On the ground impacts of Global Climate change, sea level rise, changes to our forests and landscapes, development, all can be measured with precise scientific instruments. But the money and time to do so is often just not there and thus major changes around us are happening but remain undocumented. However, a partial solution is at hand by simply taking pictures over time from the same location. Combine those pictures into a sequence and you directly and permanently document and demonstrate change,and these changes can then be quantified.
MonitorChange (monitorchange.org) a concept to crowdsource changes in the environments where we live, work, play, or care about, be they parks, our backyards, our rivers, or our city scape, using nothing more than camera phones. The new thing here is that multiple people with multiple cameras can take pictures which are then processed using existing software so that no matter what camera type or format the pictures were originally taken with they are transformed into uniform snapshots of the same scene with the same dimensions with all the objects in the pictures the same size and shape. This allows all the different pictures to be put into time lapse sequences that can be made into a video, a slide show, or used to measure change direct over days, years, or decades.
This concept has lots of applications to the type of work that ecologists, foresters, land managers, and environmental citizen groups do and provides an easy (and actually information dense) way of tracking long-term changes using volunteers using the smart phone that many carry in their pocket.
People can do this right now using existing materials at single sites or they can organize networks of camera stations at scales of parks, cities, watersheds, counties, states, countries, or the world.
Right now, MonitorChange is a presentation of an idea. Anyone can modify this in any way they like and implement it at any scale. No copyrights. No permissions needed.
A short video explaining the MonitorChange can be found at http://youtube/A1ULAsEQAWs.
For more technical details on doing the picture rectification see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2pEKjw3Idk
Possible places/groups to implement are watershed societies, riverkeepers, stream crossings, trail clubs, stream monitoring groups; coastal beaches, dunes, marshes; lichen plots, restorations sites, forestry sites, parks, refuges, new developments, your backyard, construction of a building, the green-up in spring and the leaf drop in the fall of forests and so forth
For more information and to sign up go to monitorchange.org.
MonitorChange was developed by Sam Droege, a biologist at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland.