Instructions: Visual-flora Start
(©H G Jones; email@example.com)
Access to the key:
On the Web:
From the visual-flora.org.uk home web-page there is direct access to the system. Note that the on-line system uses low resolution images to speed access, but higher resolution versions can be seen by clicking on these images.
Downloaded to Smartphone/Tablet/Laptop:
If the files are required to be downloaded for use off-line (e.g. on a smartphone or tablet), or for high-quality images on a computer, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for details of access to the files. Technical aspects of installation are outlined below.
Tips for Identification:
- Identification can be based on Flower colour/shape or on Leaf characters (usually concentrating on the lower leaves, as leaf shape can change substantially from the lower to upper leaves).
- Although the key is largely visual - important information on choices is often given in text and key diagnostic characters are often listed with each species.
- Direct links to families, genera and species are available using the 'Index' button at bottom of screen; there is also a link to a 'Glossary' for unfamiliar words (a list of Abbreviations is included at the beginning of the Glossary).
- Once in the species view - clicking on pictures expands them (further expansion is possible by pinching (with touch sensitive screens), otherwise use zoom.
- Links to possibly confused species are frequently included - follow by clicking on the images or links provided.
- Where appropriate keys plants in a key are ordered according to size.
- In most browsers (but not iPad/iPhones), further information about each photo may be found in the address bar (or a pop-up window) - depending on the browser used.
- Always look through all options in a box before choosing.
Tips for Navigation:
- Click on the most similar image from a screen to focus the identification down towards the species of interest. (Note that it may be necessary to scroll downwards to see all options to be selected from at any one time.)
- Some options send you to the top of a genus, scroll down to see other possible spp.. (Sometimes it may be useful to go to the top of the family to find other similar plants).
- Use the 'back' button (<) on browser to go back to a page (or swipe left or right on a Mac to go back or forward a page).
- It is possible to go directly back to Home, or to the Top of the gamily using the buttons provided at bottom of the screen. One can scroll freely up or down in a family. Note that within a family, genera are generally ordered alphabetically, as are species within a genus. (A few families, e.g. Asteraceae, are split into more than one file, to speed access.)
- Initial images in the web-version are reduced in size - high resolution versions are available by clicking on images (when down at the species level).
- When using a Smartphone it may be best to use in landscape mode.
Changing Font size:
- Should be adjustable on the display device used (e.g. in Android go to Settings/Display/Font size; on Windows ctl+ or ctl-; on a Mac use cmd+ or cmd-); on an iPad go to Settings/'Display and Brightness' and adjust from there.
Technical aspects of installation on Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, etc.:
Installation: - Windows or Mac computers
1. Paste the link provided to 'visual-flora' into the browser, this will open OneDrive, sign in to your OneDrive account (or register if necessary). 'visual-flora' should then appear under 'Shared folders'; add this to your OneDrive by selecting the folder and clicking Add to my OneDrive (note this will not take up any of your personal OneDrive storage space). To Sync this to your computer so that a copy is stored for rapid offline use, install the OneDrive app, click on the Onedrive (Cloud) Icon in the menu bar. Click on Preferences or Settings (may be found under 'More'), select the Account tab, select Choose folders, and ensure 'visual-flora' is selected. This directory should then appear in Explorer. This should keep your computer up-to-date with the latest version as long as the App is running.
2. Once 'visual-flora' is available, just navigate to the top directory ('visual-flora'), select index.html and click to open.
Installation: - Android
1. Generally the easiest approach is to use OneSync (AutoSync for OneDrive from Playstore). A Microsoft OneDrive account is necessary to access 'visual-flora'; if not already registered, register for a OneDrive account. Assuming that you have received the link in an email, click on the 'View in OneDrive' button and the visual-flora directory should open, select the visual-flora directory, next add this to your own OneDrive account (either using the tab above the file listings or for mobiles by clicking on the three dots).
2. The next step is download 'visual-flora' (which requires nearly 3GB free space) to your Android using OneSync (Autosync for OneDrive - install this App first from Google Play). Open OneSync, allow access to storage if necessary, use the button to Connect to your OneDrive account, sign in. Choose Create Test Folder pair. In OneSync select the Synced folders tab, enable Autosync, click on the panel below and change Remote folder to /visual-flora (or the location of the visual-flora folder in OneDrive), set Sync method to Download mirror, Save. Click on the circular arrows to start the sync process. Under Settings (accessed from the three dots) ensure that Internet connection is set to WiFi and Ethernet only. It may take some hours to complete (depending on the speed of the connection).
3. Open in a web Browser. In Android it is useful to have a suitable File explorer such as 'Astro' or 'ES File Explorer' installed to aid the browsing. For example, using ES File Explorer, browse to the appropriate file (index.html) in the visual-flora directory, long press on the file, click on the three vertical dots, Open As/Other/then choose Opera (not Opera mini - install from PlayStore first!). Where the data is stored on an SD card, I recommend using Opera as some other browsers (e.g. Safari and Chrome) cannot access a secondary SD card in Android).
Alternative access from browsers:
Open chosen browser and enter the address of the index.html file (e.g. file:///Users/(..directory location..)/visual-flora/index.html - where "(..directory location..)" indicates the placing of the programme in the local file directory) and follow instructions.
In practice, on Android tablets or smartphones the address may look like:-
Installation: - iOS (iPhone/iPads):
Note that with current browsers the behaviour with iOS is not ideal and takes some practice to operate effectively - largely because back commands are unreliable going to inappropriate places in the file system on occasion.
1. Download 'Documents 6'. Because the native 'Safari' browser does not have access to downloaded files (which must be associated with an App), iPhones/iPads require the installation of an App (from the App Store) such as 'Documents 6' (or Goodreader - see below) to transfer and open the files. In 'Documents 6' go to Settings and ensure that Browser is enabled, and set to Google Chrome (it may need installing first).
2. Access the files. Open OneDrive (first sign up for an account if you do not have one), then click the link provided (if necessary request from email@example.com) to upload the files to your account (this may be easiest on a laptop computer). Add visual-flora to your Onedrive account. On an iPad, add the OneDrive account to the left hand pane of the 'Documents 6' window (under "in the Cloud" (+Add)), then click on the visual-flora directory and then Sync - this will transfer files to the handset (though will take a long time and is best done via WiFi). The screen is somewhat different in an iPhone - here go to the Services tab at bottom of screen, add your OneDrive account, click on this to show the files in it until Visual-flora is visible, click on Edit, select the tick box, Done. Then at the bottom click on Sync. After all files have been synched (may take 24 hours or so), go into the Documents tab, select Synced files, select the Visual-flora directory, scroll to the bottom and open the index.html (or Home.html).
3. Operation. When downloaded, in the left-hand pane of 'Documents', choose 'Synched folders', browse to the visual-flora directory, scroll down to index.html and click on it to open, click on START (this allows use of the back button to return to Home).
[Alternative for (iPhone/iPads) - use Goodreader:
1. Download Goodreader from App Store; under settings/general ensure Downloads folder is enabled; go to Connect, click on Add (under Connect to servers)/OneDrive, enter name, click on the new Server, Sign in to OneDrive, yes, select visual-flora folder, sync, proceed, select target folder, click on +folder, enter name of target folder/OK, click on 'Download here & synchronise', on the next window ensure that Download only sync is selected.]
2. To operate, browse to the downloaded folder in LH pane, browse down to index.html, click on it to open, click on START]
To start the programme - click on Start