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Protocols are standardised ways of collecting data. The methodology to follow depends on each study. Protocols are only available when a Local Portal supports them. Note not all partners support the same protocols.

To access a protocol, an administrator needs to give you access, and the coordinator of the protocol will give you guidelines on how to conduct the survey. You will be responsible to survey the site assigned to you following the protocol guidelines. However, not all partners give you access automatically to the protocol in NaturaList. While you will always have access to protcols assigned to you through local portals, an administrator will have to grant you access to it through NaturaList in some occasions.

Submit observations.

Access the protocol as if entering non protocoled observations (+ icon at the bottom right corner, see right image). You will have as many entries as the number of protocoled census you are registered for. The ones in white are the ones activated for the species list you choose. The ones in grey are linked to another species list and are not activated until you modify it (see image Protocols. Main menu as an example). Click on the protocol you need.




Protocol settings

Before starting to enter data in a protocol, you may have to set some parameters:

  • List of species
Menu > Preferences > Species > Choice of species.

  • Parameters specific to certain protocols.
Menu > Preferences > Protocols (see image below).


List of species

The list of species selected in your device has to be the one from the country the protocol takes place. If your protocol involves more than one taxonomic group, select the appropriate species list for all taxa involved.

For example, if counting birds in Germany under the Waterbird census protocol, your list for birds should be that of Germany. If your protocol involves birds and mammals in France, you should select the french species list for both birds and mammals.

To select the appropriate list go to Menu > Tools > Preferences > Species > Choice of species.

Keyboard settings for mapping

This section will only appear in Menu > Preferences > Protocols if you have access to country-specific protocols using a tablet interface with cartography:

    Breeding Waterbirds
    CBBM in Protected areas
    Common Breeding Bird Survey
    Grey Partridge
    Meadow Birds
    Reed Breeding Species Census
    Semi-Common Territorial Species census
    Shorebirds, Anatidae, Grebes and Coots breeding
    Private Territory Mapping

Choose one of the options to select the configuration of your keyboard (see image Keyboard configuration for mapping).

Keyboard configuration for mapping.

Enter data

Open the menu as for Submitting records and choose Waterbird census (see image below).

Protocols. Main menu.

If you are registered for only one site, you will access directly to the next step: Start of list.
If you have more than one site to survey, it will list all your protocol sites (see image below).

Selecting the protocol site.

1. Sort your protocol site by Site name, National code or Local code.

2. Click on the name to go directly to the next step Start of list.

3. Click on the arrow to get directions to your protocol location. It will open google maps on a new window.

The species list you selected in the device shall be the one of the local portal that grants you access to the protocol.
From the example above (image Protocols. Main menu), the current list of species on the device corresponds to the local partner giving access to Waterbird census (appears in white and is clickable), but not to the local partner giving access to the Territory mapping (appears in grey and is not clickable). To access non active protocols, change the list of species.

To change the list of species go to
Menu > Preferences > Species > Choice of species
(wiki section Mobile interface > Getting started > Preferences > Species > Choice of species).

Start of list

Enter general information before starting the protocol (see image). Fields marked with an asterisk are mandatory. Fields available are protocol dependent and may differ from one country to another, even within the same protocol. Visit wiki section Web interface > Protocols > Preparation and data > Add observations > Starting the protocol for a list of all possible fields.

Starting the list.


You may enter a comment if you find it appropiate.

Record the trace

Check if you want NaturaList to record your track. You will see a reminder to set your GPS on "High precision" and your power saving off for NaturaList. Go to Main menu > Preferences > Location > GPS mode > Continuous (high reactivity) to set the right GPS mode (see wiki section Mobile interface > Getting started > Preferences > Location > GPS Mode on how to do it).

Click OK to continue and check if you wish not to see the reminder again. Check Do not ask again and keep this choice for future entries if you want to set Record the trace as the default option (see image below). Click OK to continue without setting Record the trace as the default option.

Check to set Record the trace as the default option.

After synchronisation, visualise your track at the local portal by:

Download your trace after synchronisation as described in Web interface > Export your data > Exporting your trace.

Hide all records from the public

Check if you want to keep your records privately. This will not prevent administrators to see them and contact you if necessary, but other users of NaturaList will not see your records.

No species were seen

Check if your survey did not provide any data. Surveys with no species are also important results! It will mean you followed the established methodology, and therefore your survey is valid, but no birds were present. They can indicate major population changes and are of extreme importance for conservation purposes.

    "My survey did not provide any data"
    Surveys with no species are also important results! Please submit them.
    It will mean you followed the established methodology but no birds were present. It can be due to meteorology, disturbance, pollution or other major population changes and may be of extreme importance for conservation purposes.

Click Next when done.

Entering records

Enter observations as if with a detailed list.


It opens a map with your position (yellow smiley in the image below). Place the red marker where the individual, or group of individuals, are observed. If you have other observations that you would like to report, pause the ongoing protocol (pause icon on top bar, see image) and enter data as you are used to (all the options as explained in the wiki Mobile interface> Naturalist for Android > Submitting records).

Protocol. Place.

1. Pause
2. Observation
3. Observer
4. Hide / unhide summary

After entering the first record, activate/deactivate (active when orange, inactive when yellow) the summary icon to see species name and associated information from already entered records (see image below). Click on the notebook icon at the bottom to see a list of all records on the ongoing protocol. Know more about the summary of species in a map at wiki section Mobile interface > Navigating the map > Understanding a summary of observations.

Protocol. Summary of observations.

To see how to navigate the map, see wiki section Navigating the map.

    The Red Marker indicates the position of your observation. The Smiley indicates your position. When the smiley gets yellow, the GPS has detected your position. Check how accurate the reading is on the top left corner (image Navigating the map). Always check your position on the map. Please place the red marker at your observation, not at your position. Be as accurate as possible.


Enter species 'by search' or using protocol shortcuts when available, as explained in wiki section Mobile interface > Entering records > Directly in the field > Step 2: Species.

See wiki section Mobile interface > Shortcuts to learn more about shortcuts and how to create them.

Number of individuals

Enter number of individuals and precision count.

Visit Mobile interface > Entering records > Directly in the field > Number of individuals if necessary.

    Entering records using a counter could be useful for abundant species that are not grouped.

Extra protocol

Enter additional information regarding nests.

Visit wiki section Mobile interface > Submitting records > Directly in the field (+) > Additional information > Extra protocol for details.


Enter additional information as if with a detailed list.

See wiki section Mobile interface > Submitting records > Directly in the field (+) > Step 4: Additional information on how to do it, if necessary.

When done, click Save. It will take you to the Place screen to continue entering observations.

Ending the list

To finish the survey,

1. Stop recording: click the stop icon at the top right corner of the Place screen. You will be prompted to confirm (see image below).

Ending the list.

1.Stop recording

2. Adjust time: If necessary, adjust starting or ending time by clicking on the time button. See wiki section Mobile interface > Submitting records > Later > Date/Time to know how to modify the clock.

3. Fill in / modify details: Add or modify a comment if necessary, or enter additional information when requested.

4. Choose type of list: Indicate which type of list you recorded. Visit Various > Glossary to know he meaning of each of them, if necessary.

Ending the list. Final adjustments.

2. Adjust tiime
3. Fill in/modify details
4. Choose type of list

Remember to synchronise your data as soon as possible after entering to avoid loosing it.

Editing records and/or protocols

To edit records within a protocol, or to edit the protocol's general parameters, visit wiki section Mobile interface > Editing records > Editing protocols.

Deleting records and/or protocols

To delete records within a protocol, or to delete the whole protocol, visit wiki section Mobile interface > Editing records > Deleting protocols.

Browsing records

See your protocolled records:

  • Before synchronisation
In the phone. See more details in wiki section Accessing your own records.

  • After synchronisation
In Mine. See more details in wiki section Accessing your own records.
In Under verification (only if any data of the protocol needs more information)
In the local portal. Go to the corresponding local portal, Menu > Explore > All my observations.