moves
to another field or another record, the program automatically removes the
initial space. The current version of the program also capitalizes the first
letter of the first word in certain geographical fields. (Future program
versions will allow user to turn off the capitalization feature.) For
example, if the typist enters " seattle", the program will convert this to
        DATA SCREENS The program contains a set of 5 data screens for recording as
much or as little information about specimens as the user desires. Movement
between screens is by pressing the Page-Up or Page-Down keys. The screens
have fields for:
        Species. This field records the species name (or any temporary name
selected by user for a morph).
        Fields for entry date of record and for typist. These fields are helpful in
tracking down problems in data entry.
        Specimen number field and site number field. Storage unit number field.
Assigning a number to a storage unit and recording such number makes it easy
to locate specimens.
        Three tag boxes. The user can check 1 or more of these boxes to tag a
record for later retrieval, printing etc.
        Data Checked Box. The program automatically checks this box after the user
has the program check the data.
        Marked for Deletion Box. The user can check this box and can (from the Main
Menu) delete all marked records.
        Geographical data--several fields (country, state or province, county or
other political area, forest or park, reference point, distance in
kilometers from reference point, local point [particular place or spot at
reference point], elevation in feet, elevation in meters, latitude and
longitude [in decimal form because such form works best with GIS software]).
        Faunal faunal field, with popup of faunal regions. User can modify the
regions listed in popup.
        Field for source of latitude and longitude data. This field is a column of
various data sources with parentheses by each data source. The user checks
the appropriate parentheses and thereby provides information about the
accuracy of the data.
        Fields for numbers of specimens: number of males, females, unsexed
specimens, immature males, immature females, unsexed immatures, total
        Field for museum and field for museum codon. Entry into the museum field
activates a popup. Selection of a museum from the popup results in the
program entering the museum name and codon into the appropriate fields. The
user can modify the museums and codens presented in the popup and thus
create a popup for his / her area of systematics.
        Fields for capture dates. There are two sets of fields in case the
specimens were taken from a trap and the user wants to give the range of
dates. For specimens collected on a given date, the user simply enters the
date into the first set of date fields.
        Collector (s) field.
        Label data field. This field allows the user to enter miscellaneous label
        Ecology field. The user can enter detailed ecology data.
        Notes field. The user can enter notes about the current record.
        Biotype field. This is for recording data such as biome or plant community.
A related field contains modifying terms for the biotype. Future program
versions will allow the user to customize these fields.
        Fields for character state data. There are 20 numeric fields in which the
user can record numeric states of characters for specimens being entered in
a record. The user can define labels for each of the 20 fields for each
species. In other words, the character state labels can be different for
different species or can all the the same for a given field. These fields
are useful when using GIS software. For example, one might label the first
field as "Sclerotized ligula on internal sack of internal sack" and assign
numbers to various character states. The user can then have GIS software
display different symbols for sites with specimens having different
character states. While the 20 fields were originally conceived for
character state data, the user can label them for other uses and assign
numeric values accordingly.

visible when adding or editing records. Features include:
        Add. Add a new record.
        Menu choices for viewing previous record, next record, first or last record.
        Print current record. Automatic entry into new records of user selected
data. The user can elect to have the program automatically enter into new
records data such as country name, state, county, museum etc. This speeds
the entry of partially similar records.
        Choices for searching for particular records. Future versions of the
program will contain additional choices allowing the user to easily build a
customized search statement.
        Order. The program has numerous choices for selecting the order in which
records are displayed.
        Filter. The user can decide to view only those records meeting selected
        Calendar / Diary. This feature allows the recording of notes and
association of such notes with a particular day.
        Calculator. This operates similar to a hand held calculator.
        Convert regular degrees into decimals. Selection of this feature results in
the program presenting a conversion screen. The user enters the latitude and
longitude and directions (N,S,E,W). Choices are to convert to decimals and
show results in conversion screen, cancel conversion, or convert to decimals
and insert into current database record.
        Change species name automatically entered into new records.
        Convert miles to kilometers. The program presents a conversion screen. One
choice is to do the conversion and have the program insert the number of
kilometers and the km abbreviation into the distance field of the current
database record.
        Convert GPS degrees into fully decimal degrees. Many GPS units provide
partially decimal degrees, giving degrees and minutes and decimal
subdivisions of minutes. The program can convert and insert converted values
into latitude and longitude fields.
        Convert U.S. topographic map distances into decimal degrees. On certain
types of topographic maps the user can measure distance from nearest degree
line, enter distance and direction into conversion screen and have program
calculate decimal latitude and longitude and insert into appropriate fields.
An algorithm takes into account the change in spacing between degree lines
as one moves northward or southward. Copy, cut and paste data from field to
        Undo and redo actions. Insert foreign characters. The program can insert
many foreign characters and will sort correctly on such characters.
Automatic pop- ups. When the user enters various fields, the program
presents a popup of choices. The user can select a choice and have the
program enter that into the field or can enter a choice not in the popup.
The user can modify pop-ups from the MAIN MENU.

        The MAIN MENU is the first menu in the program. The user can easily return
to this menu. Features include:
        Analysis of data. This choice produces a submenu.
        View or edit text files created by the program.
        Generate lists of records by elevation.
        Generate report listing for each species the numbers of males, females,
unsexed specimens, immature males, immature females and unsexed immatures.
The report presents these numbers for each species by month and also
presents for each month the sex ratio of captures. The report also gives the
total numbers of the above statistics for each species (totaling the results
for all months and for records without month entry).
        Generate restricted reports. The program produces reports for subsets of
records. Reports for ecological data, for records with data in notes or
label data fields.
        Check numeric data. The program checks numeric data in records and lists
those records with problems.
        List specimens examined. The program scans the entire current database and
produces an ASCII text file that can be imported into a word processing
        List unique sites in database.
        Analyze shared sites. The program can produce a written report or an ASCII
file that either lists all sites and their species or that merely provides
summary statistics on the numbers and percentages of sites with one species,
more than one species (any number of species above one) and sites with 2 or
3 etc. species collected at them. This can be useful in examining sympatry.
        Produce reports listing the number of species per country, state or faunal
        Utilities. Selection of this choice produces a submenu for obtaining
information about memory use by the program or modifying the various popup
lists used by the program.
        DATABASE. This selection provides choices for: changing to another
database; removing all deletion marks from records; deleting records marked
for deletion; creating new databases; reindexing databases; searching the
places database; and creating files for import into GIS programs. The
creation of GIS data files allows the choice of creating a separate data
file for each species or a single file for all the species.

user to search the places database which contains records for 124, 444
populated places in the United States.

        4. Introductory section from program manual. Purpose of program. The
purposes of the RESEARCH INTERFACE are: (1) to speed the recording of
geographical data about research specimens; (2) to improve the accuracy of
such recording; (3) to provide tools for analyzing research data; and (4) to
produce files suitable for import into GIS (geographical information
systems) software. Conventions in identifying keys to be pressed. In this
overview and in the manual keys to be pressed are surrounded by angles (<
>). For example, <Enter> means press the Enter key. The combination <Ctrl> +
<a> means the user should hold down the Control key and press the letter "a"
        Getting started. For a quick overview, do the following. Change to the
directory containing the RESEARCH INTERFACE. Type < RESEARCH> and press the
Enter key. Select any typist from the list that appears. Select the database
"DEMO" from the list of databases. Pick any species from the list of species
the program presents. These steps will take you to the main menu.
        The top choices in menus may be selected by clicking on them with a mouse
or holding down the Alt key and pressing the hot key which is in a
highlighted color.
        Program check of locality data. Select the choice of Add (<Alt> + <a>).
This adds a new record to the database and presents you with the first of 5
data screens for that record. Put the cursor in the country field (by
clicking on that field with the mouse or using the <Tab> to move forward and
the <Shift> + <Tab> key to move backward a field). The program will present
a Pop-up list of countries. Press the letter "U" to move to countries being
with that letter. Double click on "United States" with the mouse or move to
that entry with the arrow key and press the Enter key. The program will
insert "United States" into the country field. Move to the state field.
Select "Washington" from the Pop-up of states by double clicking on it with
the mouse or moving to it with the arrow keys and pressing <Enter> when
"Washington" is highlighted. Move to the reference point field and type in
"Seattle". Press <Page-down> to move to the second data screen. Enter the
number 5 in the field for numbers of males and the number 44 for number of
females. Press the <Page-up> to return to the first data screen.
        Select the CHECK choice from the top menu. This choice produces a submenu.
Choose the "Check all" choice. The program will search an electronic
database of populated places in the United States and will automatically
insert the county, latitude and longitude for Seattle. The latitude and
longitude are in the decimal form required for GIS software. Press
<Page-down> key for the second data screen. Note that the program has
totaled the number of specimens. The program presently can only insert data
for populated places in the United States. Future versions will handle data
about all known place names (mountains, springs, valleys, towns, lakes etc.)
for the United States and other countries. Future versions will also be able
to calculate latitude and longitude based on user specified distances from
place names.
        Use of Pop-ups prevents the misspelling of geographical terms.
        The program has various other features for preventing misspelling. For
example, two common typing errors are to type a space before the first word
in a field or to fail to capitalize the first letter of a geographic name.
Move to the reference point field. Delete the data there by pressing the key
combination of <Ctrl> + <a> to select all data in the field. Press <Delete>
key. The field should now be empty. Type several spaces at the start of the
field and then type the reference point of "seattle". Now move to another
field. Note that the program automatically removes the leading spaces and
capitalizes "Seattle".
        Below are some other suggested actions for demonstrating program features.
        Speeding the entry of records with partially similar data. The user can
have the program automatically insert repetitious data into new records. To
illustrate this choice, first enter some data in the fields for COUNTRY,
STATE, COUNTY and REFERENCE POINT. The "Set" choice of the top menu allows
the user specify which values to automatically enter. Select this choice by
using the mouse or pressing <Alt> + <s>. The resulting submenu allows you to
have the program take values from the current record or from a screen for
recording desired values to have repeat.
        Select the choice of "Take sets from current record". Add a new record by
clicking on the "Add" choice of the menu or by pressing <Alt> + <d>. Note
that the new record has the geographical information you entered in the
previous one.
        Finding already entered records. Select "Find" from the top menu. From the
first submenu select "Seek". Pick "By data other than species" from the
resulting submenu and then select "Reference point" from the next submenu. A
screen will appear for you to enter the desired reference point. Type in
"Milwaukee" and select the choice below for seeking records with that
reference point. The program will find the first record for Milwaukee and
will put records into order by reference point.
        Analysis of data. Most analysis features remain to be entered and will be
incorporated into future versions of the program. However, the program
currently includes a routine for building files listing specimens examined,
generating reports about sites with more than 1 species collected at them
        [This introductory section is somewhat outdated, there now are more
analysis features.]
        If you are in the edit menu, go to the MAIN MENU by clicking on "Main Menu"
or by pressing <Alt> + <m>. Once at the MAIN MENU click on "Analysis" with
the mouse or press <Alt> + <n>. Select the choice of building lists for all
records in the species database. You will then see a submenu with 10
choices. Only the first choice is currently enabled. This choice will build
a file containing a list of specimens and associated geographical and other
data. The RESEARCH INTERFACE will search the database and combine records
with identical geographical information and total specimens as appropriate
to produce a list suitable for import into a word processing program.
        Because the ASCII values of male and female symbols also represent values
associated with control items, files containing these symbols will not
import properly into most word processing programs. The RESEARCH INTERFACE
therefore uses symbols that can be imported into word processing programs
and easily converted into the symbols. (Use replace feature in word
processing program to convert "m*" into 1 male symbol, "mm*" into double
male symbols, "f*" into 1 female symbol and "ff*" into double female symbols.)
        The resulting file follows a format that takes account of changes in
geographical information and month of collection. If funds are obtained for
further developing the program, many other formats will be added, including
ones that take account of other fields such as day, year, compound
collecting dates spanning an interval of time, museum and collector.
        To produce a list of specimens examined select Format 1. The program will
ask you for the name of the desired output file, will check to be sure such
name is not already used for another file and will create a file based on
records in database. A "thermometer" will show progress in constructing the
        You can view the resulting file by selecting the "View/edit text files"
option of the "Analysis" menu. The program will present you with a list of
text files (those with a ".txt" extension) in the directory containing the
program. Use the mouse or arrow keys to highlight the desired file and then
press <ENTER> twice or use the mouse to click on the "Open file" bar. The
file will be displayed in a window whose position and size can be changed as
desired. To bring the window to maximum size, click on the small yellow
colored rectangle in the upper right hand corner of the window's border.
Clicking again on the rectangle again will make the window smaller. If you
click on the small yellow colored dot in the lower right hand corner of the
window's border and hold down the mouse button and move the mouse, you can
change the window size. To move the window, click on the top border, hold
down the mouse button and move the mouse. The window can be reduced to a
single bar with the file name by double clicking on the window's top border;
double clicking on the border will reopen the window. To close the window,
click on the small yellow rectangle in the upper left hand border edge. If
the file contents don't fit on a single page, you can scroll upper or
downward by using the upward and downward pointing arrows along the right
edge of the window. To use these arrows, click on one of them and hold down
the mouse key until the desired text is displayed. You can also use the
keyboard up and down arrows to cause text to scroll up or down. The program
also includes a feature for examining the sharing of collecting sites by
different species.--This recently added item is described above under features.

        1. Develop CD-ROM disks containing latitude, longitude and other data for
populated places and feature names of other countries. Make slight
modifications to program so that user can browse such disks and so that the
program can batch check records or separately check them (as at present).
The source of data for the CD-ROM disks will be from the already published
CD-ROM disk with approximately 2.2 million feature names for the United
States and a set of CD-ROM disks that will soon be released by the federal
government for other countries.
        2. Further develop the data analysis features of the program according to
suggestions to be received from colleagues.
        3. Purchase a commercially available and royalty free module (written in
FoxPro) so that users can interactively build statements or queries for
selecting records to view, print or otherwise handle. I could easily write
such a module, but this would be very time consuming. The commercially
available module works well and supports a wide variety of queries and can
generate SQL statements.
        4. Develop on-line help for program use.
        5. FoxPro is easily ported onto different platforms. The program can be
easily modified for use on DOS based computers (current version is DOS
based), on Unix based computers, on computers running Windows and on
Macintosh computers.
        6. Further develop the "source" field for recording best information about
accuracy of latitude and longitude data, per suggestions from colleagues.
        7. Set up a module that can calculate latitude and longitude based on a
specified distance and direction from a place whose latitude and longitude
are known.
        8. Implement other suggestions per future comments from colleagues.
        9. Install module for interfacing with bar code reader.
        10. Develop a module for viewing data put into the RESEARCH INTERFACE by a
researcher. The module will provide viewing capabilities only and will allow
the user to easily search the database and to produce print outs of various
combinations of data. With this module researchers will be able to make
systematics data available to a much larger community, such as biologists
interested in environmental studies.
        For example, I am completing a monograph on the Holarctic subgenus
Anisodactylus (genus Anisodactylus: Coleoptera: Carabidae; Insecta). This
group of insects is primarily found in wetlands. The database I've built of
geographic localities and ecological data may be of interest to
environmental biologists and to agencies such as the National Biological
        The viewing program module will actually be a separate program without the
large databases of latitude and longitude for populated places in the United
States. By zipping the program and the Anisodactylus database (approximately
11, 000) records [program refers to cut down viewing program] I will have a
small set of zipped files that can be distributed on disk or via FTP along
with my forthcoming monograph of the group. Readers can access the
database--perhaps a good solution to the problem of what to do when funds
prohibit the publication of lengthy lists of specimens examined. The zipped
files can themselves be sent to environmental biologists or other interested
parties. Note however that increasing development of Worldwide Web may make
this feature unimportant except of course that searching records on a host
computer elsewhere is often slower than searching them on your own machine.
11. Develop a module for exporting research databases into a format that
gophers can use, providing users with another means of accessing detailed
geographic and other data usually not available to colleagues.

        The program is a DOS program but can also be run under Windows. The program
has been run here at MPM on a 486 computer with 48 megabytes of memory, on
386 computers with 4, 6 and 10 megabytes of memory respectively. It probably
will run on a computer with as little as 1 or two megabytes but will be
slower than on computers with more memory. A printer driver included with
the program allows the user to select from several hundred different types
of printers.

  * Gary Noonan, Curator of Insects, Milwaukee Public Museum  *
  * 800 W. Wells,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 USA             *
  * and Adjunct Associate Professor of Zoology, University of *
  * Wisconsin-Milwaukee carabid at            *
  * voice (414) 278-2762  fax (414) 223-1396                  *

  * Gary Noonan, Curator of Insects, Milwaukee Public Museum  *
  * 800 W. Wells,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 USA             *
  * and Adjunct Associate Professor of Zoology, University of *
  * Wisconsin-Milwaukee carabid at                  *
  * voice (414) 278-2762  fax (414) 223-1396                  *

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