Research Highlight

Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library

12.03.2012 (Mon)

A picture is worth a thousand words. Geo-referenced field photos, taken from GPS cameras and smartphones, are even better, as they document location-specific observations of croplands, forests, wetlands, lakes, flood, fire, insect outbreaks and so on. Many of those field photos can be used to assess the impacts of drought, flood, fire, and insect infestation, to evaluate water quality, and to support interpretation of airborne and satellite images.

In 2011 the researchers at the University of Oklahoma released the Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library to the public, which is a web-based data portal for researchers, stakeholders and citizen scientists to share and archive geo-referenced field photos across the world (Xiao et al., 2011). The data portal has a simple user interface that allows people to upload, query, visualize and download geo-referenced field photos in the library. All field photos are linked with time series satellite images (2000 to present) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites, part of the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS).

Just imagine that thousands of people with GPS cameras and smartphones participate in taking and sharing field photos across the globe, and the resultant large amounts of field photos will substantially enhance the capacity in monitoring our rapidly changing world.

Share your field photos, show your footprints, and support monitoring our changing planet Earth.

Fig. 1. A schematic workflow that illustrates an integration of geo-referenced field photos, the web-based Field Photo Library and satellite image analysis for dynamic mapping of agriculture and forests in monsoon Asia in an era of community remote sensing

Xiao, X., Dorovskoy, P., Biradar, C., and Bridge, E., 2011, A library of geo-referenced photos from the field, AGU EOS, 98 (49): 453-454.