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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Cool Unanswered: Adding some tech to my database, maybe Access is not the answer....

    Hi all-

    Some background info: I have a greenhouse with about 6000 plants in the collection. To warehouse every bit of info; I've been using MS Access, most recently Office 2010.

    As a unique identifier for each plant; it's assigned a collection number. In the database (obviously), each column contains specifics, such as genus, species, sow date, inventory date, flower color, etc.

    I've been working with the plant collection caveman style, meaning when I am working with a particular group of plants, I use my laptop in the greenhouse to print a copy of desired fields of data to work with, and grab a pen & my clipboard to take notes, verify inventory, etc.

    I've spent a while searching for other database software or cloud based solutions. I am not opposed to moving from MS Access to something else. Moving data is easy.

    What I'm trying to accomplish:
    I would like to use a barcode, or even better, RFID, to identify the individual plant, to read that tag with my iPad, and to be able to view multiple pictures of the plant (fruit, leaves, flowers, etc.) along with all the data for that plant. As well as other database tricks, filter by family of plants, filter by location, blah blah blah.

    The pics show my current plant labeling (awful):

    When I have the barcode/RFID matter solved, I want to replace existing labels with a single, smaller, discrete waterproof/sun (fade) resistant typed label. Theoretically, when I point the iPad mounted RFID reader at the label, I can see all data available for that item.

    In the pics below, I have the number tag, written in pencil. Should that plant die, I delete that entry and reassign to a new plant. The purple plant labels indicate that I do not have a flower color indicated in my database, breadcrumbs to a possible mis-identification. Then, lastly, one label contains the name of the plant. Some have really long names or locality data that would be handy to know, but too long for a label. Unless I am sitting down viewing my database; this extra information is not available to me. I'm hoping for so much more with the iPad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I believe RFID to iPad technology exists or should be coming very soon. My question for this forum is, what suggestion for a database format/software to warehouse my information with a string of photos that are web based?

    One possibility is using Office 365, although I object to a monthly fee, and using Flickr to warehouse the pictures using a search URL, if I title each pic with the collection number.

    A total shot in the dark, but hoping for a better solution.


    Best, Lisa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    out on a limb
    Provided Answers: 59
    if you have drunk deep of the Apple koolaid then Access probably isn't the right way forward.

    The problem with things like tablets and or mobiles is that they aren't very good in database connectivity on the personal level, unless you can go down the route of a local webserver that can provide the backend data services. yes you can write applications that talk to local (ie on the tablet/phone often they use SQLite or similar). So its possible to have the data ON the phone/tablet. However be aware that you would then be vulnerable to loosing the data unless you find a way of backing it up to another device in case the phone breaks or is nicked / lost etc.

    I seem to remember that some of the original 2d barcodes could store over 1k of data embedded in the barcode itself... so you could print a 2d barcode using a laser printer onto waterproof label stock, or encapsulate the the printed barcode in one of those pouch laminators.... read the bar code and display the embedded data locally.

    if you have a local network where you want to read the data you could use any old system.. I doubt you need to go to the length of RFID tags... you could maintain the exisiting DB in access and provide a gateway via a webserver to that data.

    you could transfer all the data from the Access db into SQLite and run the dm ont he local tablet (proabbly as a local HTML page/series of pages. My (limited) experience of Android is that its a pig to develop for, and I doubt very much that Apple will have made targetting iOS any easier. A few years back you had to have an Apple computer to develop for iOS.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    New Zealand
    Provided Answers: 11
    For a Plant Company Im working for (part time)

    I build there holes system in Msaccess and Used barcoding. had some msaccess front Ends and some IIS front Ends

    everything talks to a SQL server setting on the IIS server.

    Plants are stored by

    block->row->under stock ->summer cot ->intended plant
    |->spring cot -> intended plant

    it has Planned Vs Actual counts

    I barcoded the Row and the Plant

    and at stock take time they scan row then scan the Plants
    computer would work out what missing and ask them where the missing ones

    The company at its picks exported over 800,000 plants in one year

    The only thing my system didnt do was pay the wages but did a Export from my system to there payroll system

    by the way i been working on it part time for the last 10 years but ill be lucky if i get 2 hours month now
    hope this help

    StePhan McKillen
    the aim is store once, not store multiple times
    Remember... Optimize 'til you die!
    Progaming environment:
    Access based on my own environment: DAO3.6/A97/A2000/A2003/A2007/A2010
    VB-NET based on my own environment started 2007
    SQL-2005 based on my own environment started 2008

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