September 2016: What's Changing in LANDSCAPE

In response to common user confusion about how LANDSCAPE organizes your conservation data, LANDSCAPE is changing for the better.

Check out this short video explaining some of the bigger changes:

 

Previously LANDSCAPE was organized into a rigid structure that enforced the concept of a "Project" as a container for all your conservation activities. In order to track anything, you had to put it in a Project first. Projects then contained one or more Tracts and each Tract had a set of activities, such as Acquisition, Disposition, and Stewardship that it participated in. 

The first point of confusion was usually the distinction between Projects and Acquisitions. Often in conservation work these terms usually mean the same thing: A "Project" is usually the acquisition of a certain property. That led to the second common confusion, which was the distinction between an Acquisition and a Property. 

All of that is going away. Sort of.

What is gone is the requirement that activities (Acquisition, Disposition, Stewardship) must 1) be associated with a Project and 2) be associated with one or more Tracts.

Projects, in LANDSCAPE terminology, are now strictly a tool for the management of tasks and activities. So, you may choose to start a Project to manage your acquisition of one or more properties. Or, you may start a Project to manage activities related to a particular grant. Or, you may start a Project to manage your annual easement monitoring activities. The point is that there is no longer necessarily a connection between a Project and a particular Property Acquisition. You can start a Property Acquisition without a Project at all if you want.

Since Projects are now only workflow managers, all Tasks have been moved out of individual activities and into Projects. For example, the Workflows that used to exist within Acquisitions are now moved out into a Project workflow associated with that Acquisition. Additionally, there is no longer the concept of a Management Project that exists within a Stewardship activity. Projects now manage any kind of activity, including Stewardship-related activities.

That leads us to Property Acquisitions. This is the new unified term for what used to be separate Acquisitions and Property Interests. They are now the same thing. Property Acquisitions represent all the stuff you do to acquire a property AND the property you acquire. Therefore, there are now two statuses that matter - Acquisition Status, which can be Active, Inactive, Completed, and Property Status, which can be Not Acquired, Current Holding, Partner Holding, or Disposed. Additionally, all of the property interest maintenance activities like Corrections and Amendments are combined and available from the Property Acquisition itself.

The final major conceptual change is that Tracts are no longer required. You will likely always use them because they still hold all the geographic and interest holder information about a piece of land, but now they aren't required. So, you can add a Property Acquisition without first creating a Project or even a Tract. Those things can always be added after the fact as you need them.

What does all this mean for your current data?

You existing data will be migrated to the new structure for you. All of your existing Projects will be converted to the new Projects. You will notice that the look and feel of Projects have changed as there is no longer a grouping of activities around particular Tracts. You may also find new Projects created for any Management Projects or Monitoring Visits that had workflows defined.

You can safely delete any Projects you no longer want. No activities referenced by a Project are deleted at the same time.

New Features

There are some new features that come along with these changes as well:

  • Top-level Task list on every view to easily check off completed tasks without switching to different windows.
  • Create new Tasks for yourself that aren't related to any specific Project or activity.
  • Task Group Completion Triggers now offer a wider variety of fields that can be modified.
  • Projects have their own Geography
  • All activities now aggregate their relevant Contacts and Documents. 
  • Aggregated Contacts now include everyone associated with the activities, including Appraisers, Title Companies, etc.
  • Conservation Value Categories are now defined lists
  • Projects have definable types (Acquisition, Stewardship, Grant, etc.)
  • Funding Sources and Agreements now available from special menu on the Conservation view.

 

 

 

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