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4. Data exchange - syncing and importing

[Five narrated videos on this page - we recommend that you view these videos using full-screen and in High Definition.]

See also chapter 5 in the BSBI MapMate Book.

Exchanging data with other MapMate users

MapMate is able to "synchronise" your data with other MapMate users, so that you can pass on the records you need to send and receive records from others. MapMate also uses the term "replication" for this process. The first two video screencasts on this page cover:
  • Creating a sync file to send to another MapMate user
  • Importing a sync file that you have received from another MapMate user
An additional document on the sync process can be downloaded here (pdf). This describes the process for syncing to the central BSBI hub copy of MapMate, but note that it is only BSBI county recorders who send records direct to the hub, all other MapMate users should synchronise to the relevant county recorder. However, the procedure is the same, you just need to check with your county recorder first to find out which CUK to use and ensure they are ready to receive records.

What to do if the sync process goes wrong
If you ever suspect that your records have not arrived with the person you have synced them to, it is possible to reset the sync so that it sends ALL your data again next time.

Reviewing imported records
It's not possible to preview sync files before importing them (so if you have any concerns about an incoming sync file it's best to take a back-up copy of MapMate before importing the file). However, you can review the records after they've been imported. In MapMate's Analysis section, double-click on the "Browse records" sub-heading and run the query "Browse all Records new at last sync". This only shows new records, not any that have been edited, and may include records from more than one CUK; for a more comprehensive set of record-checking queries download the "record verification - set of queries" from the Kitenet website

Archiving records
It is possible to "archive" individual records or sets of records: the records are still entirely visible on your copy of MapMate but will not be included in any sync files you generate. To control the archiving process MapMate uses "generation numbers", which also track when records have been added or edited. The third video on this page covers these topics:
  • Generation numbers and archiving 

Exchanging data outside MapMate

Sync files can only be used to exchange data between MapMate users. 

The usual way to send data to people who don't use MapMate is to run a suitable analysis query and then copy the data into a spreadsheet to pass on (see the video "Using the browse list controls"). 

To import data from people who don't use MapMate you will need to get the data from them in a spreadsheet or similar format that can then be saved as a tab-separated text file. The second pair of videos on this page explain what needs to be done:
  • Preparing the text file and basic import
  • Dealing with errors in the import file
The text file that be imported has to follow a very precise format, and there are comprehensive instructions on how to do this in the BSBI MapMate handbook, and in the Help files within MapMate itself: from the main MapMate screen go to the Help menu and click on "Help topics". Now click on the "Search" tab, type in the word "import", click on "List topics", and in the resulting list double-click on "Using Text Import".

Some extra detail on this process can be downloaded here (pdf).