New Way to Monitor Parks
The City of Greenbelt Department of Public Works is partnering with the local startup Chronolog to acquire and install photo monitoring stations in Greenbelt’s parks. The first two stations are located at Buddy Attick Park and were installed by Joe Doss and Alex Moxey from the Department of Public Works. Park goers on their daily walks with their dog or children can use their cell phones to take a picture from a fixed point, email it to Chronolog, and it will be used to create a time lapse “movie” of that area. The more pictures that park goers take and send to Chronolog the better the “movie” gets. This will allow the City to monitor different areas of its parks over time, and anyone who sends Chronolog a picture will have access to the time lapse “movie”.
The idea for these stations started with wildlife biologist Sam Droege who wanted to tap into the citizen science potential of the public for data collection. When asked about what these stations are and how they should be used, Ky Wildermuth of Chronolog said “The idea was to create stationary reference points that would position cell phone cameras in a specific direction. Park conservationist would mount brackets in front of ecosystems they needed to monitor. People who ventured out into these areas could place their phone into the bracket, take a picture, and email it to be compiled for a time lapse. That time lapse could be analyzed to track plant life, a restoration project, or environmental change.”
The City of Greenbelt is assisting with this project by providing space for two photo monitoring stations that will provide more image data to Chronolog. This image data will allow Chronolog to refine its process and further develop their stations to make their tools applicable to as many parks as possible. The goal of Chronolog according to Ky Wildermuth “is to give any park that needs to document a site the tools to do so. Patrons are already in these parks so we aim to connect those who enjoy public parks with those who are trying to preserve them.”
This technology relies on lots of data, so the next time you are at Buddy Attick Park take a moment to participate in documenting the history of the park and its natural areas. Remember the more pictures that are submitted the better the time lapse “movie” gets. For more information about Chronolog visit their website http://chronolog.io.