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Annual Reports

1996IPM Computer Systems

The UC IPM computer systems group develops databases and software to assist the University's statewide pest management extension and applied agricultural research programs. Products may be used in research, information delivery, or as practical tools for growers, PCAs, and other IPM decision makers.

Joyce Strand is manager of the group. Buz Dreyer and Ed Morgan are programmer/analysts involved in program development and maintenance. Marty Martino maintains the weather databases, and Donna Seaver designs World Wide Web pages and coordinates printed resources for the computer programs. Michael Kohl is new to the group since this past summer, taking care of the help desk to assist users in solving computer problems. Several personnel changes occurred this year, with the resignation of Programmer/Analyst Ann Strawn to relocate to Southern California, the end of Erin Borden's postdoctoral position, and the end of Caroline Malley's temporary position as Computer Resources Specialist.

The former "IMPACT" databases and utilities have been converted to the World Wide Web, and can be found at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu

1995-96 Highlights

Photo of Ed Morgan
Programmer Ed Morgan disconnects wires from old "IMPACT" computer system. (Photo by Mary Lou Flint)
The year has been an exciting one with the debut of the UC IPM site on the World Wide Web and conversion of the IMPACT databases to run on the Web.

The original Web site, open to the public in October 1995, featured the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines, the University's recommended alternatives for controlling pests on 35 crops, on commercial turf, or in home and landscape situations. In contrast to the printed version or the earlier IMPACT computer version, the Web Guidelines are illustrated with high quality color photos of the pest, its damage, various life stages, drawings of the life cycle, or other materials that add greatly to the usefulness of the guidelines. The illustrations are accessed through "hypertext links" that bring up additional depth of information when selected.

Most of the Davis IPM staff played a part in building the Web version of the Guidelines. Buz Dreyer, Ed Morgan, Donna Seaver, Joyce Strand, and Larry Strand processed more than 13,000 documents in preparing the site; this team was recognized with a special performace award by the DANR statewide administration. Other IPM staff spent many hours checking the format of the documents and the workings of the multitude of links or specifying illustrations.

Other information on the original site included the UC IPM annual report, a directory of personnel, and descriptions of the print, photographic, and computer resources available from UC IPM.

Since that time many new pages have been added, including

  • the extensive database of California weather stations, reporting agricultural weather variables for 140 stations that report daily and 130 "climate" stations. The database has been modified to hold hourly or more frequent values from stations that are a part of the California PestCast project;
  • the California pesticide use data, summarized by commodity, pesticide, county, and month. Data are currently available through 1993;
  • the phenology model database, a collection of degree-day models of more than 100 different organisms;
  • a new database of crop disease models that describes the models and gives information on their origin and state of development;
  • the degree-day utility that computes degree-days for specific models or any set of thresholds, using data from the weather database.
In progress are
  • a historic database of research and extension projects sponsored by the IPM Project, giving objectives, summaries of findings, and principal investigators;
  • search tools for the pest management guidelines;
  • a database of pesticide and nonchemical alternatives used in California to control agricultural pests;
  • plant disease forecasting models.

Changes for Users

Our move to the Web significantly changes how users access our information. The Internet replaced the direct dial-up service, where users placed a (usually) long distance call to Davis using their phone and modem. Instead, users gain access to the Internet and the World Wide Web through an Internet service provider.

Major impacts of the change are that users

  • dial a local number to access the UC IPM databases;
  • use a "Web browser" to locate and read information, instead of CALLIPM;
  • no longer have a UC IPM usercode and password;
  • have access to all of the information available on the Net, provided by universities, businesses, and individuals from all over the world, many of which are linked to the UC IPM Web site;
  • have an electronic mail address and mailbox;
  • pay a monthly "connection fee" to an Internet provider for the ability to connect instead of paying long distance dialup charges.
By putting its resources into developing a Web site, UC IPM
  • can be reached by anyone in the world looking for the information we provide;
  • can illustrate our information with graphics and photos;
  • eliminates the need for usercodes and passwords for accessing databases;
  • reduces the need for specialized training in communicating with UC IPM and using IMPACT, since common browsers will be used;
  • can link our information with other documents on related subjects;
  • can link users with other Web sites that have useful information.

The Web "Server" Computer

Photo of Buz Dreyer
Programmer Buz Dreyer checks the functioning of the new IPM computer and Web site; the new computer is at his left--not much bigger than a filing cabinet. (Photo by Mary Lou Flint)
The UC IPM Home Page and its other documents are housed on a Digital Equipment Corporation Alpha 2100 Server connected to the Internet. The system, about the size of a two-drawer file cabinet, replaces the older Prime minicomputer that has housed the IMPACT system for many years. The new system is faster, has two CPUs, 256 megabytes of memory, and 20 gigabytes of disk storage. It is less expensive to maintain and upgrade than the old system and will do an excellent job of serving up Web pages.

NEMABASE. Developed by UC Davis Nematologists Edward Caswell-Chen, Howard Ferris, and Becky Westerdahl with funding from UC IPM, this new database describes the host status of plant species to plant-parasitic nematodes worldwide. This new database gives fast, easy access to information pulled from the scientific literature, including more than 38,000 plant-nematode interactions.

Assisting Users

Help Desk. Caroline Malley and other computer staff have continued to provide telephone assistance to users who call the help line (530-752-7826) on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Caroline's position with IPM ended in June, but other staff are available to answer questions. Michael Kohl is the new computer resources specialist.

Training Classes. Training classes were held in several locations in 1995-96. The classes are being revised to cover the changes brought about by the move to the World Wide Web. When a schedule is available, it will be posted on the Web. To arrange a special class, call Joyce Strand.

Microcomputer Projects

The computer staff continues to develop databases and software for microcomputers, and to assist funded researchers with testing documentation, production, and distribution of microcomputer software products. Activity in this area has been light for the past year, since our emphasis was on converting to the on-line system.

UC IPM software, databases and documentation are listed in the Appendix D and posted at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu on the World Wide Web.

For information on ordering these programs or databases, see our Web site, write, or call:

Computer Systems Manager
Statewide IPM Project
University of California, Davis
CA 95616-8621
(530) 752-8350
or send electronic mail to webmaster.

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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