Billions of new features! (well, ok, not quite billions…but still, a lot!)

New Mysticetus Version

Mysticetus MMO Software Development Updates

Since the last blog post, I’ve added what seems like thousands of new features to Mysticetus as we crank up the 2014 season. They break down into three categories


  1. General Operation features, such as a new Start Page and Auto-Update
  2. Data Entry features – I am *always* on the hunt to make data entry easier. Fixed List Improvements and External Sighting Position are two new helpers that save keystrokes during data entry.
  3. QA/QC/Post-Process – Likewise, I am always working to make QA/QC easier. This release has some killer features to help validate or re-create data (including Change Time Zone, Apply Track Position, Import from Zip file, etc.)

Start Page

If you start Mysticetus without loading a file, it will display a Start Page to help you figure out what to do next. It includes buttons for social media, reading the User’s Guide, checking for updates, downloading sample templates, etc. The Start Page includes a list of recently opened files (just click the link). You can also just click the big Open button to select any Mysticetus file you want:


Theodolite Altitude Wizard

I’ve added a new window to help you calculate the exact height of your theodolite. If you know your location (use the previously released Location Wizard), and you know the location of something at the water line, you can just point your theodolite at the other thing (boat, person standing at shoreline, etc.) and Mysticetus will do the rest to calculate your height. This Wizard is found in the Theodolite settings page.

Here is a picture of my derivation of the formula. Yes, my handwriting sucks. It happens after spending the last 35 years of your life glued to a keyboard 🙂

Over time I will be adding other theo height Wizards based on other methods. Let me know your favorite and I’ll see what I can do. If you’ve already got the math done for me, all the better. Then again, I kindof like busting out my old math skillz once in a while. 🙂


Mysticetus now checks for the latest version at startup, and automatically downloads and installs any newer versions. You can also click the “Check for Updates” button on the Start page (above) to explicitly check to see if you are running the latest version:

Fixed List Improvements

Fixed Lists recently received a thorough working on, with amazing improvements in how they handle keystrokes. Previously, they were good for mouse operations, but now they do a much better job of reducing the number of keystrokes necessary to select the appropriate item. Simply hit the first letter of the item in the fixed list and it will select a matching entry. In addition, after the item is entered, the cursor will move to the next column so Mysticetus is ready to enter the next value. Saves many keystrokes.


External Sighting Position

This new menu, available on entry sheets with a Sighting formula somewhere in the sheet, allow you to explicitly enter a latitude and longitude for a sighting, bypassing the standard declination angle, reticle or distance calculations of a normal sighting. Mysticetus will back-calculate the distance for you as well. This is for times someone may radio in a sighting they have localized via other means.

Right click in the row header to insert a new External Sighting.


Speed Over Ground Formula

There was already a Course Over Ground formula (which enters your vehicle’s current course into a cell) – now there is a speed version, too. Set this up in the Formula Editor.


Import from Zip File

Previously, when importing/aggregating Mysticetus files you had to select each imported file individually. You can now just point at a Zip file and Mysticetus will import from every Mysticetus file it finds in the zip file.

This comes in handy when your cloud storage solution can zip up large download sets for you (Egnyte and Dropbox – I’m looking at you)

Apply Track Position

This post-process feature is critical for situations where you want to apply GPS track information to a sighting record. This can happen in the following situations:

1. Your main GPS died, so you are using a backup GPS track (GPX file) to reconstruct your survey. Simply import the GPX file, tell Mysticetus to Apply Track Position to all sighting records…and blam, Mysticetus reconstructs the survey for you based on declination angles, reticles or estimated sighting distance as if you were entering data in the field.

2. Your MMO or PSO and the computer had a falling out. Not saying this happened recently and is the real reason this feature exists (nope nope nope) – but say, perhaps, your MMO decided to pre-populate a bunch of records, which automatically stamped the airport’s location in the survey fields…so all sightings then show up around the airport. Oops. Clicking this single button fixes all that and moves sightings to where they should be, along the GPS track.

You can click either a single cell, or click on the top of a column to update all cells.


Change Time Zone

What if someone forgot to set the PC to the correct time zone when the survey was run? Mysticetus, of course, uses an immutable UTC + TimeZone metaphor for all data collection. When your QA/QC person catches this, they typically have to go into Mysticetus and change every single entry by hand – very time consuming.

With this new feature, one click and Mysticetus updates the entry fields to the correct timezone. The QA/QC person can choose any time zone they want. Note this does NOT change the underlying UTC time recorded. Instead, it merely changes the timezone to the appropriate value.


Whew. It turns out there are another 7 or so features I didn’t get around to listing in this blog post – mainly because I’m under the gun trying to get a new Sightings+Mitigation Detail Report feature out by tonight (automatically details and summarizes sighting information, including any arbitrary fields YOU choose) –  that feature will lead off the NEXT blog post. 🙂

Hope everyone’s spring has sprung and life is well. Take care.



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