Online wood identification database... prototype

I posted this earlier, but I'm not sure anyone saw it...
Here's a functional prototype of what I mentioned last week.
http://fruitpie.blastpoint.com/woodsearchform.php
It's only got 8 woods in the database right now, but it gives you an idea.
Right now, I'm envisioning two major improvements. First, instead of a one-page form with all of the questions on it, I'm thinking of having one question per page, where you go through them one at a time. The advantage here would be that each page could have some images which describe the question. For example, there could be a set of images that indicate what is meant by "faint rings" versus "distinct rings", etc.
The other improvement that I'd like to make is to make it easy for a set of users of the system to be able to add new woods but, more importantly, to give their vote on the properties of existing woods. Then, the system would average everybody's votes to arrive at a value for that wood.
And a third idea that I just had is to have the user indicate whether they're trying to identify a veneer, some flatsawn, or some quartersawn wood, since the presence of rays, rings, and pores could be different between these different cuts for the same wood.
Any other suggestions for moving forward with this? Some additional questions to add to the database, or some other UI ideas?
- Joe
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Joe Emenaker wrote:

This is a pretty cool idea, but when I ran it I got this:
Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/fruitpie.blastpoint.com/woodsearch.php on line 20

Good idea for low-bandwidth users, but splitting it up across different pages makes going back to change your answers something of a pain -- you may have to backtrack through a -lot- of pages.

Interesting idea. Many expert eyes makes for an accurate expert system.

Very good point. I can see you've been thinking about this.
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The pictures of wood specimens at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/archives/forestry/hough/ are sorely in need of search functionality like you're describing. I wonder if NCSU would be interested in cooperating with your venture. Of course, additional species would be nice...
Regarding your prototype: I agree that pictures would help in answering the questions, but a long sequence of pages would be frustrating. Perhaps you could have a main page that has all the questions/selections, each question then has a link to a "details" page if you want/need more information (pictures, etc.) about answering that specific question.
Also, the heartwood is usually the 'primary' wood, the sapwood 'secondary'. And there are usually at least two colors to a piece of wood, a background color and a grain color.
JeffB
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+ + + You would have to start by saying something on the limitations. Actual wood identification by database is not really possible, not even with best database possible. Any search result has to be compared to an actual wood sample. And even then you have to know what to look for.
Second, you would have to indicate what kinds of woods are in your database, such as "important US domestic woods", "woods sold at the Borg".
Third, it is the heartwood that is colored (or not). Sapwood is (usually) uncolored, the whitish or yellowish color is the basicstuff that all wood consists of. A secondary color would rather be an extra color in the heartwood.
Fourth, color is only usable at a-rule-of-thumb level. Only when color is exceptional is it useful in indicating identity. A really bright purple will be purpleheart in better than 95%, etc.
You will need pictures anyway to get anywhere. PvR
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Here's another good link of a similar nature:
http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/indextotal.htm
Vic
schreef

wood
database,
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+ + + Glad to see somebody is reading my "Micro-FAQ on wood"! ;-) That site is quite different in concept, but it certainly does not lack pictures. PvR
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Oh - not to mislead - never read a thing - just like the pictures! Just kidding :)
schreef

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