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Sign Up and Set Up a Project

The first things to do are to create your MERMAID account and set up or join a project.

A) Sign up for an account

• Sign up at https://collect.datamermaid.org 

• You can choose ‘sign up with Google’ to use an existing Gmail account and associated password or enter a different email and create a password specific for MERMAID. Your account will be linked to your email.

• Only users who have a MERMAID account can be added to a project and collect data on MERMAID

Join MERMAID at www.collect.datamermaid.org. MERMAID is only supported by Google Chrome browser and will not function with other browsers, like Explorer or Firefox.

After signing up you will receive a confirmation email to verify your new account. You can access your profile information by clicking on the avatar in the upper right corner of any page. Here you can view and change your email and name:

If you forget your unique password for MERMAID, click ‘Don’t remember your password?’ on the login page to receive an email with a link to reset your password.

If you signed up for MERMAID using Google and forgot your Gmail password, you must reset your password through Gmail.

B) Set up a project and add users

A project consists of transect observation records that are collected within a set of sites that have defined management regimes. Each project includes users who can collect and view data.

A new project can only be created while online. To create, click ‘Start Project’

1. Details:

A name is required for every new project. All other information can be added or edited later

2. Add users:

Enter the email addresses for users involved in the project and select their roles. All users must be signed up for a MERMAID account before they can be added to a project.

The project creator is automatically the administrator (‘admin’) of the project. Other users will default to the collector role when added and can be changed to admin or read-only by selecting the appropriate role from the dropdown. Additional users can be added or deleted by the administrator after a project is created.

The scope of each role is as follows:

  • Read-only: user can only view, export, and analyze data in the analysis tools, but cannot collect new observations
    • i.e. a project manager who is in charge of writing reports or analyses but is not collecting data in the field
  • Collect: user can view, export, and analyze data, and collect new observations. Once a transect is submitted, user can no longer edit or delete observations.
    • i.e. a member of the project team who is tasked with collecting data
  • Admin: user has full administrative privileges to add and edit observations during collection and after transects have been submitted. Admins can also delete observations.
    • i.e. typically one person designated as the lead of the project

If a user must leave a project or reaches the end of their position, their data can be transferred to other users within a project. This can be done within a project by using the lefthand admin toolbar. Simply select ‘transfer sample units’, then indicate the user from the project whom you would like to transfer the collect records to. Users can also be removed from a project on this page. If a user still has active collect records in their “collecting” page, be sure to transfer records prior to removing them from the project.

3. Select Sites:

This is an optional step that allows you to choose from sites that are already in the MERMAID system. These may be sites that you or your organization are monitoring and have used before in previous surveys. If you are surveying new sites they must be added after you creating your new project; select “Skip” at the bottom of the page to move on.

The ‘Search bar allows you to filter the list by site name, country, or project name. Click the check box next to any site you would like to add to your project, then click the “Copy selected to Project” button at the bottom of the page. A map at the bottom of the page also displays where the site is located with a red dot.

How to add a new site after creating a project

There are two ways to add a new site to a project after it is created:

  1. Under “Sites” in the left toolbar within a project, add a new site at the top of the page
  2. Within a transect, enter a new site in the site field with the “+” button and fill in all details

4. Select Management:

This is an optional step that allows you to choose from management types that are already in the MERMAID system. A management regime is the type of regulations and restrictions placed on an area that a survey site is in.These may be management regimes from sites that you or your organization are monitoring and have used before in previous surveys and selecting them here to add to projects can save you time. 

If you are surveying sites with a new management regime,or if your site’s management regime has been changed, it must be added after creating your new project select “Skip” at the bottom of the page to move on. The ‘Filter’ bar allows you to search the list by management name, secondary name, year established, or project name. Click the check box next to any management type you would like to add to your project, then click the “Copy selected to project” button at the bottom of the page.

How to add new management after creating a project

There are two ways to add new management to a project after it is created:

  1. Under “Management Regimes” in the lefthand toolbar within a project, add a new management regime and navigate with the “New MR” button at the top of the page
  2. Within a transect, enter new management regime in the management field at the top of the page by clicking the “+” button, and fill in all details

5. Data Sharing:

MERMAID is committed to working collectively as a community of researchers and reef managers to use the power of data to make faster, better decisions. Coral reef monitoring data is collected with the intent of advancing coral reef science and improving management. We recognize the large effort to collect data and your sense of ownership. While not required, we hope you choose to make your data available to fuel new discoveries and inform conservation solutions.

Choosing a data policy for your project determines how much of your project’s data can be shared with other users to facilitate global collaboration and understanding of coral reef health via future global dashboard features in MERMAID. It can be chosen for fish belt data and for benthic data, which can have different levels of sharing. Your data policy level can be changed at any time after creating a project.

The three policy levels are:

Public summary – Collected observations are private, but site-level summary statistics are public, along with metadata for project, protocol and site. This option is the default.

Public – All collected observations are public.

Private – Collected observations and site-level summary statistics are private, but metadata for project, protocol, and site, including site location and type and count of sample unit at each site, are public.

If you are creating a project to practice using MERMAID or train others, you can indicate this with the checkbox at the bottom of the page. Data added for a test project will be omitted from all public reporting.

6. Review

Review the summary of all the users, sites, management regimes, and data sharing that you selected for your project.

You can delete any of these selections by clicking the red “x” next to their names, and you can return to each page to add additional information by selecting “Previous” at the bottom or by clicking the page tabs at the top.

An admin can add additional users, sites, and management regimes and change the data sharing after a project is created by using the left-hand toolbar within a project.

Click “Create” to complete your new project!

Projects page

Click the left-hand “MERMAID” icon or the right-hand “Projects” icon in the header of any page to go to your main “Projects” page at any time. The Projects page lists all the projects you have created in MERMAID or have been added to as a collector or read-only user.

If you are an admin for a project, you can edit the project by clicking on the project name and choosing a section to edit in the left toolbar. Here you can change project info, remove or add additional users, create new sites and management regimes, and change your data sharing.

Project details can only be edited while online.

C) Prepare for Offline Use

Before heading to the field, there are a few steps that must be followed to ensure you are able to enter data offline.

Be sure to follow each step carefully prior to your expedition:

  1. Make an account
  2. Click the “refresh” icon in the footer to make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the app
  3. A project admin must create the project
  4. The project admin must add all other users to the project. Optionally, copy or add sites and management regimes before going to the field
  5. Ensure that the cloud icon to the right of each project in the project list that you will use offline is green. If it is not green, click the grey icon or simply click on the project to enter it to make sure data is available offline.
  6. Test offline access by turning off your Wi-Fi, restarting Chrome, and entering test data to your project

When using MERMAID offline, make sure you use the full application address: https://collect.datamermaid.org — you cannot just type collect.datamermaid.org’.