For Site Admins

[Note: All information below was created solely for support of the 2012–13 DFS sandbox, and is likely no longer current.]

Each participating DFS institution has one or more admins who oversee all related use. Below are some guidelines and hints to help you, and feel free to contact us if questions.

The On Your Computer page gives help to users on how to register, configure their profile, etc. Site admins should ensure the following:

  • Users are properly registered, and there are no extraneous users from your institution
  • Pending users from your institution (i.e., those who have registered but have not yet been confirmed) are confirmed by you
  • Public information on the profile (currently limited to the Website URL field for non-logged in participants) is appropriate
  • The user avatar is appropriate

It is common for students to forget that they are doing public communication when they do a post. You will have the ability to edit all posts—and you certainly can contact students and have them edit their own posts! (But don’t wait too long for them if it’s time-sensitive, e.g. an erroneous post that shows up on the DFS home page.) Here is a list of things to keep in mind:

  • Check the title and post text for spelling/grammar and good communication
  • Check to make sure that all appropriate categories have been checked (note: we are not primarily using tags given mobile device entry error and lack of hierarchy; please delete or contact us if needed)
  • Check to make sure any geotagged posts are done properly, and that the geotag map is appropriately formatted

A final item, and a request. Any attached media (images, movies, documents, etc.) should include your institutional media tag. Students have been instructed to do (see On Your Computer item #3) but they often forget, and it’s impossible to do via the WordPress app interface. But it’s easy for you to go in and fix this: go to the Media Library on your dashboard, check the images you want to edit, under Bulk Actions click Media-Tags, then Apply, then add tags accordingly! You will often find students uploading redundant images etc…you can see on the page what they’re attached to, and if they’re unattached you can probably delete them. Please do make sure and keep your corner of the media library tidy!

As an admin, you have the ability to author new pages and edit existing pages. You’ll most likely need to do this for your institutional project, and we can provide guidance. Here are a few hints:

  • You start a new page just like a new post: choose New > Page from the admin bar at top of screen (when logged in)
  • Also just like posts, you may edit in WYSIWYG or HTML; if you are using a bunch of shortcodes or PHP (below) the latter is preferable
  • Shortcodes are WordPress-based codes inserted in [square brackets] that are interpreted/executed when the page is loaded. For quick background, see here. Most shortcodes are theme- or plugin-specific. Here are some you may wish to use:
    • Formatting shortcodes are supported via our Nexus theme.
    • Map shortcodes are provided by our MapPress Pro plugin; see here for some basic ones, and here for mashup map shortcode.
    • Slider shortcode is provided by our SliderVilla plugins; see here for the appropriate usage guide (we currently have Roster and Thumbel).
  • PHP is also supported on DFS pages via the PHP Execution plugin (which works fine despite not being updated in awhile). This allows full use of PHP, especially so as to include the plethora of available WordPress functions.
When you’ve finished authoring a new page, please contact us as we’ll need to add it to your institutional submenu, which we code on the right sidebar of your institutional pages and posts.

The project form you filled out for your institutional project was created via WordPress’ custom post functionality. We have installed the Custom Post Type UI plugin to define new custom post types, and the Advanced Custom Fields plugin to populate these custom posts with new fields. Both plugins have been extensively deployed on our SGE site with good results.

There could be a reason for your institution/project to define a new custom post type. Here are some possibilities:

  • You may want a consistent format to display a number of similar pages (e.g., mapping projects for a number of sites)
  • You may want to define a form for field data collection, to guide fieldwork and ensure consistency.
  • You may want students to do a comparison exercise, build a portfolio, or otherwise work with (and refer to) posts found here
Here is a barebones outline of the process you’ll follow to create a custom post:
  1. Using Custom Post Type, create a new custom post type in DFS
  2. Using Advanced Custom Fields, add/arrange fields in this new custom post type
  3. Create a display template for your custom post (single-CustomPostTypeName.php, an edited version of the default single.php), which we will help you store in the theme root directory; optionally, create an archive template (for summary display of multiple posts)
We can assist with the above process; feel free to be in touch.

It is easy to export your WordPress posts; just go to Tools > Export, choose Posts, and select your institutional category and other options. It’s more difficult, however, to export only your MapPress geocode metadata; we can readily share with you the entire MapPress table on our SQL database and when you import your posts they will align. Soon we hope to offer a simple way to export MapPress metadata in CSV or KML format for display elsewhere (e.g., in Omeka/Neatline) or for GIS analysis (as KML readily translates into shapefile format). Please contact us for assistance as needed.

Here is some extra DFS-related information on geolocation you may wish to consider.

  • Mobile device geolocation accuracy
    • Geolocation works more or less the same on Android vs. iOS devices: they both detect the U.S. GPS satellite network (some Androids and all newer iOS devices use the Russian GLONASS network as well), and enhance GPS connection speed and accuracy if cellular and /or wireless connectivity are available. Location is also determined via known cell/wifi network geometry.
    • Here’s a wonky overview for Android devices, and a more consumer-grade overview for iOS, plus this one for iOS 6; note that the wifi-only iPad doesn’t have geolocation capabilities outside of wireless triangulation.
    • For iOS, there’s a small external plug-in GPS available from Bad Elf that improves positional accuracy, especially when offline; here’s another one from Emprum. Also, a number of external GPS devices on the market connect with iOS or Android devices via Bluetooth.
    • Here’s an app you can install on iOS that checks your GPS signal; unfortunately the iOS location API doesn’t allow you to check strength of contributing satellites as you’d do on a standard GPS, though you can do that with an external GPS.
    • Bottom line: if you have a recent mobile device and have enabled its location services, you can use it for geolocated fieldwork. And there have been some tests of geolocation accuracy using iOS and Android devices: generally they’re satisfactory for most purposes, assuming your GPS signal is good.
  • PDFMaps. One of the apps mentioned on our In the Field page is PDF Maps, available for iOS devices for free. PDF Maps could be a really useful DFS tool: you may use any georeferenced base map you wish (e.g., a geological map or historical air photo); then enter data for placemarks at your location, including attributes common to all placemarks; then export this data in a number of formats. Here is one possible workflow:
    1. Upload your basemap
      • Start with a georeferenced image in ArcMap. (If it’s not georeferenced, rectify it first.) Add it to a new map, then export the map as a GeoTIFF: go to File > Export Map, choose TIFF type and make sure Write Geo TIFF Tags is checked.
      • Connect your iOS device to iTunes, then click Apps and go to the File Sharing window. Drag one or more GeoTIFFs onto PDF Maps.
      • Launch PDF Maps, choose Maps at upper left, then (+) at upper right. Click “From iTunes File Sharing,” and select your GeoTIFF file. PDF Maps will automatically convert it and add as a basemap you can select.
    2. Head out into the field!
      • You don’t need cellular or wireless connectivity; you just need GPS capabilities (see above for overview).
      • Click the Location arrow at lower left to track where you’re at, and the Placemark icon at lower left to add a placemark. Then you can add attribute fields/data and so forth.
    3. When you’re done (in the field and/or back home)
      • Click the Manage Placemarks icon at lower right, where you can export them in e.g. KML or CSV format via email, iTunes, or DropBox.
      • For ready display on DFS, simply post your KML file as an attachment. Then you can link to this KML file posting using the MapPress plugin!
      • If multiple students are in the field, each with their own mobile device, you can readily merge KML files in Google Earth, or CSV data in Excel
      • For GIS analysis, go to File > Add Data > Add XY Data… in ArcMap 10, then import your CSV file. If it imports correctly, all your fields will be stored as attributes. Then continue with your analysis and mapping.


Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219