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mapping dive site

gps geotagging

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#1 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 05:43 PM

Does anyone have experience using GPS devices to help map dive sites? They won't work underwater but I'm heading to a dive site (Twin Rocks, Anilao) where most or all will be visible from the surface. So the plan is to take bird-eye-view images from the surface while a GPS tracker records position, and then add the GPS information to the EXIF data based on time stamps. Software to do this already exists and GPS trackers cost as little as $50-100, some even being waterproof to 1m to protect against splashing.

 

Does anyone have experience on getting gps-tracking information or maps on the web with Google earth or other means. Or do I have to go to html5 and code something myself.

 

Does anyone have experience on getting depth information added to the exif data of the images.

 

This is all for a fun citizen-science project so the solutions have to be affordable. However, comments don't have to be limited to "cheap solutions" as others may have grant money or deeper pockets.

 

Thanks for any tips,   Bart


Edited by Glasseye Snapper, 07 March 2014 - 05:47 PM.

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#2 BHC

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 12:58 AM

I don't quite follow what you're trying to do, but I can share my experiences.  When I dive locally, I sometimes carry a small GPS receiver (Qstarz BT-Q1000XT) in a small plastic case (Pelican 1010) connected to a line, which I hold or attach to myself.  The case is waterproof and bobs on the surface above me while I swim along the bottom.  When the dive is over, the GPS track can be merged with the photos to yield GPS-tagged underwater photos.  Presumably one can replace the altitude information in the GPS track with depth data from a dive computer, but I haven't tried.

 

This arrangement has some practical problems/irritations.  The GPS track is intermittent, although if I find something interesting underwater, I'll hang around long enough that it will record some points.  Having to manage a line to the surface while handling an SLR with strobes can be a bother.  An alternative would be to carry the GPS and case in a BCD pocket and only deploy them to the surface if something interesting turns up, but I don't trust the Pelican case at depth.



#3 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 10:18 AM

Hi BHC

 

Thanks for the feedback. It is good to hear this has been done before. The QstarZ is one of the GPS trackers I came across, another one that caught my interest was the miniHomer (~$60, http://www.navin.com.tw/miniHomer.htm). That one includes a compass, is waterproof to 1m and can export the tracks in a very broad range of formats. Some of them also seem to do a better job in not loosing the satellite connection and give a more continuous track.

 

I like the suggestion to replace the altitude data in the GPS track by depth data. I'm a programmer so that should not be too hard to do myself. The tricky part is to convert the tracks into a map with/without a superimposed map image. Here is a hand-drawn example (a google earth background image) of the simplest version of what I'm aiming for.

 

TwinRocks.JPG

 

At the highest level there will be a few major ecological zones; here pebble/intertidal, shallow reef, and sand/coral pathes. Within those there will be some more prominent features like the white semicircle which is the only large table coral, the "twin rocks" pinnacle and a sunken barge. Territories for different animals are mapped on top of it all. I would like to link underwater images of distinct features or species to the corresponding places on the map and perhaps add lines that link to video clips of a transect swim-through.

 

I think some of the above can be done with existing software. However, I expect 200-300 species of fish on this one reef, plus more for invertebrates so that will be far too much to cram onto one map. One solution is many maps, a larger zoomable map, different maps for different sections of the site, or a fully dynamic map with information added/removed as layers upon user request. I can see all of that being doable using for instance an HTML5 canvas but it will be hard to find the time to actually pull it off. So I was hoping some programs for this might already exist.

 

In practice I will be happy to just get the basics but it doesn't hurt to aim high.

 

Bart

 

PS: not really important, but those familiar with Twin Rocks will realize I messed up the numbering. 1 is the giant clams

2 is the spiny lobsters

3 is the staghorn coral patch with loads of cardinals

 

 


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#4 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 08:13 PM

I played around with html5 libraries and the google maps api. Really cool!

 

Check out http://members.shaw.ca/bhazes/example5

 

I can do pretty much anything I could do on the static image but now you can use all the normal tools to zoom and pan, change from satelite to map view, etc. By using the api directly you also get around the fact that you are not supposed to copy images from Google maps. There are other nice tricks. A place marker can show pop-up text when the mouse hovers over it. In this case you can also drag the marker to different places and the longitude/latitude for that spot are then displayed above the image. I used that to find the coordinates I needed to draw the polygons. A GPS tracker (Columbus V-990) is on its way which should make placing marks and polygons a lot easier and more precise. Instead of plain markers you can also use icons that depict jpeg or png images and lots more.

 

To take it to the next level I think it may be possible to combine google api with libraries that give a more dynamic interaction; such as menus to show/hide items, play videos etc. The only thing missing is enough time to play with all the neat tools.

 

Bart

 

 


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#5 FanchGadjo

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:56 AM

Nice project ! Let us know when you have added pictures and metadata.


Edited by FanchGadjo, 02 April 2014 - 02:56 AM.


#6 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:37 PM

The map now has one marker that, upon clicking, shows and infowindow with image, title and link to the corresponding page on fishbase. I also got some neat icons for the dive site and resort. Unfortunately, they work on my laptop but no longer when transferred to the server, at least not until I sort it out.

 

The image window is nice if you have a few images or stories to add. For larger numbers there is a "panoramio" interface, where you can add many tagged images and show subsets based on the tags. That will be the next experiment.

 

Here is the latest version

 

http://members.shaw....eTwinRocks.html

 

I also made a hierarchy starting at http://members.shaw....veMapWorld.html

 

Double clicking the markers hops from world to Philippines, Anilao, and then Twin Rocks.


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#7 FanchGadjo

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:15 AM

I can see your false clownfish anemone and the link to fishbase.

The hierarchy works well too.

Keep up the good work ! ;)



#8 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Rather than hard-coding each feature added to google maps I wanted to create a simple list, with one entry for each feature. That required a bit of reading about javascript, which seems to be an interesting programming language and not too hard to understand if you are already familiar with a language like python.

 

To see the results for the Twin Rocks dive site go to: http://hazeslab.med....Twin_Rocks.html

To see the results for the Anilao dive area go to: http://hazeslab.med....eMapAnilao.html

(these links are temporary. I will post a more permanent place in late June, after I get back from my trip).

 

Hovering over each feature gives you a label.

Clicking a dive site icon jumps to that site but currently I'm only working on the Twin Rocks (all others link to that page for now).

Clicking on a fish, gives a larger picture, common and scientific name, habitat description, and link to fishbase.

 

Ultimately, I want to have some buttons or pull-down menus outside the map where you can select to see just all butterflyfishes, corals, nudis, ... But that is for another weekend.

 

Bart

 

Here is how the three fish features are implemented

 

 

var fishList = [

  {family:'Pomacentridae', genus:'Amphiprion', species:'ocellaris',

   common:'False clown anemonefish', pict:'PICT0492',

   habitat:'always lives in/near an anemone',

   position:new google.maps.LatLng(13.689823, 120.889906)},

  {family:'Carangidae', genus:'Caranx', species:'sexfasciatus',

   common:'Bigeye trevally', pict:'PICT1171',

   habitat:'forms a large school near Twin Rocks pinnacles during the day. Hunts at night',

   position:new google.maps.LatLng(13.690522, 120.889039)},

  {family:'Chaetodontidae', genus:'Chaetodon', species:'baronessa',

   common:'Eastern triangular butterflyfish', pict:'PICT0458',

   habitat:'Coral-rich areas. Mostly along reef edge at Twin Rocks',

   position:new google.maps.LatLng(13.690699, 120.889243)}

]; 

 

Adding a new species is as easy as duplicating an existing one and updating the fields between curly braces. A bit of javascript then creates all the thumbnails with associated popup info window and even the link to fishbase. A similar list defines position, names, and URLs for dive sites.


Edited by Glasseye Snapper, 06 April 2014 - 03:12 PM.

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#9 FanchGadjo

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:51 PM

Good ! But pictures go out of the frame without the possibility of scrolling.



#10 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:42 PM

Yes I found that annoying too, but you can use regular google maps scrolling by either dragging the map or using the up/down arrows to see the images in full. Still it is clear that there is only a small number of thumbnails that can fit on the map so another method is needed.

 

In the latest version the browser window is divided into two panels: the map on the left and an info side panel on the right. At the moment it shows static text and images but I want to have the map and info panel communicate so you can select what you want to see and get a decent size image plus text in the info panel and markers in the map panel to show where to find them in the dive site. The info panel also has a scroll bar, so it can have a lot of information when needed.

 

Latest: http://hazeslab.med....Twin_Rocks.html

 

Bart


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#11 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 10:25 AM

After return from my Philippines trip I have been working away on the reef biomapping website and the latest version is both aesthetically and functionally close to my vision. To demonstrate the functionallity I have uploaded 20 butterflyfish and two nudibranch and will be adding a few more features and automation steps before adding the remaining hundreds of fish and dozens of invertebrates.

 

Unfortunately, Google's map that was so pretty at the start of this project has been updated by a version that is completely clouded over. My bad luck, but I hope Google will rectify this in a future update. The latest version can be found here:

 

http://hazeslab.med....EST/Twin_Rocks/


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#12 FanchGadjo

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 05:49 AM

Too bad for the clouds, but the overall idea is still great !

 

The background makes it look like a 90's website, though.


Edited by FanchGadjo, 16 July 2014 - 05:50 AM.


#13 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 04:21 PM

Ha ha, I learned to code HTML by hand in the mid 90's but for me this is "very advanced" as normally I just have black text on white background. Still coding everything in a text editor though.

 

Thanks for the feedback. I'll look at a more 21st century look before going life.


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#14 FanchGadjo

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:52 AM

For those who are nostalgic about the 90's look, here is geocities-izer :

http://www.wonder-to.../geocitiesizer/

 

;)



#15 r4e

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 10:49 PM

For the 21st century look, you might want to check what Word Press offers. Compared to html websites, you'll need to setup a SQL database first. But after the initial efforts, it becomes quite efficient creating new pages and especially updating them on a timely basis. Also, you can change the style afterwards as often as you wish.

 

Bart, I liked your idea of showing the map areas for different species. I wonder could you duplicate the same with one or more google plugins for wordpress.


vimeo.com/r4e

http://www.cerella.fi for the Underwater Photographer and Videographer

 


#16 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:54 PM

There is a google maps plugin for WordPress so the answer is probably yes. However, for now I want to keep it simple as a static content server using only client-side computation. I have some python programs that build the pages from images dumped into species/site-specific directories, and some data files pulled from fishbase. This would have to change if I wanted to make it into a social experiment with others adding new dive sites, mapping data, photos, videos, etc. My current system can evolve into that, but I will deal with it if the need arises (and if it can be done without becoming a full-time job).

 

Bart


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