The Field Survey is a very detailed study of a sample of 1km squares, located all over England, Scotland and Wales. The individual squares are chosen so that they represent all major habitat types in the UK. Enough squares are selected for each type, to make sure that the statistical analysis for that habitat is robust and reliable. The location of the study squares is kept confidential to avoid any deliberate influences that could affect them or the features within them. In this way the sample squares will remain a true reflection of changes in the wider countryside; they will continue to provide a reliable comparison for future Surveys.
Within each 1km square, different features are recorded on a portable data recorder (similar to a very robust lap-top) using specially-developed software. Teams of trained field surveyors record a range of information, which includes:
The 2007 field survey commenced in May and was completed in November.
The Field Survey Work Package was responsible for the overall collection of field data required for the 2007 Survey. Its main objective was to carry out the fieldwork for:
The surveying of over 591 1km squares across Great Britain requires a great deal of careful planning and management. The fieldwork itself was carried out by approximately 64 surveyors, divided into 16 teams of 4 people in each.
During the 2007 Survey, 289 squares were surveyed in England, 195 in Scotland and 107 in Wales. All of the surveyors underwent an intensive four-week training course to ensure the highest possible level of quality assurance. In addition, a small team from the Field Survey Work package was responsible for visiting the survey squares and repeating aspects of the survey as a quality assurance check (this alone involved a total of roughly 350 days on site).
Partners in Northern Ireland surveyed squares there in a complementary study. Four teams of field surveyors completed roughly 270 sample squares. Details of the Northern Ireland survey can be found on the Environment & Heritage Service Northern Ireland website.