Recent Updates to ARG Database Search Tool


I have recently updated the way pond information is displayed in the Google Earth files generated alongside database search enquiries. 

The ARG database holds a large number of pond records for Kent (and soon for Lancashire). When a db search is initiated, all waterbodies located within 1 km of the specified grid reference are found and exported as a kml file that can be viewed in Google Earth. 

I have now updated the metadata that is displayed when a pond icon is selected in Google Earth. The metadata now more clearly identifies the information that is displayed. 



Metadata includes the following:

Pond Name: ***NEW*** Highlighted in bold at the top of the metadata window. If a pond has been given a specific name it will now be shown. If no name is available, ponds larger than 2000 sq. m, will be identified as 'Large Pond' and ponds smaller than 50 sq. m will be identified as 'Small Pond'. The database may also identify waterbodies as lakes, moats, garden ponds etc as appropriate. 

Site Name: ***NEW*** If a HSI score has been calculated for the pond, the relevant site name will also be shown. If no HSI score has been calculated, but species records are still available, the site name(s) provided by individual recorders will be shown; note that there may be more than one name listed if recorders use variants of a name to identify a site. Sites that have been recorded as a private residence will be identified as such to protect the privacy of homeowners. The inclusion of site name in the metadata window should help users to more accurately identify the location of specific waterbodies. 

Grid Reference: 10 figure grid reference. 

Area: Size of pond in sq. meters (if available). Note that these values have been calculated automatically from GIS polygons or measured directly during survey assessments. Pond area should be considered an estimate only. 

GCN HSI Score: ***NEW*** If a HSI score has been generated for a pond, the calculated score will be shown. Since HSI scores can change over time, only the most recent HSI score will be revealed (along with the collection year and data provider). 

A quick summary of the GCN HSI methodology is available here. ARG Advice Note 5 more fully explains the collection of HSI data and can be downloaded from the ARG UK website. The document is based on work originally undertaken by Rob Oldham and colleagues that was published in the Herpetological Journal. Rather than use the HSI tool to predict the number of newts in a pond (a practice that is often thwarted by detectability issues, particularly in murky or weedy ponds), the revised HSI Advice Note uses habitat data to predict the likelihood of newts occupying a pond. Modifications to Rob Oldham's original methodology are based on several years of data collection undertaken by Calumma Ecological Services, DICEKRAG and Kent Pond Wardens

*** We are currently developing a spreadsheet that will allow users to submit HSI data. Please let me know if you would like to receive a copy. ***

Available Species Records: All species recorded in the immediate vicinity of the waterbody are listed. Note that this list may include some terrestrial species. The species records will be summarised from all available data (including historical) and may therefore include records collected in a year different to when the HSI Score was generated. 

ARG ID: This is the code that is used to identify each waterbody. Please always quote the ARG ID when enquiring about a specific waterbody. 

Data Provider ***NEW*** : The organisation that provided the GIS information is identified (note that this may be different from the HSI and species data providers). Consultants are starting to supply information about ponds not previously included in the database. All data providers are now identified, with logos displayed. Logos can be clicked on to take a user to the data provider's website. 


As previously, the OS icon can still be clicked to open the pond location in Get-a-Map

Feedback on any of the tools I develop for local conservation groups is always gratefully received!