Field season preparation can begin as soon as the budget for a project has been allocated, and can overlap with the design phase. To prepare for the field season, you will need to hire a crew, purchase all of the necessary field equipment, evaluate the sample points, and secure spots for crew members at a field methods training.
Crew hiring should begin 3-6 months before data collection is scheduled to begin. If help with other field season preparation activities is desired consider having the crew lead start earlier than the other technicians. Additional things to consider prior to initiating the hiring process are crew member housing and transportation options. If you are able to provide housing or a BLM vehicle for field work, you may have more hiring options than if you are not able to provide these items.
Work with your AIM State lead to determine your hiring options. Crew members can be hired either through contracting, an assistance agreement or the federal hiring system.
Click here to see a list of hiring tips from former project leads.
Equipment lists (right click to open in new window, then download):
If you are planning on collecting data from supplemental indicators, you may need additional equipment that is not included in the equipment lists.
Tablets and electronic data capture software
Different types of tablets and software are used for terrestrial and aquatic AIM data collection.
The Terrestrial AIM Team at the National Operations Center (NOC) strongly encourages individual field offices to purchase their own tablets. See the Terrestrial Master Equipment List for more details on tablet specifications.
Terrestrial AIM data are collected using the Survey123 and Field Maps applications.
Sometimes it is necessary to supplement electronic data with paper data sheets if a tablet crashes or is temporarily unavailable. Note that paper data sheets should not be used in lieu of electronic data capture and should be used for backup only. Data sheets can be found in the appendices of the Monitoring Manual for Grassland, Shrubland, and Savanna Ecosystems.
The lotic AIM data collection application is designed to run on iPad systems.
Lotic AIM data is collected using the Survey123 and Field Maps applications. All lotic AIM data should be collected using these applications, and printable data forms should also be carried as a back-up during surveys.
The Lotic Technology and Applications Manual will assist those collecting Lotic AIM data in downloading and signing in to our communication and data collection applications, using Survey123 and Field Maps, sharing files and communicating with Team Members, preparing maps for field visits, field evaluation and data collection, and backing up and submitting data.
More information on iPad and data collection application use can be found in the Lotic Data Management and QAQC Protocol. Crews should read this document thoroughly prior to collecting data and consult it throughout the field season as questions arise. The Lotic AIM Data Management Protocol illustrates and describes the main user interface and data entry workflow of Survey123 and Field Maps.
Helpful Documents and Links