Creating and Editing Species Template Lists

Species template lists can help facilitate data entry in the field when sampling at a location where data does not yet exist in VGS from previous visits. Although species can and usually must be added on the fly during sampling, having a template list ready to go can be helpful. Generally, it is recommended that a template list include only the most common species for a particular type of vegetation or location as well as those species that are almost always encountered even if in small numbers. Less ubiquitous species should be added on the fly during sampling. That way, each list can be used for multiple locations. Any number of template lists may be created to accommodate various community types.

Template lists may also be created to facilitate specific sampling schemes. For example, if sampling is to be restricted to a predetermined group of species, a template list can be created with only those specific species included. If desired, the user can be restricted from entering any species other than those included in the list.

Experience suggests that lists are most effective when limited to no more than 25-30 species. At this time, it is not possible to automatically add species to a template list directly from the data form during sampling without closing the form. Lists may be edited only through the list manager as shown below.

New List

  1. Close all secondary windows, such as site windows. If the “Setup” menu is grayed out and disabled, then check for open hidden windows from the VGS icon in the Windows Taskbar.

  2. Click on the “Setup” menu and choose the “Lists” option. This will open the list setup manager.

  3. On the left side of the panel, select the “Species Input” option. To the right, any existing template lists for species will be listed.

  4. Click the “New” button. This will create a new record in the list panel.

  5. Type in a name for the list.

  6. Describe the list as desired in the “Description” column. Clicking in the description field will display a small button to the right which, when clicked, will open a larger, resizable window to provide space for entering a long description.

  7. Click the “Save” button in the top left-hand corner.

Adding Species to a List

  1. If not already selected, select the new list created above by clicking anywhere in the row for the list.

  2. Click the “Members” tab at the bottom of the panel.

  3. Click in the first column (labeled “Species Code”) of the first row to activate it.

  4. Enter a species in one of two ways:

    • Type in the standard species code (as per NRCS PLANTS database codes) for the species desired. Be very careful because an incorrect code will result in an incorrect entry if a species exists which owns the incorrect code. If there is any question at all about the exact code (including numbers) for the species, use option b for entering the species code.

    • Click on the button to the right of the species code. This button appears when the species code cell is active. This will bring up the species search and selection dialog. The entire PLANTS database is available from which to search and select a species. Species may be searched for by code, common name, or Latin name. Once the correct species has been located and highlighted, click the “Select” button.

  5. When a species is selected or filled in, the “Species Name” and “Common Name” columns will be automatically filled.

  6. A qualifier may be added in the “Qualifier” field as necessary for certain sampling schemes if desired. Otherwise, leave this cell blank.

  7. Once a species has been entered, another line will be added to the list for entering the next species. Repeat the process for each species to be added to the list.

  8. When all species to be included in the list have been entered, be sure to click on the “Save” button in the top-left corner of the window.

  9. The list manager may be closed at this point, or clicking the “List” tab at the bottom of the panel will return to the list window where more lists may be created.

Editing a List

  1. Open the list manager as described above.
  2. Select the list to be edited in the list manager.
  3. Click on the “Members” tab at the bottom of the panel.
  4. Add, edit or delete species as desired:
    • Add species as described above
    • Edit species by simply changing the species code. Clicking the button in a cell that already has a species entered will bring up the species selection dialog. Selecting a different species from the selection dialog will replace the existing species.
    • Delete species using the “Delete” button located above and to the right of the list.

Using a Template List

When a data form is open and a data module that records species is active, a species selection panel appears in the lower part of the form. To add species in a template list to the selection panel:

  1. Select the desired template list from the dropdown located at the top of the selection panel.

  2. Check the box next to the list and all species in the list will be added to the selection panel.

  3. Unchecking the box will toggle the list off, except any species for which data have been entered will remain as well as any species added to the selection panel that do not occur in the template list.

Template lists may be exported and imported as desired to facilitate copying lists among tablets and users. This is done via the Export/Import buttons located to the right above the lists.

  1. To export, simply select the list to be exported, click the "Export" button and choose the location and name of the list exchange file that will be created.
  2. To Import, simply click the Import button and choose the exchange file to be imported.

By default, list exchange files have an extension of “.vgss”.

See also

Species Lookup | Other Data Input Lists and Templates |

© Arizona Cooperative Rangeland Monitoring Program, 2018 • Updated: 01/18/18