Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘identification’

Filtered Push team visits ASU to develop remote identification module in SCAN

David Lowery and Paul Morris of the Filtered Push project visited the Franz Lab at ASU from January 6-10, 2014, for a focused Filtered Push/Symbiota hackathon. Ed Gilbert was also present. All enjoyed an intense week of specifying and implementing workflows, schemas, and new components in SCAN (and ultimately Symbiota) to search, display, and annotate images for remote identification and label transcription. The results will gradually come live, starting later this month.

Announcing The Weevil Course 2014

From August 05-13, 2014, the second installment of The Weevil Course will be held at the wonderful AMNH Southwestern Research Station located in the Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona. Applications can be received through the SWRS course website. Photos from the 2012 Course are posted here.


Weevil Course 2012 Instructors: Greg Setliff, Nico Franz, Anthony Cognato, Robert Anderson, and Charles O’Brien.

Read more

Preparing interactive keys in SCAN

This post is in development, and using the relevant links requires specific contributor access rights [read: presently only for internal group use].

  1. SCAN homepage
  2. Key character creation & editing
  3. Creating key character headings
  4. Coding characters – mass updating
  5. Coding characters for a specific checklist
  6. Arthropods of North America Checklist

More developments soon.

TDWG 2013: SCAN – Leveraging Filtered Push Technology to Enhance Remote Taxonomic Identifications

Presentation slides are now posted for the TDWG 2013 SCAN talk.

Franz Et Al. SCAN – Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network: Leveraging Filtered Push Technology to Enhance Remote Taxonomic Identifications from taxonbytes

Date: 2013-10-29 02:45 PM – 02:50 PM


SCAN – the Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network ( – is the first regional arthropod biodiversity data network that utilizes the Symbiota software platform ( Since its origin in 2012 SCAN has unified and newly created specimen-level occurrence records on-line pertaining to nearly 15 south-western United States arthropod collections; including more than 515,000 records that represent some 18,000 species. However, due to the disproportionately mismatched diversity versus taxonomic expertise for the region and focal taxa, at least one third of the specimens are not identified (authoritatively or otherwise) to the level of species, with concomitant limitations for derivative taxonomic or evolutionary/ecological research. The member collections are typically separated from each other geographically by distances that prohibit frequent interactions with regional or global experts, except in virtual realm. SCAN has therefore implemented a Filtered Push (FP) based service ( whose primary purpose is to connect high-quality imaged of yet insufficiently identified specimens with suitable experts who can provide identifications remotely. This is achieved through the FP-server system which both records these contributions externally and pushes them back into the source Symbiota platform for review, acceptance, or rejection by the respective collection/node leaders. SCAN is therefore primed to utilize FP at a large scale and with a well circumscribed focal purpose that is relevant to the specific needs of this collections network. We illustrate the SCN/FP workflow, underlying concepts and technology, and current state of implementation and usage. FP allows experts to gradually accumulate credit and “reputations” for their identification contributions, and thus represents a promising means to improve data quality through transparent and distributed expert involvement and attribution.

New Digital Identification Tool: Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Identification Technology Program (ITP) announced the release of a new digital identification tool: “Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae” on Monday, September 30, 2013. This tool, authored by Dr. James Hayden of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods and Dr. Sangmi Lee of the Hasbrouck Insect Collection, focuses on 24 species in two specific groups of microlepidoptera – Gelechioidea and Pyraloidea – which represent the largest radiations of microlepidopterans feeding on Solanaceae, with a disproportionately large number of economically important species. The key in this tool is a matrix-based digital key developed using the Lucid software. See the office announcement here: Microlepidoptera announcement FINAL 09_30_2013

Using SCAN to construct a virtual checklist and key

Presentation Notes for the Arthropod Biodiversity Sessions held on September 19, 2013, at the 12th Biennial Conference of Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau, Northern Arizona University.

Using SCAN to Construct an Arthropod Checklist – Preliminary Insights from the “Weevils of North America” Project

Nico Franz, Michael Shillingburg & Sarah Shirota Read more

SCAN acquires Filtered Push capability

Pending final database settings adjustments on the iDigBio servers, SCAN is set to become the first major biodiversity data portal to facilitate “smart” expert annotations using Filtered Push semantics and technology. Thanks to the wonderful team at Harvard University including Maureen Kelly, Paul Morris, and David Lowery, we can now (1) “flag” imaged yet under-identified SCAN specimens as such, (2) assign them to experts connected to our virtual environment, (3) have them perform annotations and identifications, and (4) record these updates both inside SCAN and in the external Filtered Push environment. The annotations are embedded in an ontology and can be propagated to other Filtered Push compatible platforms, such as Specify –

The general workflow is outlined here:

In the coming weeks there will be a good bit of tweaking and optimizing, and a need to serve up many pertinent images and recruit testers. That said we now have a very powerful and pioneering annotations system available for use and promotion.