How to submit records to the Virtual Museum

Do you love all things biodiversity? Do you love photography? Do you love exploring new places? And do you love nature and the great outdoors? Then you are a key candidate to become a BioMAPper (and a generally awesome person). So, how do you go about becoming a BioMAPper? In this blog I will explain step-by-step how you can make your photos count for biodiversity conservation in Africa.

Step 1: Register (or check if you are registered) as a BioMAPper

Step 2: Once you are registered, you can login to the Virtual Museums website at, click on the “LOGIN” tab on the left-hand side of your screen and login with the email that you registered with and the password that you created for yourself (if, after registration, you get a message on your screen that tells you to wait for an email, please ignore this, your registration is instant and you can login to the Virtual Museum right away).

Step 3: On the left-hand side of your screen click on “Data Upload” (see photo below), a form appears. It is a two page form. The first page collects the information, and the second page uploads the photos.

Step 3: click on “Data upload”

Step 4: Fill in data capture form (see photo below). All areas of the data capture that are marked with * are required fields. These are: Year, Month, Day, Country, Closest Town, Locality, Latitude, Longitude, and the Source of your GPS coordinates. If you do not have the GPS coordinates you can use the interactive Google Map provided and pinpoint the area where you took the photo(s) (i.e. find the general area, zoom in repeatedly, and click on the map to place a marker on the map, trying to be as accurate as possible). If you use the Google Map, the operation of clicking on the map will automatically provide the coordinates at the bottom of the data capture form. After completing this form click on “Save” at the bottom to save all the location information, and to move onto the second form. (Handy Tip: you can save locations that you visit often as a “Gazetteer”. You do this by filling in all the necessary location details as normal and then creating a name for your gazetteer in the field labeled “Gazetteer locality name” and then clicking on “Save”… time you upload photos you can just select the gazetteer locality name from your saved list)

Step 4: the data capture form
If you did not take the GPS coordinates while out in the field, you can use the interactive Google Map in the data capture form to pinpoint your record(s)

Step 5: Select the project to which you want to submit your photo/photos. Upload your photos and click on “Submit” at the bottom of the form. After your photo(s) have finished uploading to the database, you will receive a confirmation on screen of the submission. You can load up to three photos per record (please note that one species = one record). The form makes provision for three records at the site described on the first form (If you just have one record to submit then you just skip over the provision for records two and three right down to the bottom of the form, and click on “submit”). If you have more than three records to submit for the sam location then you can select the little block at the bottom of the form that says “add more”. Once your record is submitted, confirmation of its arrival in the Virtual Museum database is provided by the appearance of a thumbnail version of your photo, and the basic details of your record on screen.

Step 5: select the project you are submitting to and upload your photos

Well done! You’ve successfully submitted your first record to the Virtual Museum. You are now a qualified citizen scientist BioMAPper and an Ambassador for Biodiversity! The drill is the same for all the projects in the Virtual Museum.

You can view this step-by-step guide on SlideShare as well:

Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. She also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. Megan is passionate about biodiversity conservation. She is a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation.