STRDs part 3 : Turtle Research and Monitoring Database System (TREDS)

Earlier I introduced the wish at Osa Conservation‘s sea turtle program for some solution to unify data entry by volunteers during and/or after their beach patrols. In part three, I will look at another old one, which contrary to the SWOT database, is designed for the capture of beach patrol data.

“The Turtle Research and Monitoring Database System (TREDS) provides invaluable information for Pacific island countries and territories to
manage their turtle resources. TREDS can be used to collate data from strandings, tagging, nesting, emergence and beach surveys as well as other biological data on turtles.

According to the web page quoted here, this sea turtle database was developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in collaboration with other governmental and intergovernmental organizations (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, NOAA Fisheries, Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency, South-East Asia Fisheries Development Centre and the Marine Research Foundation).

It was developed around 2003 and tested in Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu, French Polynesia and Fiji. It seems that the project was finished in 2007. Most news about TREDS stopped in 2014.

The database and a manual is downloadable from the SPREP webpage quoted above and is implemented in Microsoft Access 2007. However, also a stand-alone version seems available. Unfortunately, I haven’t bee able to test it because I don’t have a Windows computer. The manual can be downloaded and I browsed it to see if the software could be used by Osa Conservation’s (OC) sea turtle program.

On the upside, the software allows for setting up a central database and having remote versions that upload or sync data to the central database. The remote version would have to run on a Windows machine as well. Back in 2007 that would be impractical because one would have to take a laptop to the beach. Today Microsoft produces hybrid laptop/tablet PCs that might work pretty well on the beach – although there might still be issues with sand and rain.

Another good thing about the TREDS database is that the remote installations do not have to be on-line. Also, much of the data collected at OC would fit, but unfortunately not all. In particular, the software does not allow collecting a lot of data about the conditions in the hatchery.

From the outset, it looks like a very interesting and in outline well thought through database. I am no fan of MS Access, but if it does the job well, who am I to complain. In fact, it is a pity that most of the activities around the project seemed to have stopped in 2014. In 2019 there was a call for tender for a new version in Drupal 8 (all I know is that it is a content management system), but the call was canceled this year. I sent an email to ask how the project is doing but so far have received no reply.

The next sea turtle database will be Turtle Tracker, which is similar but different and not for free.

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