The Database for Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment is a powerful tool, but sometimes it helps to have an instruction manual. This collection of tutorials walks through some of the common uses of DIMA step-by-step, enabling any user to make use of DIMA’s functions. These tutorials will be updated to continue to match DIMA as database updates become available.
Setting up your database
The first step in being able to use DIMA for data collection is to configure the database with common information that may be used at all plots such as administrative codes, plant species, ecological site names, and user identities. A tutorial can be downloaded here and the slides for the webinar above can be downloaded here.
DIMA is most useful when it can be used to capture data as they’re being gathered in the field. This explains configuring the data collection forms in DIMA and how to enter data into them.
Field data are only useful for analysis and interpretation if they’re sound and accurate. There are steps that users can take with DIMA to help keep errors in data collection and entry to a minimum.
When it comes time to analyze and interpret data, DIMA has multiple kinds of reports for the various data collection methods that it can generate in both Excel and comma-delimited textfile formats.
Like any technique or technology, DIMA is imperfect and occasionally there are errors caused either by bugs in the database or user mistakes. Some of these are documented with solutions users can use to solve their DIMA problems.
It’s not uncommon to have multiple copies of DIMA and to need to move data from one to another. This tutorial outlines the process. Note that this is also currently the method for upgrading to (i.e. moving your data into) the latest version of DIMA.
Users often want to extract spatial data from DIMA for use with GIS software like ArcMap. This walks through the steps necessary to create an Arc software suite shapefile from data contained in DIMA.
When gathering field data, occasionally two separate instances of DIMA are used to capture data. This is the process for merging multiple copies of DIMA together.
In some cases, users will want to import tables of data for use in DIMA. This is the process necessary for importing a table in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.
DIMA has a new form to help with systematic tracking of unknown plants.