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Photo Monitoring
question: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](#Get+a+timelapse+camera)) - 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: - [sediment runoff](https://publiclab.org/notes/mlamadrid/06-22-2016/documenting-runoff-with-photography) in a stream from a disturbed site - the changes in [opacity](https://publiclab.org/wiki/visual-pm) of a smoke stack or blowing off of a pile - an explosion at a [mountaintop mining site](https://publiclab.org/notes/LauraChipley/09-18-2015/hacking-trail-cameras-to-document-blasts-on-mountaintop-removal-sites) - activity [at sand mines](https://publiclab.org/notes/glennwalquist/12-04-2016/monitoring-sargent-sand-mining-operation-in-ludington-michigan) ![image description](https://publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/019/621/medium/Screenshot_2017-02-23_at_4.17.53_PM.png "Screenshot_2017-02-23_at_4.17.53_PM.png") (Above: monitoring a mountaintop removal site: [see this note](https://publiclab.org/notes/LauraChipley/09-18-2015/hacking-trail-cameras-to-document-blasts-on-mountaintop-removal-sites)) #### 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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/photo-monitoring#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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/photo-monitoring#Timelapse+Activities), [Frequently Asked Questions](https://publiclab.org/wiki/photo-monitoring#Frequently+Asked+Questions), and [Updates](https://publiclab.org/wiki/photo-monitoring#Updates) sections below)_ Midwest group: publiclab-midwest **** ![timelapse-camera](https://publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/019/554/medium/IMG_20170202_132917_566.jpg) ### 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](/wiki/timelapse) for more, and to borrow one (if available) ### Case studies [notes:timelapse:story] [map:tag:timelapse-story:44:-91] **** ### Related techniques Timelapse photography may also make use of a number of other techniques, such as: * [Triggering cameras](/wiki/camera-trigger) * [Photo sharing](/wiki/photo-sharing) - different ways to share, distribute, upload LOTS of photos online 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: * [E-TECHING](https://www.amazon.com/E-TECHING-Camera-Infrared-Digital-Integrated/dp/B01KX3M5XI/) - $100 * [Docooler](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DSS7Q4I?psc=1) - $90 * [SUNLUXY](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016ZX1478?psc=1) - $109 **** ### Updates [notes:photo-monitoring] ### 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**! [activities:timelapse] ### 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! [questions:timelapse] **** ### Frac sand photographic monitoring There's some good resources [posted on this page](https://publiclab.org/wiki/frac-sand-action-oriented-resources#Photographic+Monitoring) 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** - Government agencies often find photographic data useful evidence. [Read more about this here.](https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/11-22-2016/interview-chris-nidel-on-environmental-evidence-in-court#Photographic+evidence) - Photographs of events or land change are useful tools in persuasion for publications, or in public comment. [Read more about this here](https://publiclab.org/notes/mlamadrid/06-22-2016/using-photographs-in-fighting-mining-companies). ...


Author Comment Last activity Moderation
warren "Lots of cameras and updates on this thread: https://publiclab.org/notes/LauraChipley/09-18-2015/hacking-trail-cameras-to-document-blasts-on-mountai..." | Read more » almost 5 years ago
samrye "This is a really useful tool, thanks so much for sharing! " | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "Just found a good video for this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWRyZDxtZ1I " | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "Found an online JavaScript based version -- a little rough but maybe it means we can expand this out and do it without installing anything: http://..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "Harry Simpson shared this on the discussion lists: http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1218&context=njtip " | Read more » over 5 years ago
xose "And encrypted storage, both local and online. CameraV is a great tool! As always reccomend, using the "historical images" of google earth gives us ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "This doesn't offer guidance on the survey itself, but has a lot of information about taking an individual photo with good metadata, and a means to ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "Via @juliakumari: We did this video on how to do it for weather and climate related photo surveys. Hope it helps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
xose "Just for the record, It can be easily done using GNU/linux. Here two tutorials for Kdenlive (just GNU/linux) and OpenShot (the only multiplatform, ..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
mathew "On mac, the easiest way is to use Quicktime 7, File --> Open Image Sequence " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "And @cfastie provided some guidance for using Adobe Premier: https://publiclab.org/notes/glennwalquist/12-04-2016/monitoring-sargent-sand-mining-op..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "I did find a bunch of YouTube videos of how to use different programs, but haven't done so myself: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ma..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "Hi, @bkleist - did you receive the Crenova timelapse cam we sent you? Curious if that'll end up being a lot more reliable. Thanks! " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
gretchengehrke "It turns out that Alternative Method 82 is pretty strict in its procedure, so timelapse and video cameras wouldn't be able to explicitly do that me..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
mathew "Many trail cams are used for wildlife tracking, with permission from park rangers. I don't know whether leaving one independently is against the l..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
bkleist "Hi Stevie, I have been using the Mobius ActionCam (https://www.mobius-actioncam.com/) for monitoring silica sand mines in small towns around Wiscon..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
DMerwitz "Surrounded. They own there land and minerals and dredge lake! " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "Hi, DMerwitz - so you're hoping to use a trail camera to monitor a sand mining operation? Is the sand mine actually on state park land, or is it ju..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "yeah, we didn't have it set up for motion -- just interval triggering. But i don't know if that'd work! " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
eustatic "so did the stream trigger the motion sensor? I wouldn't imagine so... " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
gretchengehrke "Wow! That is a seriously dusty road! Is "fugitive dust" subject to opacity regulations in Louisiana? I recently learned that fugitive dust (such as..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
eustatic "Some reference on light sensors in cars. You could experiment, i suppose, by blowing smoke in front of your instrument panel " | Read more » about 6 years ago
eustatic "Here's an example of a person who lives on this dusty street, a housewife of steely resolve, using a point and shoot (Kodak Z7590 Zoom) to capture ..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
warren "Hey Stevie -- was thinking about how to refine this question for a specific use case, and came across this post by @tonyc: https://publiclab.org/no..." | Read more » about 6 years ago