If you have just downloaded MushroomLog from the App Store, you are probably anxious to try it out. This tutorial is intended to get you off to a quick start on the right foot. The App is designed for use in the field, but you can go through the first part of the tutorial from the comfort of your chair as long as you have at good cellular signal. You will find it easiest to open this tutorial on your computer while running the App on your iPhone.
Initial launch – The first time you run MushroomLog, three things will happen. First, it will notify you that it is loading its “Taxonomic Thesaurus” with scientific and common names of 3000 mushrooms. This will happen in the background and will take a couple of minutes. Just tap OK to acknowledge it. Secondly, it will ask for permission to send you Alerts and Notifications. You should allow this; you’ll see why later. Finally, it will ask you for permission to use your Location. You will need to allow it. After all, it’s a navigation application.
MushroomLog has five modules that are accessed via the icons in the Tab Bar at the bottom of your screen. Here is a brief description of what they do.
1. When you launch MushroomLog, it starts up in the Single Observation Module. This corresponds to the Eye icon on the left side of the Tab Bar. You can use this module to make a quick record of a mushroom that you spot on your way home from work or in your neighbors yard.
2. The Search Module (Magnifying Glass icon) is where you search your personal database of mushroom Observations by name, date, location, etc. and then display them in a list or on a map.
3. The main module in MushroomLog is the Foray Module (Map icon). From here you can keep track of when and where you go looking for wild mushrooms. You can map the path you follow on a walk and record information and images for mushrooms you find. MushroomLog keeps the paths and mushroom records organized by location and date. Later you can recall the map of an earlier walk and display the details and images of mushrooms you found. You can even display your previous forays at a location while you are recording a new one.
4. The Settings Module (Cog icon) lets you configure some options in MushroomLog.
5. The Lookup Module (Mushroom icon) lets you do a quick lookup of a mushroom name. It also lets you make changes and additions to the Taxonomic Thesaurus.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s jump right in. Open MushroomLog and press the Foray Module icon (Map icon) on the Tab bar.
This will open the foray Locations screen, which ultimately will show you a list of places where you have gone to look for mushrooms. If this is the first time you’ve used the App, the list will be empty. Let’s start by creating a Location entry for where you are right now. If that happens to be your living room chair, don’t worry, we can delete the location later. To create an entry, press the plus sign (+) at the top right. This will open a map view and if you wait a few seconds, assuming you have a good cellular/gps connection, it will zoom in and place a pin on the map at your current location. Once the map has zoomed in on your locations, you can type a name for this location. It might be something like “Willowdale State Park”, or “Crawford Path”, or in the current situation “My Livingroom”. MushroomLog will automatically fill in the state abbreviation and your coordinates. If you’re you’re not satisfied with where the pin has been placed, you can move it by “long pressing” a different spot on the map. This is useful if you’d like to create a new location before you actually go there. Just drag the map to another spot and long press where you want the pin. Oh, and you can zoom the map in or out using a pinch gesture. Once you have created and named your location, press the <Locations button at top left corner of the screen. The new location will be added to your Locations list. If you want to make a change to the location name (or pin position) you can press the Info button (letter i in a circle) to the right of the location name. As you add more locations to your list, they will be organized by state and alphabetically within state. You can delete a location by swiping from right to left. Try it now if you wish, you can easily create it again.
Once you have created a Location and are ready to start your walk, press the Location name (not the Info icon). This will open the Foray screen. Since you haven’t recorded any walks here yet, the Foray list will be empty. Press the + sign on the right side of the Navigation bar at the top of the screen. A map will open. You have just created your first Foray. There are spaces at the top where you can record some basic information or notes about the walk. Don’t bother to type the date, it will automatically be added. Dictation (microphone button on the keypad) is especially useful for notes, but it only works well if you have a good cell signal. Once you entered any info and notes, press the “Hide Info” button to get it out of the way.
Now you have two choices. If you’d like MushroomLog track where you walk, press the “Start Tracking” button. A blue line will follow your path on the map. This can be pretty helpful for finding the way back to your starting point, or later during another walk at the same site to navigate to where you found a mushroom previously. If you don’t care about tracking your path, you can just start out on your walk. If you’re doing this tutorial from the comfort of your chair, tracking your path won’t be very exciting, but you could get up and walk around a little.
Now, when you come to something interesting, let’s say you open your refrigerator and find a package of oyster mushrooms, press the “Add Observation” button. You are now in the Observation Detail screen. You can fill in as much or as little information here as you wish, but you should put something in the Mushroom Name field. If you think you know what the mushroom is, start typing it’s common name or scientific name. As you begin to type, a list of mushrooms that contain the letters you’ve typed will appear. You can scroll down the list, or just keep typing until you see the name you are looking for, then tap the name. If the name is not in the list, just finish typing it and press Return. If you don’t know what the mushroom is, you can just fill in something like “Large Orange Mushroom”. You can go back and change it later once you have identified it. Fill in as many of the remaining fields as you wish. Again, the dictation feature can be helpful. Now, let’s take a couple of pictures of your discovery. The Camera icon is on the right side of the Navigation bar.
Thumbnails of the pictures will be displayed in a row on the Observation Detail screen. If you want to delete a picture just swipe its thumbnail upward. You can see a full screen view of a picture by pressing it. Pictures are automatically saved in your Observation database. If you want to copy it to the Camera Roll on your iPhone, just press to “Copy to My Photos” button from the full screen view. For other sharing options press the Sharing icon (Square and up arrow) in the Navigation bar of the full screen view. Exit the full screen view using the <Back button. If you’re done adding info and pictures to the Observation Detail screen, press the <Back button to return to the Map View. The observation will show up as a pin on the map. Now walk around for a while and add a couple more Observations. If you are on a real walk, and want to put your iPhone in your pocket between Observations, you should push the iPhone’s Lock (Sleep/Wake) button to so that you don’t “pocket-press” buttons on the screen. MushroomLog will continue to track your walk even when it’s running in the background and the phone is locked.
When you have finished your walk you can save your Track and Observations by pressing “End Foray” in the Navigation Bar. Don’t forget to do this, or MushroomLog will just keep on tracking you. But this is where the Alerts come in. If you enabled Alerts and Notifications the first time you started MushroomLog and if you traveled more than 50 ft from where you started tracking your walk, you’ll receive an Alert when you approach your starting point, reminding you to turn off tracking and end the Foray.
When you press End Foray, you will return to the Forays List view, which now will include an entry for the Foray you just completed. Forays are listed by their dates. To review the completed Foray, just press its date in the Forays List. It will take you back to the Foray Map. If you touch one of the pin heads and press the Info icon (I in a circle), it will open the Observation Detail view for that pin. From the Foray Map, you can also see a list of all the Observations from that walk by pressing the List icon on the far right side of the Navigation Bar. From the List View, you can press an Observation to open it Observation Detail view. You can delete an Observation by swiping it from right to left in the Observations List View. Pressing the Back button from the Observation List view, returns you to the Map view, press the <Forays button to return to the Forays List view. You can delete an entire Foray (including its Track, all of its Observations and Pictures) by swiping from right to left in the Foray List view. Pressing the <Forays button in the Forays List view to return to the Locations List view. You can delete an entire Location (including all of its Forays) by swiping the Location name from right to left.
As you record Forays at more and more Locations and revisit record Forays at some of the same Locations, you will begin to appreciate how MushroomLog organizes you Observations. Using the Foray module, you can review any of your previous Forays and their Observations in Map, List and Detail views. In the next tutorial, we will look at using the Search module to create a list or map of Observations based on criteria like mushroom name, a range of months and years, or location. The third tutorial walks you through how to overlay multiple Forays on the same Map as well as exporting Forays to another iPhone via eMail or AirDrop.