Email Server for Archiving Field Observation Data


Alexander Birger

Oral Defence Date: 

Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 11:30


TH 434


Profs. Petkovic and Wong


The observer app is software for mobile devices that enables identifying, observing, and sharing observations of different species of animals or plants efficiently. At SFSU CS Department several mobile observer apps have been developed and they send their observation data as e-mails to the collections server. There was a need to develop a server application that accepts and processes the e-mails from observer apps and extracts the data into a database for further analysis and archiving. In this project an email based server for collecting data from observing apps developed at SFSU has been designed, implemented, and tested. Its functionality includes data extraction, storage in a Postgres database, an interface for viewing field observations, and a bulk upload of the field observations from a field server to an archive server. The email server used as a basis for this project is Apache James Server. It uses Java and runs on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. Mailet is used with James Server and it captures email sent to James Server, parses the email, and puts email data into a database on the field server. The photo-data from the email is placed into a directory on the field server. Two accessory web applications were also developed: a) The Observations Edit web application residing on the field server enables viewing, editing, and deleting records, as well as saving data as an XML file and photos as a zip file; and b) The Observations Server web application residing on the archive server which uploads an XML file and a zip file. The developed software is implemented, tested, and available for distribution through a VirtualBox installation.

Alexander Birger

Field Observation Data Collection, Observer App, Apache James, Mailet, Web Application, JSP, Apache Tomcat, JDBC, PostgresSQL