Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sharing of Scouting Information 2010

The sharing of scouting information has taken a huge leap forward in the past decade or so. People who are not familiar with the spirit of the World Series of Birding may find it amazing that teams that are in direct competitors will share scouting information right up to the midnight start of the event. Teams understand that a rising tide floats all boats, and any help they give or receive is reflected in the bottom line of fund raising. Additionally, it helps level the playing field for those teams that cannot dedicate an entire week to scouting. In particular, it has provided a tremendous boost to the totals of the youth teams, whose school obligations limit their scouting ability.

In the past three years teams have sent scouting information to the DVOC team and we have posted the information on this website. While on the whole this procedure has been very successful it has had problems. These "problems" were:

1. The reports came in during scout week and needed to be processed and posted as quickly as possible. While most of the submissions were in formats that could be quickly transferred to the website, some submissions required considerable interpretation. There is never enough time to scout during the week before the event and that is the week that required the most work on the scouting notes.
2. Some teams have never participated in this initiative. Furthermore there are probably some teams that take scouting information and never contribute to the scouting reports.
3. All the scouting efforts were not archived in a way that provides a clear historical record.

In an effort to address these issues the DVOC this year is working with the Cornell team to strongly urge all teams to use eBird (http://ebird.org/content/ebird/) for WSB scouting. eBird is a major initiative of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and it is hoped that each WSB team will create an account for their team. Further information is available at http://www.dvoc.org/WSB/WSB2010/ScoutingNotes2010.htm

Bert Filemyr

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