Environmental Monitoring with Crowdsourcing
The NASA project “Digital Earth Watch” (DEW) involves the documentation of environmental data collected by satellite as well as “ground-level” investigation. The collection of so-called “ground level” information is gathered by the crowd. Therefore, interested residents, students and public organizations are being encouraged to take part in the “Picture Post” project.
The project is based on a citizen scientist community group funded by the NASA. The “Picture Post” is a specially developed tripod that enables crowd users to take panorama shots of a specific location in the landscape with their digital camera and monitor the environment.
The Picture Post Tripod
The “Picture Post” is a wooden post that is firmly mounted into the ground. A wooden octagon is secured to a small platform located on the top of the post. The octagon serves as a platform on which to rest the camera. Panorama photographs can be taken by placing the camera against each of the eight sides and on the top of the platform (looking at the sky). This creates a 360-degree panorama image of the landscape in a specific place divided into the points of the compass: North, North-East, East etc. The tripod ensures the comparability of the panorama images and simplifies monitoring.
The photographs can be uploaded by all the participants at the following website: http://picturepost.unh.edu/. The individual panoramas are generated and archived with information indicating the date and time of day the photographs were taken. Individuals or organizations interested in participating in the project can purchase a mounting platform on the Picture Post project website for a fee of 25$. Picture posts are often installed for free access in public areas making the project accessible to everyone without having to install a post oneself.
Find Out More
If you want more information about this crowdsourcing project you can visit the project website http://picturepost.unh.edu/ and take a look at the panoramas that have already been uploaded.