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Sustained Nature Appreciation Photography (SNAP)


To sustain a global, long term photographic record of our natural surroundings in an open, scalable manner. These images will can be used to create time lapse movies of the a given location, showing the flow of changes to the site over time, or serve as reference documents for future use. Photographs will be collected electronically from volunteers, service groups, park rangers, photo clubs, or automated cameras. Key to the success of this effort will be to sustain an on-going interest in regularly taking photos of the same location.


The advent of digital cameras has made it simpler to take photos and store them for global retreival. Collecting and organizing these photos into meaningful information, becomes more challenging as the sheer number of images increases. SNAP seeks to provide an open framework for collecting an ongoing sequence of images documenting a specific point of interest. Photographers will be able to take images of a given site, upload them, and add them to the growing collection.

Each location is called a Point of Interest (POI) and represents a specific location camera location. A POI may have a single framing (i.e. include a hilltop and a marker), or it may be a Mosaic POI in which computer programs will reconstruct a panorama from multiple images.

POIs may be collected into a POI Trail, which might correspond to stops on a nature trail. A photographer could then walk the trail, take multiple images, and then upload them as a sequence to be processed as a batch.


Each image has suggested guidelines for photographers. These may include:

  • minimum image size (how many pixels to set for your camera)
  • recommended framing (what features to include in the frame, or where to center the image)
  • focal length setting (wide, normal, or telephoto settings on the len)
  • what NOT to include in the image (people, vehicles, etc)
  • how often to take images
  • time of day for the preferred imaging

Technical Approach



Information recorded by cameras or added manually by the photographer about the image. This may include the time of day, exposure, camera, lens, EXIF Data, Geocoding information. The metadata is used to construct time lapse information as well as future processing.

Mosaic Point of Interest

A site in which multiple images will be taken to create a composite image. This may be a hill providing a panoramic view point, or scene including vertical information such as mountains or expanses of sky. Software will reconstruct these images into a larger mosaic that is larger than visible with just a single frame.

Point of Interest

Point of Interest (POI) A specific location from which the sequence of photos will be taken. A site may be photographed with a single framing (each image represented by a single exposure), or as a Panoramic POI (each image represented by several images taken at the same time)

POI Trail

A set of POIs that may be visited in a sequence, such as a nature trail with specific SNAP stops. Photographers could walk the trail, imaging each POI along the way, and download the trail sequence as a whole. ==

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