A library of georeferenced photos from the field



A picture is worth a thousand of words, and every day hundreds of scientists, students, and environmentally aware citizens are taking field photos to document their observations of rocks, glaciers, soils, forests, wetlands, croplands, rangelands, livestock, and birds and mammals, as well as important events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, insect emergences, and infectious disease outbreaks. Where are those field photos stored? Can they be shared in a timely fashion to support education, research, and the leisure activities of citizens across the world? What are the financial and intellectual costs if those field photos are lost or not shared? Recently, researchers at the University of Oklahoma developed and released the Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library (hereinafter referred to as the Field Photo Library; http://www.eomf.ou.edu/photos/), a Web-based data portal designed for researchers and educators who wish to archive and share field photos from across the world, each tagged with exact positioning data (Figure 1). The data portal has a simple user interface that allows people to upload, query, and download georeferenced field photos in the library.


The Field Photo Library is developed and supported by research grants from NASA Land-Cover/Land-Use Change Program (NNX09AC39G), NIH Fogarty International Center (R01-TW007869), and NSF Experimental Program to Simulate Competitive Research (NSF-0919466).