Using Tracks at Your Aquarium or Zoo.
About the Tracks License
Tracks is a subscription based software package, renewed annually. The license fee is based on the number of full time employee equivalents at your institution. The yearly license includes unlimited user accounts at your aquarium or zoo, and no limit on the number of animals or records in your database. The license also includes all the program modules currently available - including the mobile app Pocket Tracks - and includes all program enhancements and updates released during the year. You'll also receive a block of technical support, to help you make the most of the features in Tracks.
Some Tracks components are available to license on a per-module basis to aquariums and zoos that do not use Tracks to manage their inventory records. Available modules include: Welfare, Enrichment, Training, Ambassador Animals, Biofacts, Transactions, Collection Planning, Water Quality, Nutrition, Dive Log, Permits. Contact us to discuss a custom license agreement.
Note that license cost assumes that each institution is responsible for their own data storage needs, whether hosted locally or on the Internet using one of the cloud hosting services avaialable. See our pricing for details.
Windows 7 or higher, with at least 4 GB RAM. You can also run Tracks on a Mac with emulator software such as Parallels.
We recommend using the latest versions of software when possible. Often Tracks can be installed on the same server as some of your other database applications, such as finance, fundraising, and ticketing.
- Server Operating System - Windows Server 2008 or newer with 8 GB RAM.
- Database - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 or newer.
- SQL Server Express may be adequate for some institutions.
- Reporting - Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 or newer.
- Database Storage: 10 GB minimum
- The amount of storage needed depends on your collection's size and how much data will be collected. File attachments are not stored in the database.
- Application Storage: 500MB
- This is a network share for the application and utilities.
- Media Storage: 500 GB to start.
- Files (i.e. videos, images, documents, etc.) uploaded in Tracks aren't stored in the database itself; they're on a network share and linked in the database. This storage space is only required if you plan to use the media module.
- FTP Server
- If you choose to access media via FTP instead of a network shared folder, you will need to install an FTP server.
- IIS 6.5 is required to use our API or Pocket Tracks, our mobile app.
- If the mobile client is available only within your LAN, then IIS can coexist with the SQL server. If the mobile client will be available over the WAN, then IIS should be on a separate device outside of the firewall.
What if we don't have an IT department?
Institutions without IT support are not necessarily excluded from using Tracks. We strive to make installations and program updates user-friendly. Some services - such as program updates - can be handled by Tracks staff, as part of your service contract.
Some Tracks institutions without IT staff are hosting Tracks using a cloud server. We are happy to discuss possible solutions for your aquarium or zoo.
A Quick Look at Implementation
Tracks is a flexible program, and during the implementation process, Tracks staff will configure the program to best meet your aquarium or zoo's daily business processes. New software is a big change for an organization, and we strive to keep Tracks implementation a pain-free process.
- Review that you have the database server and workstation requirements to support Tracks.
- Work with the Tracks team to outline a plan that addresses the specific needs your organization has for changing systems.
- The Tracks team sets up your organization's database and imports your existing data.
- We'll get you off on the right foot by configuring Tracks for your needs.
- On-site training for staff to familiarize users with the program, make sure their work needs are met, and show them how to get help when they need it, with online tools and technical support.
Support for Excellence
A Tracks license includes yearly support hours - 10 or 20 hours, depending on your license agreement. Additional support blocks can be purchased. Tracks clients have access to active and helpful user forums and comprehensive Help documentation, as well as a library of training videos for specific features.
Your facility can expect a yearly software check-in. Schedule a chat with someone from the Tracks team to discuss how the software can best support the work your facility is doing. Can we set up some specific training? Do you have questions as you embark on using a new feature? Are there data management challenges we can help you with? We want to know!
For questions and problems, there is also a ticket submission feature, with built-in tracking and prioritzation.
Since we're always improving Tracks, you can expect regularly-scheduled Tracks releases throughout the year. Updates provide you with new program features, enhancements and fixes to problems. Of course, we take care of critical updates when necessary, regardless of the schedule.
Tracks updates take only a few minutes and can be scheduled for minimum impact to your users. Your aquarium or zoo may wish to handle updates internally, or the Tracks team can handle updating your version of the program. Each facility can decide which option works best.
Critical Customization Projects
The program's flexibility provides many customization options so that it best integrates and adapts to each institution's daily business practices. But no two facilities are the same, so we recognize the need for particular requests.
Changes to the Tracks program for custom enhancement requests do become part of the core Tracks product and are available to all the facilites in the Tracks community.
Tracks: Doing More
Integrating data with the global zoological community
With the movement towards sustainable and collaborative population management, Tracks is taking a proactive approach to participation in global data sharing. Tracks Software has created a website, animaldatsharing.org to provide Tracks aquariums and zoos the option to share their animal inventories with the AZA community.
This website also hosts a free exchange of animal enrichment ideas in support of animal welfare.
From its inception, Tracks has facilitated data sharing for our aquariums and zoos. Many are surprised to learn that Species360 (formerly ISIS) accepted data out of Tracks between 1998 (when Tracks launched) until May of 2012, when Species360 announced that they would no longer accepts Tracks animal data.
In response, Tracks Software approached Species360 with a proposal, suggesting a tiered pricing model that would allow non-ZIMS institutions to submit data to the Species360 member database for a reasonable membership fee that supports the exchange of data, but does not include fees for the use and support of the ZIMS application. To date, Species360 has rejected this proposal.
Everyone agrees that pooled data is important for species management. As part of the community, we're ready to work together to come up with a way to solve this problem.