Online Training Resources

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Please feel free to browse the training materials below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

The admin guides are a good overall introduction to how to approach and use myObservatory. The following guides are available:

  • Admin Guide
    Institutions and Users
    Signing Up for a New Institution
    Registering New Users
    Access Levels and Permission Control
    Primary Data Organization (Datasets, Stations, Records)
    Data Curation (Submission, Publication, Approval, and Rejection) Suggested Setup Steps
  • Desktop User's Guide
    Data Uploads: Guided, Photos, Hand Drawn Shapes, KML Files, and Raster Animations
    Data Forms: Templates and Collection Forms
    Maps: Navigation, Datasets and Layers, Measuring Tools
  • Mobile User's Guide
    Uploading Photos and Notes
    Form Submissions
    Mobile Trap Counts
    Animal Days per Acre

Tutorials aim to provide step by step instruction and examples on how to perform common tasks. Available tutorial collections include:

  • Data Organization and Upload
    How do I organize data within myObservatory?
    How should I collect and assemble Excel files for upload?
    How do I upload my Excel-based data?
    How do I view my data after uploading it?
  • Select Features
    How do I mark a field, building, or landmark of interest on the map?
    How do I upload GPS-tagged notes?
    How do I upload GPS-tagged photos?
    How do I submit trap count entries?
  • Livestock Tracking Feature
    How do I use the Livestock Tracking feature?
  • ADA (Animal Days per Acre) Feature
    How do I use the ADA (Animal Day Acres) feature?

These are comprehensive tutorial videos, covering all of the main features of the myObservatory platform as of Fall 2013.

Functionality in the portal is divided into five main sections: Main Tools, myObservatory Data, Data Management, My Account, and Administrative Functions. As a regular user, you will have access only to Main Tools, myObservatory Data, and My Account. Advanced users will gain Data Management, giving broader data editing tools, and only staff members have access to Administrative Functions.

Main Tools

View Map

This is a tool which will enable you to visually locate data you seek. Click the button to see the map, and you will see a map of your region. There is also a floating legend, which you may move to a more convenient location for your needs by clicking on the arrow at the top right of the legend and dragging.

Several Base Layers are listed. These represent the underlying map data, like streets and satellite imagery. You may click any of these to toggle the base layer. Next, Overlays are listed. These represent actual data within the system which is available to view. Check the items that you wish to see, or uncheck any you wish to hide.

At the left of each base layer, there is an icon present. This represents how data will appear in the map. Click on one of these icons in the map, and a new tab or window will open showing available data corresponding to this location. See the View and Download Data section for more information on how data is organized.

For optimal display, if several data stations are very close together, they may be grouped for display. In this case, clicking on the map icon will cause a small window to appear asking you wish of the data stations you are interested in.

View and Download Data

Data in myObservatory is organized into Datasets, Stations, and Records. A dataset is a container for a bunch of related data - for example, all stream flow rate measurements might be a single dataset. Within a dataset, individual physical locations or logical subgroupings of data are referred to as stations. To continue the example of stream flow rate measurements, a single stream flow measurement location with a latitude and longitude location would be considered a single station. If that same physical location was also used to record temperature readings, the temperature observations would be a separate station (but sharing the same lat/long coordinates). Within each station, there may be one or more records or observations, each with a value and a date/time. Records may optionally have a file (like a photograph) connected to them.

With the background above, you're now ready to use the View and Download Data tool. Click on the button from the welcome screen, or choose it from the menu at the top of the screen. You will see a screen with four steps. Choose the dataset that interests you, and you will see stations within that dataset. You may then optionally click on stations to see a quick preview of records for that station.

Once you have located the dataset (or station) that you are interested in, click the buttons under Step 4 to download or interact with the dataset. You may download an entire dataset (including all of its stations) at once, or you may download individual station data if you wish to be more specific.

Account Management

Account Settings

Use this tool to change your name, e-mail address, or password.

Data Management

You will only see these features if you are listed as a Data Manager or an administrator.

Import Data

This tool will allow you to upload Excel files containing dataset and station data. The data must be uploaded in a very specific format. Click on the button from the welcome screen or choose it from the top menu, and you will see format instructions complete with sample Excel templates.

After you have prepared your data, if you are uncomfortable with uploading it please send it to an administrator to have it checked over.

Manage External Data Sources

This tool is not currently functional. In the future, the portal may connect to third party data sources.

Administrative Functions

These tools are only available to administrators.

Manage Users

This tool will allow you to create new users, as well as edit existing users. You may use this tool to enable features for a user, make a user a data manager or administrator, or delete users.

At the top of the screen, you may use the Add a New User box to create a new user. If you wish to work with existing users, scroll down to the Existing Users box. Ten users are shown at a time; after that, use the paging controls at the bottom of the list to see more. You may also use the Filter box to limit the users that are displayed. You may limit by any data that is displayed in the table - full name, username, institution, or e-mail address.

If you wish to modify or delete a user, click the Modify button.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a System Administrator.

Thank you!