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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is DDIS?

The Distance Diagnostic and Identification System (DDIS) for Extension was developed to serve growers' and homeowners' needs for quick identification and diagnostic services as a basis for Integrated Pest Management programs. DDIS provides a collaboration and communication tool for first detectors, extension specialists and diagnosticians to share information on plant insects and diseases. The system is used for enhancement of diagnosis of plant diseases, insects, weeds, invasive species, plant management, physiology, and nutrient problems.

  • Why can't I just attach a digital picture to e-mail and send it?

That's how we got started, but there are some serious drawbacks:

  • It creates a bunch of clogged e-mail boxes and "quota exceeded" messages that prevent box-holders from receiving more e-mail.
  • DDIS uses standard lab forms to acquire field data for diagnosis and the system is networked with SPDN and NPDN.
  • It doesn't allow sample and response tracking and reporting.
  • And it doesn't contribute to the archive for future research and educational use.
  • I don't have a microscope. DDIS won't do me any good, will it?

All UF/IFAS employees who have a digital camera can use DDIS. We're finding that many images for plant and insect IDs are quite satisfactory without using a microscope.

  • Why do I have to fill out so much information on the sample form?

The more information a diagnostician has, the better - or quicker - the answer back to you. And the more complete the text descriptions, the better the archive will serve us all later when we use the accumulated samples in the library. The information on the DDIS form was compiled from the paper forms that different identification and diagnostic services were using with biological samples.

  • Who are DDIS users?

DDIS is primarily designed for users of county extension agents at the University of Florida. However, Extension clientele or home owners in Florida may use the system too. The general public can sign up and contribute confirmed media to DDIS Media Library.

  • Who can receive my sample?

A list of specialists who registered with DDIS at University of Florida and external specialists. They are specialists in different areas in academic departments, government institutions, diagnostic labs or clinics. You can see a list of specialists after you login DDIS.

  • How can I tell whether my sample has gone to the specialist?

As soon as a sample is successfully submitted, you'll get a notification that gives the sample ID code, and an e-mail notification. If these don't appear quickly, then you can bet your sample didn't go through.

  • What if I want to share a sample or a response with another agent?

Login to DDIS and view the sample. In DDIS Toolbox, grant permission to another person. This sample will appear to another user's My Sample folder.

  • How many images should I submit?

Take enough photos and select a few best photos that can represent the symptoms of plant and pest. You may have photos for field view, close up view and microscope view. If you want submit more photos after your initial submission, you always can add additional photos by revising the sample.

  • Does DDIS allow extension clientele in Florida submit a sample?

Yes, DDIS provides a means for Extension Clienteles (growers, crop consultants, homeowners or master gardeners) sending digital samples to their county extension agents. After the extension agent receives the sample, he/she may reply to the sample submitter or forward the sample to proper clinics or specialists for diagnosis. This feature provides a direct on-line communication among county extension agents and their clienteles. Below are procedures of the sample submission.

  • The extension clientele has to sign up as a DDIS user by clicking on Sign Up button on the DDIS Web site. In the sign up form, please select Extension Clientele as your user group. The user account will be activated upon extension agent's confirmation in that county. Before this step extension clientele needs to get DDIS training offered at the counties.
  • With approval of the account, the user then can submit a sample to county extension agents in his/her county using DDIS.
  • County extension agent who received the sample then replies to the user directly or forwards the sample to specialists or diagnostic clinics.
  • If the sample is forwarded to a specialist, diagnosis notification will be sent to both the county extension agent and the sample submitter.