Public Lab Wiki documentation



Photo Monitoring



Photography is a powerful and affordable way to document all kinds of environmental issues. We'll be collecting different techniques and tips here -- stay tuned and pitch in where you can! We'll be starting with a focus on #timelapse photography:

Why

Timelapse photography is a visual form of data collection that:

  • is relatively cheap to collect (~$100, see below)
  • produces easier-to-read data: photos
  • can give good visual context to a problem, compared to (or paired with) sensor data
  • situates the data in a timeline

What environmental problems might this apply to

Timelapse photography, or photographic monitoring is a good way to document the changes in a landscape over time, or an incident you need images of when you might not be there to capture them in person such as:

image description

(Above: monitoring a mountaintop removal site: see this note)

Limitations

  • To set up the camera, you will need access to a secure location where your site of interest can be seen.
  • Depending on how often you have the camera set to take photos, you could end up with a lot of images to go through.
  • There have been documented challenges in capturing images with glare (from the sun, snow and water) (see Frequently Asked Questions)

Conversations & collaboration

  • Discussions around photographic monitoring are happening on the Midwest group through a few on-going projects, as well as on publiclab.org through this page (see the Activities, Frequently Asked Questions, and Updates sections below)

Midwest group: publiclab-midwest


timelapse-camera

Get a timelapse camera

Timelapse cameras can be found at sporting goods stores and online. They are also called "trail cameras" or "game cameras."

See the Timelapse Kit page for more, and to borrow one (if available)

Case studies

Title Author Updated Likes
Nothing yet on the topic "timelapse:story" -- be the first to post something!


Related techniques

Timelapse photography may also make use of a number of other techniques, such as:

There are also possibilities with cell-network-enabled trail cameras, though they're mostly a bit more expensive; they'd need a mobile phone plan and a SIM card to work. Many are around $400, but these (pretty poorly rated) ones were around $100:


Updates

Title Author Updated Likes
Website for public data @ottinger 24 days ago
Proofmode + Open Camera @imvec 7 months ago
Set up a Mobius Action Cam for timelapse @warren 11 months ago
What tags are helpful for flood/disaster images? @Zengirl2 about 1 year ago
Mapping rugged coastal environments with a Raspberry Pi and a balloon? @samwf New Contributor about 1 year ago
Rough prototype of video analysis tool for monitoring a pixel's brightness/color over time @warren about 1 year ago
Stormwater Workshop 6: Monitoring and Lessons Learned @stevie about 1 year ago
Time lapse mode on the Crenova Game camera @stevie about 1 year ago
How do I cheaply do long-term outdoor timelapses? @warren over 1 year ago
Use Archive.org to share large photo collections @xose over 1 year ago
Use Google Drive to share large photo collections @warren over 1 year ago
Share large numbers of photos (or files) using BitTorrent @warren over 1 year ago
Mary Dougherty's guidelines for submitting pollution photos to the Wisconsin DNR @mathew over 1 year ago
UWEC air quality monitoring @bkleist over 1 year ago
Frac sand hotspot testing and site survey @stevie over 1 year ago
Good guides on doing a photo survey of a site? @warren over 1 year ago
Next Saturday: Timelapse Kit workshop and Social Emergency Response Center in Somerville @warren over 1 year ago
Trail Cam: Stream/ Wetland Sedimentation @dswenson New Contributor over 1 year ago
Air Quality Monitoring at UWEC @bkleist over 1 year ago
Considerations when using timelapse to monitor blasting at mine sites? @mlamadrid over 1 year ago
Photo Documentation of Frac Sand Mine Surface Water Spills @mlamadrid over 1 year ago
ShenangoChannel.org - a dashboard for monitoring and sharing @liz over 1 year ago
How do I make a video from a series of photos? @warren almost 2 years ago
Monitoring Sargent Sand Mining operation in Ludington, Michigan @glennwalquist New Contributor almost 2 years ago
Who can vouch for, or interpret, evidence in court, and how is it weighed? @warren almost 2 years ago
What are the limits to what can be interpreted from a photograph without an expert witness? @warren almost 2 years ago
What are ways to strengthen photographic evidence in court? @warren almost 2 years ago
A month in the field and nothing to show @bkleist almost 2 years ago
Can we use a timelapse or video camera to monitor particulate air plumes? @gretchengehrke about 2 years ago
Zero dark thirsty: Capturing replenishing nighttime rain events with a trail camera @cfastie about 2 years ago
What's the best way to archive/store a timelapse video? @warren about 2 years ago
Has anyone tried a dashboard camera for timelapse or aerial mapping? @warren about 2 years ago
Hacking trail cameras to document blasts on Mountaintop Removal sites @LauraChipley about 3 years ago
Update on the photo monitoring plugin for ImageJ/Fiji @nedhorning almost 6 years ago
Photo monitoring plugin for ImageJ/Fiji @nedhorning about 6 years ago
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Timelapse Activities

Timelapse photography is a way to automatically trigger a camera on an interval -- for example, every minute, or every hour.

Here are some posted activities related to timelapse; we're still seeking a clear guide to setting up and using a #trail-cam to do timelapses, so please reach out if you're able to help document this!

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Raspberry + NoIR cam + Sensors to detect water stress of the plants during their growing - - @LaPa - - 0 replications: Try it »
Scripting Raspberry Pi to boot and shoot timelapse photos build review-me @mathew - hard 0 replications: Try it »
Hacking trail cameras to document blasts on Mountaintop Removal sites - - @LauraChipley - - 0 replications: Try it »
Bean Cam observe - @cfastie 1d medium 0 replications: Try it »
Using Mobius camera as a "trap cam" in field deployments - - @tonyc - - 0 replications: Try it »
Testing - water depth from camera image - - @chalmers New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
How to visually document a site - - @stevie - - 1 replications: Try it »
Set up a Mobius Action Cam for timelapse - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Use a rubber band and knotted string to trigger a camera build complete @mathew 15m easy 0 replications: Try it »
IR+VS TIMELAPSE - - @hunter New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
CrocusCam observe - @cfastie 10h hard 0 replications: Try it »
DaffyCam - - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Time lapse mode on the Crenova Game camera - - @stevie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Show 3 more

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Frequently Asked Questions

We're collecting and working our way through a wide array of questions about timelapse photography -- if you can contribute your own questions, or answer others', please do!

Title Author Updated Likes
Advice regarding taking photos over frozen @dailyxeoto New Contributor 3 months ago
How To Make Time Lapse Spectrometer @LightWaveResearch8000 about 1 year ago
How do I cheaply do long-term outdoor timelapses? @warren over 1 year ago
How can real-time camera monitoring be set up? @cherylh over 1 year ago
How do different time intervals for timelapse cameras affect their required maintenance? @cherylh over 1 year ago
Considerations when using timelapse to monitor blasting at mine sites? @mlamadrid over 1 year ago
Advice regarding taking photos over frozen surface? @stevie almost 2 years ago
How do you get the Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera into time-lapse mode? @stevie almost 2 years ago
How do I make a video from a series of photos? @warren almost 2 years ago
What are ways to strengthen photographic evidence in court? @warren almost 2 years ago
Trail camera on State Park Land? @DMerwitz almost 2 years ago
Can we use a timelapse or video camera to monitor particulate air plumes? @gretchengehrke about 2 years ago
Is there a water quality equivalent of Smoke School, the EPA air pollution observer certification? @warren about 2 years ago
What's the best way to archive/store a timelapse video? @warren about 2 years ago
Has anyone used a timelapse camera in stream monitoring? @stevie about 2 years ago
Has anyone tried a dashboard camera for timelapse or aerial mapping? @warren about 2 years ago
Initial results and resolution of timelapse mode issue: PL Mobius Infragram Point and Shoot @patcoyle almost 4 years ago
Show 7 more

Ask a question  or help answer future questions


Frac sand photographic monitoring

There's some good resources posted on this page which are specific to water monitoring or monitoring of frac sand sites -- check it out, and we're working to open some of these ideas up into questions and activities soon.


About the data

Type of data This method produces data in the form of images. Most cameras are also able to timestamp images.

Addons:

  • Some cameras also have the ability to capture GPS data.
  • This monitoring method can be paired with weather monitoring stations for a richer data set.
  • Sending images to the internet has been another add-on for these type of projects.

Uses for the data