Tortoise measurement tracking

Guggie

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Hello! My name is Ryan Guggenheim; I’m a long-time member of the forum, though I mostly use it as a resource, not posting much. I have learned tons from all of the people on this forum. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but have two healthy 5-year old Greek tortoises, Cujo and Tweek, largely thanks to the advice I've received here.

I am an IT professional who is currently out of work, and am using some of my free time teaching myself how to program for the iPhone. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is create a tortoise tracking app that could be used to gather info on my tortoises. I have been working on the app for the last month or so, teaching myself programming as I go, and it’s coming along pretty well. I originally started this as a learning experience, but I think I may have something that others may actually find useful.

In order to make this program - whether it is something I eventually make available or simply use as a learning tool - truly useful, I’d like to get some advice.

Here is what the app is so far.

TortTracker - 1 Main screen.png > Main screen - The first page is a list of Tortoises, each with a photo, name, species and sex (with "Unknown" being an option for sex).
When a tortoise is tapped, it brings you to…

TortTracker - 2 Tortoise detail.png > Tortoise detail page. This is where tortoise-specific info is listed. Photo, Name, Species, Sex, Birth Date, Date Acquired, Location Acquired, and Price are listed here.
At the bottom of the page there is a link to …
TortTracker - 3 Measurements screen.png > Measurements screen. A list of all “measurements” recorded for the tortoise in question. Shown for each measurement is a photo, date, weight and length.
Tap an entry, and it brings you to…
TortTracker - 4 Measurement detail.png > Measurement detail screen. Here, you have a photo, date, weight (g), length (mm), Vet visit? (yes/no), and a text field that allows for a “Health Description” (which could also be used for other notes).​

There are some “special” features.
  • Tortoise names can be duplicated.
  • Deletion of tortoises and measurements is possible.
  • It is possible to take photos directly in the app (makes adding a photo of a tort during a measurement simple), or they can be imported from the phone’s Photo Library.
  • For each tortoise, the user can import a .csv file (comma separated value file) that has previously recorded measurements. This allows for bulk loading of past measurement info - measurement date, weight and length can be added this way (everything but the measurement photo). This is not a simple process - anyone that’s tried to import a file to an app on the iPhone knows it’s not easy. Ideally, it would pull the file from iCloud, but in order to program for that, I need a paid Apple developer account, something that I don’t have at the moment.
So, I have some questions.

1. What other information would you collect? I can think of some things:

At the tortoise level, I could see tracking:
Husbandry Info (tracking parents), but I’m not sure this makes sense - I don’t breed torts, so I’m not sure it’s even possible to tell parentage in most situations.
At the measurement level, I could see tracking:
Temperature Info (basking, warm side, cool side?)
Food? (Not sure how I’d record this… a text box?)
I can also see the ability to track things not specifically related to a single tortoise being useful. Like tracking an incubator. Or perhaps tracking a "pen" ("table", "habitat"), then having each one own one or more tortoises.

Lastly, I can see an analysis function being useful. Either showing graphs (weight / SCL by date), or allowing the export of data, perhaps in the same .csv format as the import format.​
2. Is this something that people would find useful? As I've said, I'm doing this mostly for my own purposes, but if there is interest....:D

Thank you all in advance! I really appreciate any help that you could give me. And thanks again for all of the work you all put into this site, and into helping people like me.
 

Yvonne G

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I like the fact that you have a picture of each tortoise. This is helpful if you ever have one stolen or lost and you now can prove it belongs to you. It's good to also have a family member in the picture, for I.D. purposes.

I keep track of weight, SCL measurement, CCL (curved), width, plastron, tail length and distance between anal scutes. After that, I keep track of anything that happens to the tortoise, for example, nested, #eggs, breeding activity, vet visit, etc.

I have my info on an EXCEL spread sheet, all on one page.
 

wellington

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Between what you already mentioned and the things Yvonne said she keeps track of, sounds like all is covered. I'm lousy at keeping detail records, so the making it very easy and fast to use would help those like me that are bad at record keeping.
 

Guggie

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I keep track of weight, SCL measurement, CCL (curved), width, plastron, tail length and distance between anal scutes. After that, I keep track of anything that happens to the tortoise, for example, nested, #eggs, breeding activity, vet visit, etc.
Thanks for the reply. I have some questions about some of your measurements.
- CCL is interesting - that's the length of the carapace from front to back, along the curve? (I would imagine you use a cloth tape measure to measure this?)
- Width makes sense. I assume it's straight, not curved?
- Plastron - what are you measuring here?
- Tail length - You must have some really patient torts to measure this! How do you go about it? From where to where do you measure?
- Distance between anal scutes - that's from tip to tip?

I have to think about how I would track nested, # eggs, etc. It may be that plain text is the best way, but there may be a "programmatic" way to do so.
 

Guggie

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Between what you already mentioned and the things Yvonne said she keeps track of, sounds like all is covered. I'm lousy at keeping detail records, so the making it very easy and fast to use would help those like me that are bad at record keeping.
Thanks, Wellington. If I add some of the measurements Yvonne suggests, I think I would make them "optional" - able to show them or not based on a setting. They seem pretty specific to me, and not useful to most keepers.
 

Yvonne G

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Thanks for the reply. I have some questions about some of your measurements.
- CCL is interesting - that's the length of the carapace from front to back, along the curve? (I would imagine you use a cloth tape measure to measure this?)
- Width makes sense. I assume it's straight, not curved?
- Plastron - what are you measuring here?
- Tail length - You must have some really patient torts to measure this! How do you go about it? From where to where do you measure?
- Distance between anal scutes - that's from tip to tip?

I have to think about how I would track nested, # eggs, etc. It may be that plain text is the best way, but there may be a "programmatic" way to do so.

CCL - Curved center line, tells you how high a dome the tortoise has
I measure the width on the underside in a straight line
The plastron is measured from the tip of the gular to the tip of the anal scute
The tail is measured from the base of the tail to the tip. Even if the tail is pulled tightly against the body, you can still measure it.
The anal scutes are measured from tip to tip.
 

Scottyoh123

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I like this app a lot maybe through a calender in there so you can insert the date you last measured the little
Guys changed bedding and what not

Would be good for sellers to keep track on purchases and stuff like that also can set up calender so you can throw reminders to order bedding order bulbs and what not :) hope this was helpful
 

Guggie

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I like this app a lot maybe through a calender in there so you can insert the date you last measured the little guys changed bedding and what not

Would be good for sellers to keep track on purchases and stuff like that also can set up calender so you can throw reminders to order bedding order bulbs and what not :) hope this was helpful
Thanks - I'm glad you like it!

I'm not sure about the calendar idea. The date concept is already there, in both the Tortoise and Measurement screens. Since most people measure on a non-regular basis, I don't think showing a calendar would be really useful. However, adding reminders is very interesting. It could remind you when your next vet visit should be, when you should order substrate / bulbs, etc. That would open up a whole new area of tracking that I haven't considered before. I will have to think about that!

To handle bulbs or substrate, I'd have to add a screen, probably for Habitats. It would be something like this...

Habitat Page
Habitat Name
Size (H x W x D)
Temps
Basking
Warm
Cool​
Bulb(s)
Purchase date
Replacement reminder date
UV measurements?​
Substrate
Purchase date
Replacement reminder date​

Something like that...
 

Scottyoh123

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Thanks - I'm glad you like it!

I'm not sure about the calendar idea. The date concept is already there, in both the Tortoise and Measurement screens. Since most people measure on a non-regular basis, I don't think showing a calendar would be really useful. However, adding reminders is very interesting. It could remind you when your next vet visit should be, when you should order substrate / bulbs, etc. That would open up a whole new area of tracking that I haven't considered before. I will have to think about that!

To handle bulbs or substrate, I'd have to add a screen, probably for Habitats. It would be something like this...

Habitat Page
Habitat Name
Size (H x W x D)
Temps
Basking
Warm
Cool​
Bulb(s)
Purchase date
Replacement reminder date
UV measurements?​
Substrate
Purchase date
Replacement reminder date​

Something like that...
:) I'm glad you like my idea You would have to do a lot of research on the coding you need behind it all :) but I'm sure having a widget with pull down menus for each thing for example a bulb drop down once selected will automatically drop a reminder for 6months time say :)
 

Guggie

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:) I'm glad you like my idea You would have to do a lot of research on the coding you need behind it all :) but I'm sure having a widget with pull down menus for each thing for example a bulb drop down once selected will automatically drop a reminder for 6months time say :)
Yeah, but it would have to be configurable, so that people can choose longer or shorter... stuff like that is what makes it a challenge.
 

Cheryl Hills

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I like your idea. I would use something like that. It keeps all the info together and makes it much easier to track your torts needs!
 
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