How to create iSpot keys

We are running two single-day Biodiversity Fellowship courses on creating new iSpot online keys.

1. Preston Montford Field Centre, Saturday November 30th 2013, 10 am to 4 pm

2. Open University, Milton Keynes, Wednesday 26th February 2014 10 am to 4 pm. (Note that this was originally due to held on 6th.)

We are now taking bookings now for the Milton Keynes course on Wednesday February 26th. To book your place, please contact Rich Burkmar.

A very successful course ran at Preston Montford in November. One of the Preston Montford course participants - Morgan Bowers - created an example test key for a small set of Andrena bees (males with a pale clypeus).

iSpot keys are a new, easy to use method of identifying animals and plants with the aid of a computer or mobile. They suggest the species in your area that best match what you have found.

The workshops show you how to construct new iSpot keys to help others to identify species. If you know about a group of species and can describe a set of characters for each of those species, then you have the information to make a new key. Just fill in a table, upload it to iSpot, and our software will do the rest. To make the key more user friendly, you can include images (either links to photos already on iSpot or your own new ones), additional text to describe species, and a glossary to illustrate characters.

Don't worry if you don't have a ready-made idea for a key - you can learn the principles without this. Please bring a laptop if you have one, plus any reference material for a group of species that you are interested in.

There is no charge for the course. Please bring your own packed lunch.

To try out the keys and to read more about how they work, go to

FSC Biodiversity Fellows is funded by the Defra Fund for Biodiversity in the Voluntary Sector administered by Natural England.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith