Using Twitter, Flickr, and More To Crowdsource a Wildlife Timelapse

In September of 2013, a giant wildfire dubbed the "Morgan Fire" burned through Mount Diablo State Park in California. It left thousands of acres of bush and forest charred, but researchers at URS have embraced the opportunity to study how the local ecosystem responds and recovers from the disaster, using crowdsourced timelapse images.

Collecting the images from five fixed locations has been relatively easy thanks to smartphones, social media like Twitter, and these instructional signs placed around the mountain.

Illustration for article titled Using Twitter, Flickr, and More To Crowdsource a Wildlife Timelapse

Using a simple angled bracket on the top of the sign for framing, hikers and other visitors are encouraged to snap an unfiltered photo of the area using a smartphone, and then share it on Twitter, Flickr, or Instagram using a specific hashtag based on where they're positioned.

The resulting images will be used by the researchers to assemble a crude timelapse of the local wildlife's recovery, given the photos are all being tagged with specific date and time info. And while it doesn't replace the need to collect samples and actually visit the site, the initiative will help fill in the holes with additional data during those times when the researchers aren't combing through what the wildfires let behind. [Nerds For Nature via Sergei Krupenin (Twitter)]

Photo by Sergei Krupenin

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It also may give them a way around the regulations regarding time-lapse cameras. When people were trying to determine the mystery of the sailing stones in a national park, they were unable to install a camera because leaving equipment like that was not permitted.