What is an observation?

We define any identification of a taxa element at a point and place, be it a trailcam picture, animal mark recapture, waterbird survey or an incidental sighting as an observation.  Some are very complex including hundreds of attributes.  For some it may be as simple as an historical observation of Bison in Cassia County in the 1880s.

In order to be able to query all of what we collect regardless of survey and protocol differences it is necessary to standardize every sighting into a core set of fields.  We call this our Core Observation Entity.

Observation Core Entity

  • Species
    • Species Confidence (0-100% with labels for certain thresholds)
    • Count (Integer)
    • Count Type (absolute, estimate, minimum)
    • Sex (unknown, male, female, both, not applicable)
    • Life State (unknown, alive, dead)
    • Life Stage (immature, yearling, nymph, flowering, dormant….)
  • Date Time (from – to range with timezone)
    • Date Confidence (In seconds with labels for certain thresholds)
  • Location (geojson… lat/lng also accepted)
    • Location Confidence (In meters with labels for certain thresholds)
    • Location Resource (text, how location was derived… GPS, Google Maps Click, Lat/Lng Entered)  {may be dropped}
  • Observer(s)
    • Full Name (some part of First or Last name required)
    • Occupation
    • Employer
    • Phone
    • Email
    • Physical address
    • Background (Long Text)
    • Observer Confidence (0-100% with labels for certain thresholds)
  • Observation Methods (seen, heard, scat)
  • Reporter (username)
  • Report Date (timestamp)
The following are also auto-calcuated for all observations:
  • County
  • GMU
  • Region
  • HUC6 (proposed)
  • 5km Grid (proposed)
  • 6km Hex (proposed)

Common Optional Components

  • Site
  • Survey
  • Project
  • Field Methods (under construction)


You can see these core observations and their default settings and user interfaces on our bulk import form https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/species/observations/import (login required) or the basic observations form https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/species/observations/add.