Frequently Asked Questions
If you can't find the answer to your question here check the User Guide. If you still can't find your answer, use the Support link in the footer, but remember we are volunteers and we will respond as quickly as we can.
For a list of vetters, their contact information and regions click here
The Phone App
For the Phone App FAQ, click here
How to cite:
The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference this web site or the content found within.
Abbott, J.C. 2006-2024. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at https://www.odonatacentral.org/. (Accessed: 02/23/2024).
Frequently Asked Questions
What observations should I enter in Odonata Central?
We encourage you to enter ALL your Odonata observations into Odonata Central. This includes records vouchered with specimens or photos as well as Observed Only records that are not vouchered. However, vouchered records are much more valuable and we encourage you to include vouchers (photos or specimens) for as many of your observations as possible.
Odonata Central incorporates an algorithm that will sort your records into those that need expert vetting and those that do not depending on how many previous records of that species there are at that time and place. Don't worry about submitting too many records or submitting records of common species. These will not overburden vetters.
The most useful data are complete checklists that report every species you identified at a location with counts or estimates for each species and as many vouchers as you could get.
Do I need to enter counts for all my observations?
You create a record in Odonata Central by entering something in the count column of the checklist. Your data will be most useful if you can include an exact count or an estimate. If you can’t provide this, just put an “x” in the box to create the record without a count. However, even a ballpark estimate is preferred to an “x”.
What are the restrictions on submitted photos?
You may submit up to 10 photos of up to 10 Mb each with each record. Tightly cropped, high resolution photos preferred, but any photo that supports the identification should be submitted regardless of quality. All photos submitted should be of the same individual. All photos must be taken at the location and date of the checklist. Habitat and other photos are not allowed.
What geographical regions can I enter data from?
Odonata Central is focused on the Western Hemisphere. Records submitted from the Western Hemisphere will be subject to vetting. However, records can be entered from all over the world. If iNaturalist records are selected for mapping, those records will be shown from all over the world as well (see below).
Do all my records need to be vouchered?
No, but we strongly encourage you to provide vouchers (specimens or photos) for as many of your records as possible (including common species), but we also encourage you to submit all your observations including Observed Only observations. Your data are most useful if you can provide a complete checklist of all the species you saw at a specific location and date.
I saw a bunch of Bluets I could not identify to species and I could not get a photo or specimen. Can I enter them?
You should use the Add Species box on the record entry checklist to enter them as "Bluet sp." or "Enallagma sp." Note records not identified to species are not vetted.
I photographed an Odonate I could not identify. How do I get help?
For records with photos, you can get help directly in Odonata Central by either (i) using the Add Species box to enter it as "Unknown damselfly" or "Unknown dragonfly" or (ii) you can do your best to identify it and mark ID confidence as Low. Either will call the attention of a vetter to the record.
However, if you use Facebook, a better way to get help is to post to one of the Odonate Facebooks groups. Many experts follow these groups and are very helpful with identifications. That way you can submit your record to Odonata Central already identified.
For North America, you can post to one of these: Northeast Odonata, Southeastern Odes or Western Odonata
For the Neotropics: Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Neotropics
Or for anywhere in the world: Dragonflies and Damselflies - Worldwide Odonata
I like the reassurance of having my records confirmed by a vetter? Can I request vetting?
Yes, you can request vetting of Photo records. The best way to do this is to indicate you have less than High ID confidence (either Med or Low). If you want a record with High ID Confidence vetted, you can check the “I request expert vetting of this record” box when entering records. Just please remember that vetters are volunteers with limited time.
How certain of an identification do I have to be to check High ID confidence?
If you are not 100% certain of the ID, you should check Med or Low ID confidence. It is very important that you enter this information correctly. Records with ID confidence High are less likely to be vetted and we are trusting you to let us know when you are confident enough that you do not think the record needs vetting.
However, you only have to be 100% confident of one individual of the total count you submit. For example, if you enter 100 Familiar Bluets with ID confidence High, then it means you are 100% certain of at least one Familiar Bluet and think that the others are the same species. In other words, checking High ID confidence means you are 100% confident there was at least one Familiar Bluet at that location on that date.
How big an area should a single location cover?
This is up to you, but submitting multiple checklists for smaller areas is better than one checklist for a large area. As a general guide, all observations within about a 1-2 mile radius that are in somewhat homogeneous habitat and elevation can be entered on one checklist as a single location. You can enter a series of smaller area checklists if you prefer to be more precise. If you have a single observation (for example a rare species) that you want to locate exactly, enter it by itself on a separate checklist, but leave it off your other checklists. In other words, do not enter it twice.
What should I put in Location Description?
This should be a verbal description of the location relative to known landmarks, towns or intersections. This allows vetters to verify that you dropped the pin on that map correctly. For example: “1.5 miles W of Centerville where the Lazy River crosses Rt. 1”. Habitat description is optional. If the location is private property, be sure to check the “Private Property” checkbox. This adds a notice to each record that it was found on private property.
What is a Favorite location?
This is a saved location. You can save any location to your list of Favorites by checking the checkbox on the Add Location screen when entering the location. Once you save it as a favorite, this location will appear on your list of favorites and you can select it to save time entering the location the next time.
Why do you care if I am reporting all the species I saw for a checklist?
A complete checklist with all species observed is much more valuable than a single record or an incomplete checklist because it provides negative data. In other words, we know both what you saw and what you did NOT see. We cannot infer negative data from incomplete checklists.
Can I enter private data not shared with the public?
Checking the “Make this Checklist Private” box when entering a checklist hides the specific data from the public. It will not appear on maps or when others are browsing records. It may be shown to vetters and will appear in aggregated outputs like Regional Lists.
In general, we discourage this option but understand if there are records you want included in your list that are not shared with the public. If the location is private property, be sure to check the “Private Property” checkbox. This adds a notice to each record that it was found on private property.
What should I do about observations on private property?
Check the Private Property box on the Add Locations screen. This adds a small yellow box in the location section of the record that says "Private Property" so that people looking at the record will know that the location is not open to the public. However, remember that the record and its coordinates are public. If there are serious access concerns, it may be worth elaborating in Specimen Notes.
Are there special requirements for entering Specimen records?
Yes. A specimen is one you collected and preserved. You must check the box under “Photos and Details” that says Specimen and you must enter the Institution where the specimen will be housed in the Institution field. Enter Personal Collection in that field if you will retain the specimen.
Please take a photo of all specimens if possible so the record is eligible for vetting. It is fine to use your phone if the photo is identifiable. If future changes in the disposition of specimens is planned (such as donating a personal collection to an institution), please indicate this in the Specimen Notes.
What if I want to submit a record for another person or an institution?
You check the box next to "I am submitting for another observer" on the first page for submitting a checklist. A box will appear where you can optionally add the observers name if known. By checking this box, this record will be excluded from your personal lists.
Where does the species list come from that is displayed when I am entering records?
The list displayed is species recorded in Odonata Central within 18 miles of your location (an area of 1000 sq miles which is about the average size of a US county). All Accepted records and all Not Vetted Records by Certified Observers are used to generate the list. In areas with lots of submitted records, the list will be long and comprehensive. In areas with few records, the list will be short or maybe lacking if there are no records. Use the Add Species button to add species not on the list.
The list is sorted alphabetically by taxonomic level, starting with suborder, then by family within each suborder, then by genus within each family and then by species within each genus.
I have a large data set on a spreadsheet, can I mass upload the records?
This feature is planned but not available at this time. Contact us for uploading large data sets.
Can Odonata Central host special projects or events?
Yes. Running an odonate bioblitz? Want to keep track of odonates in a special patch? Hosting an odonate meeting (some day …)? Maybe you want to run a competition to see how many odes can be found over a weekend in your state? Apply to have these and any other projects you can imagine hosted on Odonata Central. Once your project is approved, users can add their checklists to your project and you can use all the powerful filtering, listing and mapping functions of Odonata Central to look at the results. If you would like to host a project, send a short title and description with start and end dates to firstname.lastname@example.org for approval.
Browsing and Filtering Data
What does the Status of a record signify?
Records can be assigned one of four Statuses: Pending, Accepted, Declined, or Not Vetted. Pending records are records with photos assigned to a vetter but that have not been vetted. Not Vetted were accepted as submitted without vetting, either because they are Observed Only or because they are common species not requiring vetting. Accepted records were confirmed by a vetter. Declined records were examined by a vetter but could not be confirmed. Note that all records can be vetted, so Not Vetted records may be changed to Accepted or Declined. Note that Declined records are exclude by default in all outputs. To see them, you must turn the switch for excluding them off.
What is the Dot Map Project?
The Dot Map Project, published in 2004 (see About Odonata Central), compiled mostly older (20th century) records from the US and Canada from more than 100 odonatologists across the US and Canada. A few records have been added since.
In the US these are county level only records and in Canada they are referenced to 30-minute coordinate blocks. Exact coordinates are not available, and you can only view these on County or County + Sighting Maps. They usually have no date associated with them. However, there are many parts of the country where these are the only data, so it is important to have them available.
What are High Quality Data?
In general, includes records that are more likely to be identified correctly or that can be verified. Use this filter when you want to look at the more reliable data types.
Data considered High quality are 1) all Accepted records, 2) Pending or Not Vetted records by Certified Observers with ID confidence High, 3) Not Vetted records by non-certified observers that are vouchered (Photo or Specimen) with ID confidence High.
Remember that all Observed Only records are assigned to Not Vetted, so High Quality does include non-vouchered records, but only by Certified Observers who indicated High ID confidence.
On some of the pull down lists for taxon I see species like Blue Dasher and Swamp Darner listed twice?
This happens for monotypic (single species) genera. If you look at the scientific name you will see that one occurrence in the list refers to the genus (e.g., Pachydiplax sp.) and one to the species (e.g., Pachydiplax longipennis). Since there is only one species in the genus, the species and genus have the same name and you will get the same result if you choose either one. This is done for consistency with the way polytypic genera are listed.
I don't like that the new version of Odonata Central allows Observed Only records. What can I do?
You can select Vouchered Records under the Browse Records or Maps tabs and all Observed Only records will be excluded. You can also do this after selecting All Records by using the multiselect filters and setting Record Type to both Photo and Specimen.
Why are the photos submitted prior to 2020 so small?
A bug in the previous version of Odonata Central inadvertently reduced all submitted images to 800x600 pixels. Photos submitted in the new Odonata Central are stored and viewable at their submitted resolution.
Can I download data?
This feature is planned but is not available at this time. If you have needs related to a specific research project please contact us.
Why can I only see real names of some users?
Real names are kept private and only user names are shown unless the user agrees to list their names in the directory. To change this setting for you, go to the My Account tab.
What is the Outlier flag on a record?
This is added to records when it is an Observed Only record by a non-certified user and there are no records of this species within 50 miles or +/- 30 days. It is intended to catch records like a report of Black Petaltail from New Jersey that are likely to be in error. However, initial reports from an area with few previous records can also be flagged as Outliers.
What is the yellow Private Property flag on a record?
This is added to records by the submitter to indicate this location is not open to the public. You should not attempt to visit these areas without permission.
What does the "Exclude records submitted by others" switch do?
This excluded all records not observed by the submitter. It is primarily used in My Species Lists to view personal lists where it is set by default to exclude records you submitted for someone else from your personal lists.
I can't find a record that I am sure is in the database. Why not?
If you are searching for a record that might be Declined, note that these are not shown by default. If you want to see Declined records, turn the filter switch "Include Declined Records" to ON.
What is the difference between a Sighting map and Sighting Grid map?
Sighting map is the basic map type. When zoomed out it shows a shaded grid indicating 30 minute coordinate blocks that have sightings. If you zoom in on this map, it will switch to showing individual points at a certain zoom level. The Sighting Grid map shows only the grid of shaded coordinate blocks at all zoom levels. Due to performance restrictions, there is no way to view individual points when zoomed out.
What is the difference between a Heat Map by Count and Heat Map by Percent?
In a Heat Map by Count, the hotter the color (more red) the more records of that species at that location. While this output is easy to understand, the heat represents relative effort more than it does abundance. Heat Map by Percent attempts to partially correct for effort. Heat on this map represents the number of days in a year the species was reported, divided by the number of days there were any species reported. It will be more useful as more complete checklists accumulate in the database.
What is the difference between a Sightings by County Map and a County + Sightings map?
A Sightings by County map shows sightings in the US by shading counties where the mapped taxon has been reported at all zoom levels. Outside the US, records are shown as shaded 30 minute lat-long blocks. A County + Sightings map shows the same thing but adds individual points for sightings after you zoom in past a certain level. It is slower to load than the Sightings by County Map.
What iNaturalist records are mapped when I turn on that switch on Maps?
For mapping purposes only, Odonata Central pulls all iNaturalist Odonata records worldwide weekly that are in the GBIF database (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). According to iNaturalist:
"All the data we share with GBIF is in DwC-A format, which is just a zip archive of CSV files. It contains records of all Research Grade observations published under a CC0, CC BY or CC BY-NC license, and links to their associated, licensed photos. Updated weekly."
It may take a couple of weeks for records entered only into iNaturalist that have reached "research grade" to appear on Odonata Central maps. If you want your records to appear right away, import them into Odonata Central (see below).
These records pulled from GBIF are different from those iNaturalist records imported by users into Odonata Central by copying the URL as described below. User imported records become Odonata Central records and are treated and used in the same ways as records entered initially into Odonata Central. The much greater number of records pulled from GBIF are only used on maps. They cannot be browsed or viewed in Odonata Central.
Many of the iNaturalist points on the map are in strange locations. Are they accurate? Why are some points gray?
Probably not. Records of many "sensitive" species are obscured automatically on iNaturalist (called "taxon obscured" by iNaturalist). In addition, users can elect to obscure the location. These records are shown on Odonata Central maps the same way they are shown on iNaturalist maps: at a randomly generated point within 0.2 degree lat-long of the actual location. Therefore the location of many iNaturalist records is only approximate. This accuracy corresponds to within about 20 km (12 miles) depending on where you are.
iNaturalist records with a "location accuracy" of greater than 2 km are plotted in gray triangles. This includes all taxon and user obscured records. These locations are inexact and can be up to 30 km from where the observation actually occurred. iNaturalist records plotted with orange triangles have a location accuracy of less than 2 km and are therefore more accurately plotted.
These randomly generated points are assigned by iNaturalist without regard to political boundaries and may appear in a different political unit (country, state, province, county, etc.) than the actual location if it is near a border. This is why Odonata Central does not use iNaturalist observations for species lists. Furthermore, local data are used to determine what is a "sensitive species", so a species may be accurately plotted in part of its range and obscured in other parts of its range. See Geoprivacy on iNaturalist for more information.
I just posted an observation to iNaturalist but it is not showing up on the Odonata Central map?
Your record has to reach "Research Grade" status in iNaturalist first and it must be published under a CC0, CC BY or CC BY-NC license. Even then, Odonata Central pulls iNaturalist records weekly from the GBIF database (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), which in turn pulls data weekly from iNaturalist. Thus it can take up to two weeks for the record to be pulled after it reaches "Research Grade" status. If you want your records to appear right away, import them into Odonata Central (see below).
Why can I only zoom so far with Plain map type selected?
Plain map is probably the most useful map type to use for looking at records, but it was produced in house and has a restricted zoom in range. All other map types are provided by Google and can be zoomed in quite far. The solution is to switch to another map type to zoom in further.
Why are the boundaries of colored counties on County Maps not exactly on the county borders?
There is a trade off here between accuracy and speed. To make the boundaries more accurate would need more points and would slow the maps down considerably, so we tried to find the optimum between performance and accuracy.
Can I generate a map of all my personal sightings?
Yes. Use the filter settings: Taxon = "Odonates" and User = "your_user_name". This will show a map of all Odonate records submitted by you.
What species are listed?
The species listed are those with Odonata Central records that match the filter settings. Change the filter settings to change the type of records listed.
Records that users have imported from iNaturalist are converted to Odonata Central records and are used. However, the records downloaded from iNaturalist through GBIF that are viewable on maps are not used elsewhere in Odonata Central and are not used to generate species lists.
How are early and late flight dates determined? Are they relevant in all geographical locations?
The dates are determined only for observations included in the current filter settings. Early date is the first date after 1 January that a species has been reported to Odonata Central. Late date is the last date before 31 December that a species has been reported to Odonata Central. In north temperate regions, these dates likely define the flight season for most species. However, in tropical or southern hemisphere locations, these dates are less useful. We are working on an algorithm that will define flight season in all locations and hope to include it in a future release.
What is the sort order for the displayed species list?
As for the list displayed to enter data, the species list is sorted alphabetically by scientific name of the taxon level. The list is sorted first by suborder, then by family within each suborder, then by genus within each family and finally by species with each genus.
Importing Records from iNaturalist
Is there an easy way to enter records I have already entered into iNaturalist?
Yes, if you want to take advantage of the powerful mapping, browsing, filtering and listing functions of Odonata Central, you can easily copy either your own records or some else's records (with their permission!) into Odonata Central. All you need is the URL of the iNaturalist record. In Odonata Central, click the Import from iNaturalist button in the upper right after clicking the Add Records tab to get started. See the User Guide for step by step instructions.
After you have imported an iNaturalist record this way, it becomes an Odonata Central record and is treated like every other Odonata Central Record, including being subject to vetting.
Why do I need to verify the location of a record imported from iNaturalist? Why was my location not imported and I was asked to choose it on a map?
Odonata Central requires accurate locations for all checklist. iNaturalist, however, automatically obscures the location of sensitive species and gives users the option to obscure any of their own records.
During import, Odonata Central will check your record for location accuracy. If the location accuracy is less than 2 km, the pin will be dropped on the map for you. You should still verify it and move it to the precise location if necessary.
If the location accuracy is greater than 2 km, this indicates an obscured location. In this case, the iNaturalist coordinates cannot be used and you should use the map to indicate the accurate location of your checklist. If you don't want to share the exact location, do not import the record.
Is there an easy way to enter all the records I have previously entered into iNaturalist all at once?
No. Odonata Central records require additional information that is not contained in iNaturalist records. In addition, locations of many iNaturalist records of sensitive species are obscured and have to be moved to the correct location when importing. Mass uploads of iNaturalist records are not possible at this time.
Can I enter someone else's iNaturalist record?
Yes, but you MUST have their permission. On the initial submit checklist screen, check the box next to "I am submitting for another observer". This excludes the record from your personal lists. You can optionally enter the observers name in the box that appears if known. The link to the original iNaturalist record is placed in the Specimen Notes.
Why aren't the URLs in the Specimen Notes for iNaturalist records clickable?
This is for security reasons. If you want to view the original iNaturalist record, you can cut and paste the link into your browser.
Can I browse iNaturalist records from Odonata Central?
No, the only way to see the actual iNaturalist records is to use iNaturalist. You can display iNaturalist records as triangles on an Odonata Central map. For all other uses, you must use iNaturalist.
Why would I want to enter my data into Odonata Central instead of (or in addition to) entering them into iNaturalist?
(1) Data validation procedures using expert vetters are more rigorous in OC producing more trustworthy data.
(2) OC welcomes all your observations (Photo, Specimen, Observed Only). INaturalist is primarily focused on photo records.
(3) OC accepts complete checklists and allows you to easily manage your personal lists like life lists, year lists, state lists, etc.
(4) OC provides much more sophisticated data filtering allowing you to view or map data in many ways. For example, OC offers multiselect and seasonal filters.
(5) OC provides more map types.
(6) OC is the only way to access Dot Map Project Data, the most extensive data set on distribution of Odonates in North America.
(7) OC maps can include iNaturalist data but not vice versa.
(8) OC can produce species lists for any location and date that include early and late flight dates.
Vetting - General Questions
What is a vetter?
Vetters are individuals who are experts in Odonate identification in specific regions. They examine photos of rare species or records by new observers to determine if the photo supports the identification. Records to be vetted are initially assigned a Status of Pending. The vetter will indicate their decision by changing the Status of the record to Accepted or Declined. Remember that all vetters are volunteers and vetting decisions may take some time.
Why is it taking so long for my record to be vetted?
Double check that the status of your record is Pending. If the status is Not Vetted it means your record does not require vetting because there are sufficient previous records of this species at the place and time you observed it. For Pending records, remember that all vetters are (overworked) volunteers and vetting decisions may take some time. If you think there is a problem with your record or if it has remained at Pending for a long time, use the Support link in the footer to contact us.
What determines if a record gets vetted?
An algorithm built into Odonata Central initially sorts observations into a Status of either Pending or Not Vetted when submitted. All Pending records have photos. Pending records are considered high priority for vetting and are placed in a queue for the vetter for your region, although vetters can also elect to vet Not Vetted Records which are considered lower priority.
The algorithm takes into account many factors in sorting photo records to be assigned to Pending. How many previous records are there at that time and place? What confidence did the observer indicate in the ID? What is the track record of the observer in correctly identifying submissions (See what is a Certified Observer)? All records without photos (Observed Only and some Specimen) are assigned to the Not Vetted status. Click here for more details.
What is a Certified User?
In general, a Certified User is a frequent user of Odonata Central who has demonstrated the ability to identify Odonates correctly.
Any user can become a Certified User by submitting photo records on 12 different dates and by submitting photo records of 20 different species that are identified correctly, as determined by the vetter. You do not have to take any special action, it will happen automatically after you have made the required submissions.
If you don't know if you are a Certified User, check your profile. Certified Users will have a dark blue box displayed in the upper right indicating their status as a Certified User. If there is no flag, you are a Regular User.
On some records I see a yellow "Request Vetting" button. What is it for?
If you are a Certified User, you will see this button on any record that has status Accepted, Declined or Not Vetted. You can use this button if you think there is an error on the record and you think the vetter should look at it. If you press this button, it will change the status to Pending which will place it in the queue to be looked at by the vetter. A note will be placed on the record that you requested vetting.
It is especially helpful for Certified Users to do this for Not Vetted records that are in error. The vetter will see the error and either correct it or Decline the record. This way Certified Users can help maintain the accuracy of all the data.
What does the "Vetting requesting by ..." note on a record mean?
This note tells the vetter that a Certified User thinks there is an error on the record and clicked the Request Vetting button (see above). This note alerts the vetter to the possibility of an error. It also appears if the user requested vetting when they submitted the record.
What if I find an error in a record?
If you are a Regular User, you can contact the listed vetter directly by finding their email address here or you can use the Contact Us link in the footer to report the error. Certified Users can also use the Request Vetting button if they prefer.
If you don't know if you are a Certified User, check your profile. Certified Users will have a dark blue box displayed in the upper right indicating their status. If there is no indicator, you are a Regular user (see above).
What is the difference between Favorite Locations and Other Locations in the My OC -> Locations view?
The left column lists the locations you have designated as Favorites. You designate a Favorite location by checking the "Add to Favorites" check box when entering the location for a checklist. This saves the location and makes it available on the pick list "Choose from Favorites" to use in the future. This makes it very easy to enter data because all the location information is saved. Select your date, choose your Favorite location and begin entering records. Unless you are sure you are only going to visit a location once, best practice is to create a Favorite the first time you enter a checklist from a location so all subsequent checklists from there will be stored under the same location ID. You can remove locations from your Favorite list by clicking the red minus sign.
The right columns shows the names you chose for locations that you did not designate as Favorites. You can convert them to Favorites by clicking on the green heart.
Why does a location show up both in the list of Favorites and the list of Other Locations?
Names may show up on both lists if you sometimes use a Favorite and sometimes use the map for entering data from the same location. This assigns different location IDs to the locations and is not best practice. If you want to consolidate all records to one Favorite location, the basic process is to edit the checklists of the non-Favorite locations and assign them to the Favorite location. Contact support if you need help with this.
Vetting - For Vetters Only
How do I find records that need vetting and that I can vet (my vetting queue)?
To get started vetting, be sure you are logged in, and click on the Browse Records tab and select Vet Records from the drop down menu. This will show you all the Pending records in your vetting area. You can refine this list by using the filters. To begin vetting, click on the Details button of the first record you wish to vet.
By default, all record lists in Odonata Central are sorted by sighting date with earliest first. You might want to sort your vetting queue by clicking on the OC record column and sorting from smallest to largest. Because OC# are assigned sequentially, this will put the records that have been waiting for vetting the longest first.
Odonata Central uses "One-click Vetting". What does that mean?
When viewing a record that you can vet, clicking once on either Accept or Decline changes the record's status to that status, saves the record and advances to the next record. This is intended to make vetting fast and efficient. Note that you cannot click Decline without filling in Decision Notes (see below).
If you need to go back to the record you just Accepted or Declined, use the arrow on the left side of the screen.
I clicked Decline and nothing happened?
Before Declining a record (which saves it), you must fill out Decision Notes explaining your decision (please sign your note by typing your name after your note). A red reminder warning does appear at the bottom of the screen when you click Decline with empty Decision Notes. Hitting Decline changes the record status to Declined, saves the record and advances to the next record, so you should get in the habit of declining or accepting a record last.
As a vetter, what aspects of the record can I change?
During vetting of a Pending or Not Vetted record, you can change Species Name (use the pencil icon next to this field), add Decision Notes or change the Record type. The latter is important for legacy records imported from the previous version of Odonata Central. Many Specimens records where assigned to Photo record during import. It is very helpful if you discover these and reassign them to Specimen Record type.
To change these fields on Accepted or Declined records or to allow users to edit their records, you should change the Status back to Pending, which unlocks the record.
Vetters cannot edit the location or date because these are associated with the entire checklist not just one record. Errors in location should be much rarer than in the previous versions of Odonata Central with the automatic determination of Location from the dropped pin on the map. However, if you believe there is an error you should first try corresponding with the submitter and ask them to correct it. (They are the only ones who actually know where they were). If this does not work, use the Contact Us form to bring the problem to the attention of an Administrator who can edit the record.
Can I vet any record? What should I do about Outliers?
Vetters can change the status of any record in their assigned vetting region. Records initially assigned to Pending are considered in need of vetting and should be your first priority. It is also a good idea to use the Vetting Filters to look at Outliers in your area and Decline obvious errors. You can vet as many other records as you like, but your main vetting responsibility is for Pending records.
Is there any easy way to monitor the Not Vetted records for anything that might be in error?
Yes, you can do this by using the Species List. Set the location filter to your vetting location (or locations using the multiselect feature), set Status to Not Vetted and select the date range you want to examine. You can also use the Month Range feature to go through the species month by month. This gives you a list of all the species submitted as Not Vetted and you can scan it for anything unexpected and then look at the records by clicking the list icon on the right.
If a photo can be identified to genus but not to species, how should it be vetted?
In this case, the vetter should change the name to the genus name (e.g., Sympetrum sp.) and change the status to Accept. The vetter should add a signed comment to the Decision Notes such as “Submitted as S. internum, but cannot be verified to species.” If the photo cannot be identified to genus, it should be Declined.