need graphical view of sampling layout
Sandy Andelman made the following feature request:
I wanted to relay to you a suggestion for Morpho. Based on experience with last
year's set of graduate seminars, trying to work with data from the previous
Waide-Willig working group, and the current seminars to date, we have found that
it is IMPOSSIBLE to decide how to appropriately integrate data from multiple
sources without a schematic diagram of the spatial arrangement of the sampling
In other words, if we don't have a diagram the data are USELESS for integrating
across scales. So right now, we are maintaining information on the spatial
sampling design separately, which is ok for now, but if we want Morpho to be a
tool that is used by ecologists, it will need to have this capability.
Currently, Morpho does not have the capability to incorporate this type of
information. I would like to suggest that this be made a high priority. Given
the increasing emphasis of ecologists on spatial pattern, this seems like an
Please let me know what you think of this idea.
#1 Updated by Matt Jones about 18 years ago
I agree that the sampling design information is critical to any sort of
integration effort. I would argue, however, that it is more than just the
spatial layout -- it should include all of the other aspect of the sampling
design as well, such as frequency. That said, the spatial arrangement of units
is clearly critical.
The question then becomes, how do we represent this information. Right now it
is just part of the eml-protocol and eml-project modules, in that you are
supposed to provide textual descriptions of all of the relevant methods and
design. If we wanted to include a diagram, where would we get it? We could
either import and display one that was made in another application, or we could
modify morpho to allow users to create diagrams. The latter is exceedingly
difficult to do well, and we would really be reinventing the wheel, although
using an external app has the disadvantage of not being an integrated process.
Next comes the question of the format of a diagram. The idea behind EML is that
it is just text, and therefore works very well in a variety of situations, and
is likely to be readable over the long term. Most existing image formats like
PNG and GIF are binary, and therefore require special software to display them.
As such they are much less portable than text. And they would be hard to
integrate into EML. We could use SVG (Scalabale Vector Graphics), which is
open, and text based, but somewhat new, so there are few renderers.
Finally, because this is such critical information, we really need to be able to
machine parse it to make use of it in more advanced tools. Images don't cut it
in this regard. What we REALLY need is a formal, parsable way of describing the
sampling design that we can both transform into an image for display and that
we can use for reasoning about the data for integration.
Overall, this is an incredibly important, and incredibly difficult issue. I
really don't know what the best solution is at this time.
#2 Updated by Dan Higgins almost 18 years ago
Morpho will now display image files saved as data in a data package. Simply save
a GIF or JPEG image file (the formats used used for images in web pages) and set
the format in the eml-physical file to include the text "image", "Image",
"IMAGE", "jpeg", "Jpeg", "JPEG", "gif", "Gif", "GIF", "jpg", or "JPG" and Morpho
will recognize the data as an image and display it instead of a table when
"Show/Edit" button is clicked.
This allows any image to be included as part of a datapackage.
#3 Updated by Matt Jones almost 18 years ago
Sounds like great progress. I've reopened the bug to try and deal with a minor
additional issue. The "format" of the image should included recognition of MIME
types for standard image formats, e.g., "image/gif", and "image/jpeg", etc.
These would be completely standard and unambiguous and are preferred over random
strings like "gif" or "jpeg". Morpho should generate mime types when adding an
image entity. Also need to think about how to set the "other-entity/entityType"
field as well.