Journal archives for April 2021

April 01, 2021

Naturally Yours: Blitz #1

What crossovers can be made between art and the use of iNaturalist? Are there any specific iNaturalist projects with an artistic focus? This video slideshow is a go at merging concepts of citizen science and art. Below is the description added to the YouTube video.

Citizen Blitz

A slideshow of what an avid iNaturalist user sees while walking in the park. This collection of photos was made while walking a loop between Evergreen Community and Fish Creek Provincial Park (Shannon Terrace) in Calgary, Alberta. The walk was ~4 kilometers and took 2.5 hours with a few breaks waiting for some birds to come into view. All of the images are unedited and in the original sequence they were shot. This is every single photo taken on that day (March 31, 2021).

Creating a slideshow of an entire set of photos came from the idea that nature photography isn't easy and a lot of mistakes are often made. After shooting hundreds of photos, you might only get a handful of ones you want to share with the world. The idea of making mistakes is uncomfortable but this slideshow aims to overcome the fear of amateurism.

Some of the photos were accidently taken when my binoculars pressed the shutter button while walking. Others are intentional with me experimenting with f-stops, shutter speed, and aperture on my Canon 90D. Let me know if there are any particular ones you appreciate!

The music is some guitar recordings made with loop pedals and recorded on a smartphone. There is also a a CP train recording recorded in downtown Calgary that is layered throughout the video. If the sound doesn't work for you, mute the video and put on your own tracks!

All of the flora and fauna photos I take are shared to iNaturalist.ca. Even when the photos are unclear. I aim to continuously collect and provide data about the living world that may advance biodiversity conservation and research. Additionally, iNaturalist has become a passion of mine simply because it gets me outside exploring. If you are into taking photos and have an appreciation for nature, I know you will enjoy it too.

iNaturalist Account: https://inaturalist.ca/people/785779
​Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/citizenblitz/
https://twitter.com/CityNatureYYC
https://www.facebook.com/citynatureyyc

Posted on April 01, 2021 19:05 by wowokayyes wowokayyes | 2 comments | Leave a comment

April 13, 2021

16 days to go until City Nature Challenge 2021: Calgary Metropolitan Region

Hi Everyone!
We have just over 16 days to go until the beginning of the 2021 City Nature Challenge! I hope that this will be our biggest and best year yet (now that we have an extra few days of Spring to play with). If you haven't done so already, please join the Project: https://inaturalist.ca/projects/city-nature-challenge-2021-calgary-metropolitan-region.

It's definitely unfortunate COVID-19 is still a major concern and we ask that everyone be safe and have fun during the event. For this reason, we are not able to organize any in-person events this year but will follow a similar course to that of CNC YYC 2020 where we explored the city independently.

Here's a few tips!

April 30- May 3: GET OUTSIDE!!!

    Follow all health restrictions and guidelines
    Explore your yards, neighborhoods, and local parks - ANYWHERE in Calgary, Cochrane, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Airdrie, Chestermere, and Okotoks.
    Make as many observations as you can and keep your goals on WILD organisms. Can you make a minimum of 100 observations?
    Get creative and look in places you've never looked! (or places where few iNat observations exist). Dig a hole in your garden! Use a Marcro lens or a hand lens!

You may have seen that we now have the website in full-swing. You can find resources and information by visiting https://citynatureyyc.ca/

City Nature Challenge News!
The Global Organizers have put out an "Epic" video to get people around the world amped up for the event! If you need inspiration, look no further.


Posted on April 13, 2021 22:06 by wowokayyes wowokayyes | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 24, 2021

GeoTagging Photos using Strava/ All Trails/ GPS and GeoSetter

We all know that mapping out our observations using the iNaturalist map can be tedious when uploading a large number of observations. Last spring, I purchased a Canon 90D so that I could sync the Latitude, Longitude, and Elevation of my phone with my observations (Connected through Bluetooth/Wifi). It worked well for some of my hikes and saved hours of manually locating where I was while taking photos.

Recently, I have had issues using the Canon Connect App and my Canon 90D Camera while out in the field. I have found that if I am using other apps such as eBird, reading emails, or even opening Instagram (@Citizenblitz) that the Canon app Bluetooth connection is lost and requires a few seconds to reconnect. In some cases it does not even reconnect meaning that I might be taking photos with no location associated with them. Besides the issues of connection, using Bluetooth is compromising the battery power of both my phone and camera (~25% reduction in camera and 25-50% in Galaxy S9). I've also been more interested in learning more about my outdoor activities (like birding) as a form of "fitness". So! I have been recording my walks using apps such as Strava and All Trails.

Strava and All Trails are interesting because they record a route or "track" that includes information about speed, elevation gain, and distance travelled. Tracks can be downloaded using the app websites. eBird has a tracking feature that can be set when you begin a Checklist, however, as far as I can see there is no way to download your personal track. Currently, this feature does not exist within iNaturalist.

I decided that if I were going to attempt to make 1000 observations during the upcoming City Nature Challenge I would need to experiment with geotagging my images using these fitness apps. It would also allow me to note where I was and the effort (distance and time) while attempting to blitz the entire city.

There are multiple applications both free and paid that allow for geotagging images. One of the easiest to use is Lightroom Classic in Adobe Creative Cloud. It's simple and you can also edit your images while in the app. The problem is that it's a subscription service and other iNaturalist users may not have the means or desire to pay for it!

Most recently, I have been exploring a free software called GeoSetter and have found it to be super easy to use for geotagging hundreds of photos in a couple minutes. The latitude, longitude, and elevation are all saved to the metadata of the images without compromising the image quality, size, or image locations on your computer.

If you are wondering how all of this works, it's quite simple:
1) Sync the time of your phone with the time settings on your camera.
2) Get outside and use an app (such as Strava, All Trails, etc.) or a handheld GPS device that can create a track. Make sure to begin recording the track before you start taking photos and to stop your recording when you are all done. Any activity including walking, running, biking, driving, canoeing, etc. can be used.
3) When you get home you can visit the app website and download the track in the form of a .GPX file.
4) Using Lightroom or GeoSetter you can instantly sync the time stamp of your photo with the times recorded in the .GPX track file. The locations recorded in the apps have a timestamp that can then be synced to the timestamp of your photo.

After conducting a few tests the past couple weeks this seems to be a great alternative to using the built-in iNaturalist geo-locator when doing a batch upload.

Benefits for geotagging images before uploading to iNaturalist

  • You do not need to have a modern camera with Bluetooth/WIFI capabilities.
  • More Accurate locations for your observations (NOTE: remember the location will be associated where YOU were and NOT necessarily the organism was).
  • Time is saved batch geotagging before you enter lots of observations into iNaturalist. All you will need to do is combine your images, add the species, and flag any that may be "Captive/Cultivated".
  • You'll have some fitness stats on your activity unavailable in apps like iNaturalist or eBird. These stats can be used as reference for travelling checklists in eBird (distance and time (effort)). Carrying a pen and paper will keep your eyes on the birds rather than your phone ;).
  • You will save battery power! Both on your phone and on your camera.
  • Strava and All Trails do not appear to interfere with other apps in use on your phone.
  • The apps are free compared to a GPS attachment for your camera allowing you to keep the money in your pocket and weight down on your camera.

    If you are interested in trying this out, Here is a link to a document I made that walks you through the entire process of using Strava and All Trails to track your outings, obtain the .GPX track file, and geotagging your images before uploading to iNaturalist

    https://citynatureyyc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Geotagging-photos-for-iNaturalist-by-Matt-Wallace.pdf

    I am working on a YouTube tutorial for this process and hope to have it done next week!

    Please share any comments or questions you may have.

    Naturally,

    Matt

Posted on April 24, 2021 17:18 by wowokayyes wowokayyes | 5 comments | Leave a comment

Archives