Public Lab Research note

A month in the field and nothing to show

by bkleist | | 414 views | 9 comments |

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I am sorry for such a delay in posts, I recently got a sustainability internship and have been working a lot of hours there. Additionally, we deployed the Mobius Actioncam for a month and a half duration in a small town in Wisconsin, and just recently retrieved it.

My research team and i decided that it would be best to change the location to a mine where blasting events have been taking place once a week up to a few times per week. The new deployment location has a clearer view of the mine, although the mine is located about 2 times further away from the camera. Although the mine is further away, there are no visual impediments that would hide blasting events, so hopes were high when we deployed the camera. We made sure that the camera was fully charged before we deployed it. We decided that the 2 minute interval time-lapse setting would be best for this location, and chose a slightly wider angle view than the standard lenses.

We deployed the camera at 5:35 pm, and expected it to take photos for just under a week. FAST FORWARD A MONTH I picked up the camera from a friend of mine who is also on the research team to analyze the photos to see if the camera captured a blasting event, and found that the camera took photos from 5:35 pm to only 8:48 pm. To say am disappointed is an understatement, I had such high hopes of capturing a blasting event. I have been in contact with a person from Public Lab, and they have been generous to offer us a game camera to test out at our deployment location. Although I am disappointed that a month and a half has been lost with no data collected, I am hopeful that this new camera will yield better results.



Oh, that's really too bad -- I'm really hopeful that the game "trail camera" we're sending (today!) will help. I don't know how long 8 fresh AA batteries will last in it, but definitely longer than a few hours. This test up in Vermont -- during an all-night rainstorm -- went pretty well, though, so I think we can have much higher confidence in it.

Sorry to hear about the short lifespan of your timelapse deployment. Tony did some trials with the Mobius last spring and learned that it has a battery saving mode which turns off power to the camera between shots. This mode is applied whenever you set the timelapse interval to be longer than five minutes. So at an interval of six minutes between photos, the Mobius battery will last about 10 days (maybe longer) at room temperature. The battery will probably perform worse outside in the cold. These results are described here: With an interval of five minutes or less, the camera stays powered up continuously and the battery will last only a few hours.

The trail camera also has smart power management and can last for months on one set of batteries. Some research or testing might be required to figure out how to get the most out of it. One issue is that it can take night photos using infrared LEDs to illuminate the scene. This uses lots of battery power but will not illuminate anything more than 10 m away. For your application it will be important to disable the IR LED feature, or just take photos during daylight hours.


Hi, @bkleist -- has the game camera worked out better for you at all? Wishing you good luck!

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@warren, I believe that it has, but I have not been able to get ahold of my research professor lately. I just sent him another email, and will let you know as soon as i get word.

@warren, I have gotten ahold of Dr. Pierce, and he said that the camera has come in, and is ready to be deployed!!! We are hoping to set it up as soon as this weekend, and once we get some photos I will be sure to share what we capture!

Oh, that's great to hear. Good luck and we'll talk soon i hope!

Also -- just a thought -- there are a few others testing this out too, so if you could take some contextual photos of how you set it up, what it's pointed at, and even an example photo of what you're hoping to capture (like, a google image search, just so people know what it might look like once you have the photos), that'd be really helpful to compare notes with others (like @DMerwitz asking a question about timelapse here) on what works well. I think @marlokeno has a friend working on this too.

I know @cfastie did some good documentation of that sort here:

Thanks and again, good luck!

Sounds like the interface for setting the cameras to timelapse isn't very clear -- can anyone who's gotten that working photo the section of the instruction manual and upload it here? @DMerwitz @marlokeno @stevie ?

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@glennwalquist is having some good successes with a Crenova trail cam in this post -- just wanted to connect the dots!

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