MapMate is a database program designed to record and manage biological data and to share the data with other users, Biological Recording Schemes and Records Centres. It can produce maps of the distribution of species recorded and can use an Internet connection, if available, to exchange data and obtain program updates. A further feature of MapMate is that it is a 'distributed database', the data can be shared across a number of computers, each obtaining an up to date copy of the data by a process of data synchronisation between the computers.
MapMate is not a simple, or 'flat', database in which all records are held in one large table, as in a spreadsheet. It is what is called a 'relational database', having a number of linked tables.
Instead of, for example, having to type in the species name for each record you select the species from a list which is held in a separate table within the database. This inserts a link (or pointer) to that item in the species table. Similarly the sites where you record are entered into a table of sites. Once a site and its details have been entered into this table you do not need to type in the site name again when you enter subsequent records from that site. Your actual record consists of a set of references (or pointers) to the data in the associated tables. This not only removes the tedium of re-entering the details each time but it ensures that the same data is used consistently and it can be changed, for all records, if any amendment becomes necessary (e.g. if a more accurate Grid Reference is obtained).
A consequence of this system is that you cannot put in your first records until you have entered details of the relevant sites and recorders. Your first encounter with MapMate may give you the impression that it is rather slow and complex just to enter a few records, however once details of most of the sites have been entered (or obtained by replication with another user) data entry becomes quicker and easier.
Keys on the keyboard are represented by the character that is typed by the key enclosed in single-quote marks, e.g. "press 'Enter'" means you should press the key marked 'Enter' (on some keyboards 'Return' or '(') to the right of the alphabetic keys on the keyboard. Where two keys have to be pressed together this is represented as e.g. 'Ctrl+G' where you need to hold down the 'Ctrl' key and press the 'G' key. Do not type the single-quote (') marks.
Buttons in Windows Dialogue Boxes are also represented within single quote marks (e.g. "click 'Save' " means click on the Save button ). The term 'click' normally means you should click with the Left Mouse-button; when the Right Mouse-button should be used this is referred to as 'right-click'.
The symbol '>' in descriptions of Menu options represents the process of following down to the next level in a cascading Menu selection.
Items shown as 'Blue' indicate Data Entry Fields - for example 'Comment' refers to the Comment field.
If you are reading this document on a computer, and using a program that supports hypertext, then clicking on the link word should take you to the appropriate section, there is usually a 'Navigation Toolbar' with a 'back-arrow' button which returns you to your original location.
This document has been written about Version 2.0.7 of MapMate, later versions will have additional features and changes not covered here.
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