Hotkeys and Macros for even *easier* sighting entry (plus a note about Magnetic Variation)

New Mysticetus version

——- Important Note About Magnetic Variation

Note that some GPS’s do not send information about magnetic variation. This includes many postage stamp/USB ones. In this case, it is important for you to set your own, local, magnetic variation in the settings page. Mysticetus needs to know the difference between True and Magnetic bearings at your locale so it can record sighting direction correctly.

You can find your local magnetic variation by simply typing your location into Google or Bing followed by the words, “magnetic variation”. For example, “San Diego Magnetic Variation”. The first Google result lets you know that the variation at KSAN (San Diego International Airport) is 12.4 E. Enter your local magnetic variation into your Options dialog:

Now on to the latest update. It’s fairly cool.

Latest update to Mysticetus: Hotkeys and Macros to make sighting entry (and other tasks) even easier.

This is also known as “Mark’s Sea Turtle Feature”. Sea Turtles are so freaking common off the coast of Florida, even with Mysticetus’ easy data entry, it is hard for the data recorder in an airplane to keep up with every sighting of Crush, dude.

This update addresses that problem by making things about as easy as they can get. When an observer sees a Sea Turtle off (for example) the left wing, press a button and the sighting is recorded. Right wing? Press another button. A new entry will be made in (for example) the Sightings tab with a lot of the information filled in so the data recorder doesn’t have to type.

In typical Mysticetus fashion, I didn’t do this by making a particular key map to “Sea Turtle”. I made it a configurable feature so it can be used for anything else, too.

You might notice a new entry in the System Options page:

Yes, that says, “Macros”.

What’s a Macro? A Macro is a sequence of events that happen when you press a “Hotkey”.
Ok, what’s a Hot Key? That’s a key that you press when you want to get something hot. Like, say, pizza. Or perhaps when you press the Ctrl key and the ‘L’ key at the same time (denoted “Ctrl+L”), it causes Mysticetus to do something useful, like record the position of a sighting. As with anything in Mysticetus, you control the horizontal, you control the vertical, you control what happens when you press the key and which keys are mapped to which happenings. If you want it to add a Sea Turtle sighting, it will. If you want it to order a pizza, it will. (just kidding about the pizza…you probably can’t get anyone to deliver to the boat or plane anyways).

Summary: you can tell Mysticetus to do things when you simply press a key.

How do you do this? Back to our Macro settings. Press the ellipses on the right side…

Here is the Macro Editor that pops up.

Press the Add button to create a new Macro:

Hey, there’s a macro. Now you need to changes the fields to tell Mysticetus what you want to do and what Hotkey you want. You can specify multiple actions (1 or more) that happen each time you press a Hotkey.

In the following example, we’re going to perform two actions: add an entry for Sea Turtle off the left wing to the Sightings page, plus Center the Map display on the Vehicle. We’ve already changed the “Name” field, now we’re going to change the Actions that happen:

Clicking on the Action “…” pops up the Actions editor, where we define two actions for this Macro. One to add a Sea Turtle sighting, and another to center the map on the vehicle:

For the Sea Turtle sighting action, we define the fields we want to add. In this example, we want the Species to be “Sea Turtle”, and the Observed Bearing to be L (for “Left” – Mysticetus will subtract 90 degrees from the vehicle’s heading).

The final product in the Macro Editor looks a little complicated – it is actually a “language” of sorts – that tells Mysticetus what to do and when to do it. In this case, when the user clicks CTRL+L, Mysticetus will add a Sighting entry for a Sea Turtle, and it will be 90 degrees to the left of the nose of the vehicle. In addition, the map window will be re-centered on the vehicle.

Now that we have all this set up, the recorder in the airplane can simply click Ctrl+L and:

Booom! New sighting with all the fields filled in. In this example, we just need to type in the Declination Angle to the sighting and the observers can move on to the next Sea Turtle, or whatever else swims by.

(if you can see a Sea Turtle 12 kilometers away, you’ve got amazing eyesight, and that will no doubt throw off all population density statistics…this is just for illustration purposes).

Anyways, let me know what you think. I’m particularly interested in additional “Actions” you want to accomplish with HotKeys (other than ordering pizza). Currently, you can automatically enter data in the entry sheets, and you can center the map window on the vehicle.

What else do you want Mysticetus to do with a single key-click?

I hope everyone’s autumn has started well, and you are enjoying the leaves changing colors, wherever you are.


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