Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and overview
  2. Instructions for entering data
  3. Instructions for viewing maps of the data
  4. Instructions for downloading data

I. Introduction and Overview

The database contains all of the data from the Calling Frog Survey since its inception in the year 2000. Frog monitors enter their data each year, and scientists and land managers use these data to help conserve habitat across the Chicago Wilderness region.

There are several different levels of access to the database. Monitors can see all of the data but only edit data for their own routes. County Coordinators and Administrators can add new monitors and edit all of the data, in case there are errors that need to be fixed. Viewers with “Read Only” access may view the data but not make any changes or entries to the database.

A User ID and password are required to login to the Calling Frog Survey. If you do not already have these, contact your county coordinator or Jamie Forberg.


  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Data Entry and Output” at the top right.
  3. Click on “Login“. (
  4. Enter your Monitor ID and password.

If you wish to change your password or personal information, click on “Monitors” from the top menu, then find your name in the left-hand column and click on it. Click “Edit or Change Password”, change your information, then click “Update.”

If you wish to view all of the routes and observation dates associated with your name, click on “Show Routes and Observation Dates.”

II. Instructions for Entering Data

Enter Route and Location information

  1. Click on “Routes & Locations” from the menu at the top.
  2. Click on “Add New Route” from the main screen, to enter your route information. You only need enter this information ONCE for each route. So if you monitored the same route last year, you can skip this step. If you need to enter Route information, simply give the route a name, identify the monitor, select the correct county, and describe its location. Then click the “Add” button at the bottom. It is very important to give your route a name that is descriptive of its location, so that others can find the general area you monitored.
  3. If your route straddles two counties, please select the county in which most of the listening points fall. If the appropriate county is not listed, use “Other.”
  4. In your description, indicate the type of wetland; for example, a vernal pool (i.e., temporary), a pond in a wood lot, a marsh, a bog, a fen, a creek, a slough, a farm pond, a retention pond, a city park pond, etc.
  5. At any time, you may change information about your route by clicking on the route name in the list on the left side of the screen and clicking the “Edit” button. After making changes, click “Update.”
  6. You cannot delete a Route once it has been created. If a Route needs to be deleted, please contact your county coordinator and ask them to do so. Routes that have observations associated with them cannot be deleted by anyone.
  7. The left frame in “Routes & Locations” has a link called “All Routes” that allows you to view all routes – even the ones you cannot edit (you may only edit a Route for which you are the monitor). If you want to view only the routes and locations that you can edit, click on “My Routes.”
  8. If you are interested in seeing the dates for which observations have been recorded for any route, click on “All Routes” in the left frame, click on the route of interest, and then click “Show Observation Dates.”

To enter Location information:

  1. Within each route, you will have one or more listening points, or locations. After you’ve entered your Route information, you need to enter information for each monitoring location. The appropriate screen should pop up after you’ve entered your Route information. If not, click on the Route name in the left-hand list, and click on the button at the bottom for adding a new location. Again, you only need enter this information ONCE. So, if you already did this step last year, you can skip it.
  2. You’ll need to give each location a unique name – one that is different from all the others in the database. So a simple 1, 2, or 3 may not work because someone else has used it. Try something logical to you, so you’ll recognize the locations by their names when you go back to the database later on.
  3. Again, it is important to describe the location in a manner that will allow others to know precisely where it is and how to get to it (so someone, using these directions, could find where you listened from). The best way to do that is to describe your walking route and provide GPS coordinates for each location. It is very helpful to indicate landmarks, such as road intersections, streams, bends in roads, or buildings, and include their relations to the listening points.
  4. Note: Enter the GPS coordinates as positive numbers in Decimal Degrees format – this looks like 44.4444, for example. Our longitude is negative, but we include the oW label to designate this.
  5. Do not use Degrees/Minutes/Seconds or Degrees/Minutes format. If your GPS device does not offer the Decimal Degrees format, use a GPS converter to convert the coordinates to Decimal Degrees before entering your coordinates.
  6. If you don’t have GPS coordinates, you can find them by moving the marker on the map shown on the Locations page
  7. Again, you may change information about your locations by clicking on the location name in the list on the left side of the screen and clicking the “Edit” button. After making changes, click “Update.” Please do not attempt to change a location’s name after you have initially created it, as this will create confusion in the analysis of the data. Please only update locations to fix errors. If you change the order in which you visit the locations or you stop visiting a location altogether, please add a note to the “Directions,” and leave the location information intact.
  8. You cannot delete a Location once it has been created. If a Location needs to be deleted, please contact your county coordinator and ask them to do so. Locations that have observations associated with them cannot be deleted by anyone.
  9. Please note that if you enter coordinates outside of the Chicago Wilderness area, you will get an error message. If your listening area is outside of the CW area, you can enter your data at this website:
  10. If everything is OK, click the “Add New Location” button and do it all again until all of your locations are entered.


When you are ready to enter your observations:

  1. Click on “Observations” from the menu at the top.
  2. From the list at the left, scroll down until you find your county, then click on the Route for which you are going to enter data. The route name and your name as the monitor should appear at the top of the screen.
  3. Click in the circle to the left of the time period in which your observations were taken.
  4. Enter the date you took the observations, and check the box if it rained or was below freezing in the 48 hours before you went out (if you know)
  5. Add any comments here that would apply to all of the locations.
  6. Click the “Continue” button.

You will do the following for each of your locations:

  1. Enter the time you began to listen at this location.
  2. From the “Sky” pull-down, select the sky code. If you took additional cloud cover data (only some counties), select the proper % from that pull-down
  3. Enter the temperature.
  4. From the “Wind” pull-down, select your wind code.
  5. If you made any comments about this location, enter them in this “Comment” box.
  6. For each frog/toad species, select the observed call index. If you recorded OB (seen, but not heard), leave the call index at 0 but check the “Seen” box.
  7. If you visited this location but heard (or saw) no frogs or toads, click the “No frogs or toads seen or heard” button.
  8. When you have entered all of the species you heard or saw, click on the “Add & Next” button.
  9. You will see the window for the next location on that route. The weather information should be the same as what you entered for the last location, so you only need to change that information that changed from the previous location.
  10. Start entering the information just like you did for the first location.
  11. If for some reason you did not visit a particular location during a monitoring visit, check the “Location Skipped” box so that we’ll know you left this location blank on purpose. You may enter a comment as to why the location was skipped, but all other information must be blank.
  12. Remember that if you did visit a location but did not hear or see any frogs or toads, you should click the “No frogs or toads seen or heard” button (see above), but NOT the “Location Skipped” button.

Repeat the above steps for each location.

At any time, you may click on an observation date in the left-hand list to change information from that monitoring date. Click on “Edit Location” at the bottom of the screen, and be sure to click “Update” after you have made your changes. You cannot delete an observation once it has been created. If an Observation needs to be deleted, please contact your county coordinator and ask them to do so.

Note that the left frame in “Observations” has a link called “All Obs” that allows you to view all observations – even the ones you cannot edit (you may only edit observations from routes for which you are the monitor). If you want to view only the observations that you can edit, click on “My Obs,” which is the default when you first select “Observations.”

You’re Finished!

Thanks for entering your data electronically. It saves enormous amounts of time for Habitat Project staff, county coordinators, and data entry volunteers.

Some additional tips if you are getting error messages or are otherwise stuck:

If you are getting a meaningless error message and are using Internet Explorer, turn off the “Friendly Error Message” option to allow you to see a useful error message that will tell you what the problem is. Turn off this option as follows:

  • In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced tab.
  • Under the Browsing section, click to clear the “Show friendly HTTP error messages check box” and then click OK.
  • Close and restart Internet Explorer.

If you have tried the above tips and are still stuck, please contact Jamie Forberg for help getting unstuck.

III. Instructions for viewing maps of the data

Once you are logged in, click “View Maps of Data” on the right side of the frog survey menu (under “Data Output Functions“). A map will load showing all locations of frogs monitored in the current year. Click on the points on the map to view more information about which frogs were found at each location.

You can view different subsets of the monitoring data on the map by choosing a range of years, a county, a specific frog monitor route, or a frog species. Pick the options you would like by selecting them in the appropriate pulldown menus. Then click the “Load Map” button, to reload the map with the data you have selected.

Depending on the options you select, a lot of data will be searched. A “Loading…” message will appear. Please be patient while the data is being searched and processed for viewing on the map.

Also, you may see on the map a message like: “There are too many results to show in Google Maps. Please try a more limited search.” In that case you should refine the search options you have selected to limit the number of results. If the message “No results found” appears, you should broaden the search options.

Whatever data is viewed on the map can be quickly downloaded as a CSV file to view in a spreadsheet application such as MS Excel. Click the “Download” button at the bottom right of the map. You may also view all the data in an HTML table in your web browser by clicking the “View” button.

IV. Instructions for downloading data

You may download data through the maps section (see above), or by going directly to the data download section, as follows.

Once you are logged in, click “Download Data” on the right side of the frog survey menu (under “Data Output Functions“). If you wish to view only a subset of the data, select the year(s), county, route, or species of interest. Click “Download Report.” The file is generated in a comma-separated values (CSV) format, which may be imported into spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, or