|Spend the time||outdoors|
4-inch-by-4-inch post (instructions on the site; $30 for materials), 8-sided camera rest (make your own or buy for $25 on the site), digital camera, and computer with Internet access.
Picture Post invites everyone with a digital camera to become an environmental monitor. All you have to do is place a 4-inch-by-4-inch wood or plastic post in the ground, with the top at chest-height. Then, resting your camera on the top of the post, take a series of nine photographs: eight to cover a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and a ninth of the sky directly over the post. Upload your photos to the Picture Post website, and you’ve just helped track our changing environment.
Sponsored by NASA and housed at the University of New Hampshire, the project asks participants to: 1) take digital photographs at a designated Picture Post location in a consistent, sequential order, 2) upload the digital photographs to the Picture Post website, 3) analyze the digital photographs using the image tools on the Picture Post website, 4) continue to take photos on a regular weekly basis, and 5) share digital photographic records with local community organizations dedicated to environmental monitoring and use.
A Google world map on the home page shows the location of all Picture Posts—there are currently about 30 in the Northeastern United States and one in Italy. Participants can set up a “My Page” and collect their favorite panoramas, use tools to help organize and view their own photos, and use applications that help focus their monitoring efforts on certain types of plants or seasonal events.
The organizers encourage participants to place their Posts in areas of environmental interest, such as reforested land, and to work with educational and community organizations to put the data to good use.