Adding Your Hive Scale to the BIP Public Map

BIP Public Scale MapCongratulations!  You’ve purchased a shiny new hive scale from one of Bee Informed Partnerships “BIP Ready” hive scale vendors, and opted to share your scale data with BIP for the good of beekind and your fellow beekeepers on the BIP public map.   Our users often ask how they can get their scale on the map, so consider this the definitive guide in getting your scale on the BIP map!

It is possible that we are being a little presumptive here.  Perhaps you’ve got a BIP Ready scale setup in your apiary, and you’re scratching your head wondering why you would want your scale data on the public BIP map?  There are several reasons why you should consider placing your scale on the public BIP map.

  • Serve as a real-time sentinel apiary to other local beekeepers.  Your data can help other nearby beekeepers (who may not have a scale) understand the current level of nectar flow or the lack thereof.  Having a good understanding of the timing of local nectar flows is an important component in colony management.   
  • Provide historical / comparative data to the beekeeping community. Beekeepers can consult the public map to better understand nectar flows historically and also compare more distant scales to those in their own areas.  
  • Help grow community / awareness around honey bees.  Nowadays, data is cool and people love it.  By placing your scale on the public BIP map you are helping us create a fascinating public resource that engages the general public and helps the bees and beekeeping.   Sharing your hive scale data on the public map is the beekeeping equivalent of adding a personal weather station to the wunderground.com website.  A personal weather station by itself is useful to its owner, but the data generated by many weather stations provides a very useful resource to the broader public.  

Assuming at this point you are convinced, sharing your scale on the BIP public map can be accomplished in three simple steps.  (Note that at this point we’ve assumed you’ve followed the instructions provided to you by your scale vendor to install your scale, and successfully opted to forward your scale data to BIP.)  

Step 1: Login into your account on http://hivescales.beeinformed.org and click on the Hives option on the navigation bar on the left.  Click on the hive you would like to publicly share to go to the hive detail screen.

Step 2: In order to place your hive on the public map, you need to first record its location.  To accomplish this, click on the button labeled “Settings” on the hive detail screen.  On the right side of the hive settings screen, you will see an embedded Google map.  You can click to add a marker or if there is already a marker drag it to your desired location.  You can pan the map or enter an address in the map’s search bar to quickly zoom to the desired location.  Once the marker is in the desired location simply click on the button labeled “Update Hive”.  You will be returned to the hive detail screen once the settings are updated.

Step 3: Click on the button labeled “Share” on the upper right hand side of the hive detail screen. There are two share options on this screen.  You want to enable Share Option #2 (public link share option) by simply clicking on the button labeled “Share” under this option.  Note that if this share option is already enabled, instead of a button labeled “Share” you will simply see a public link (URL) displayed.  

At this point you’ve shared your hive’s scale data publicly.  BIP staff will manually review your data and add it to the public map.  Note that this last step is completed by BIP, so it may be 4-5 days before your scale actually appears on the public map.  In the meantime, the web link that is displayed can be copy/pasted into emails to friends / colleagues or embedded on your own web pages as it is publicly accessible.

We’ve prepared a instructional video demonstrating the above procedure as well as some additional data sharing features supported by the BIP Hive Scale portal and posted it on YouTube.  You can click on the embedded video below to view it.

One last potential concern we would like to address – what if your hive scale is in a remote area and you don’t want to draw attention to your apiary’s exact location?  This is an understandable concern especially for larger commercial beekeepers who keep bees in more remote yards.  In this case, instead of marking the exact location in Step 2 above, place it a few miles away, or in the center of the zipcode area.  That is close enough to still provide value as a sentinel area and avoids divulging the exact location of the apiary.

That’s all there is to it!  Happy hive scale data sharing!  If you have comments or questions on any of the above, be sure to follow up below by posting a comment.

Written By: Jonathan Engelsma

Jonathan Engelsma has written 2 post in this blog.

Jonathan Engelsma leads the GVSU Mobile Applications and Services Laboratory. He is currently a Professor in GVSU’s School of Computing. His research interests are in distributed and pervasive computing with a focus on mobile applications and services. Dr. Engelsma earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University in 1993. He has over two decades of industry experience, including 16 years in various research and development positions with Motorola.

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  • Graham Toal

    We have a hive that’s instrumented with our own hardware – can we participate? Do you publish a protocol we can interface to that would let us upload our readings? Also we have a month or two of data since we started that is saved and timestamped locally – does your system only record live data or do you have a way to upload missed reports?

  • susanrudnicki

    I have had the scale and the sharing going on since Sept 2014—I AM on the map