IWDG approach 10,000th sighting milestone

28th Jun 2007 Crikey, it doesn't seem all that long ago when on a busy month we might receive 15 sighting records, whereas today we could receive this many sightings on any given day.

In the early days we never knew how we'd receive your records, which was always part of the fun and indeed challenge. Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's Simon Berrow accumalated several boxes of hand written records, some were on quaint John Hinde postcards, we even had a few scribbled on the back of empty cigarette cartons. But we always had the few high-tech types who managed to report their observations by telex. Yes, remember those machines in every office back room!

By the early 1990's we had switched to a new gadget, the fax machine, and they were real clever contraptions, except the text faded after a year or so, and you could nver read that awful handwriting. But by the late 1990's it was clear that we were heading down the electronic route, which IWDG embraced, and we now encourage sightings records to be submitted online via www.iwdg.ie or by email.

Suffice it to say, we've come along way since those early days. Today, the IWDG system for recording sightings and strandings of cetaceans is frequently cited as being the model for biological recording in Ireland, and indeed further afield. It's an efficient and speedy process, where records are processed validated and entered using SQL server, so that they go straight online, where you the public can view and interrogate the latest validated sightings from all Irish waters, at no cost. The fact that this database contains an increasing % of "effort related" sightings data makes the dataset an increasingly important conservation tool for industry and researchers alike.

IWDG Sighting Form

Anyway, we'll let you know who reports the 10,000th sighting, which given typical daily reporting will almost certainly be next week. We'll be offering a wee prize of a complimentry IWDG book & DVD to the lucky recorder. And don't worry any IWDG committee members are exempt from this.

Thanks for taking the time in recent years for reporting your sighting records. Looking forward to the next 10,000

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator

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