ABCs of DEW Software Investigation 8-1:

Introduction to Picture Posts

Picture post  
Pictures of the same location provide a wealth of information and data to monitor changing environmental conditions. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has research projects devoted to “repeat photography”, such as documenting Mojave Desert Ghost Towns and Mining Sites. Woods Hole Research Center has taken this a step further by accumulating aerial photographs over the same area.

Setting up the camera to take photographs of the same location can be time consuming, and it is not practical to leave the camera in the field, waiting to take the next photograph. Our project team worked with several local park groups in the Boston area to create a stable platform in which people use their digital cameras to take repeat photographs of not just one scene, but the complete 360 degree landscape in less than a minute. We have also created a free website for people to upload their pictures for others to view. This is our PicturePost system.

If your school, community center, science center, zoo, arboretum, botanical garden is interested in building and installing their own PicturePost (about $20 and an evening of time to build and an hour or two to install), contact us so we may set up a FREE folder for your pictures to be shared with others. Directions for building a PicturePost can be found here. They may also be ordered from (insert address and link for Illinois company). This company makes them in recycled plastic guaranteed to last for decades.

How-To Documents

The list at below may be found on the Digital Earth Watch website ( with links to the resources that were created byJessi Amt, Brian McDonough, Ormar Pinango, and Brent Shannon from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute during their 14 week internship at the Museum of Science in Boston to help people interested in getting started with Picture Post projects.

  • Build and install a PicturePost
    • Taking pictures with the PicturePost
    • Example of PicturePost picture sequences
  • Make a movie using Picture Post images
  • Uploading pictures to the PicturePost website
    • Software to help prepare/rename photos
  • Using the PicturePost website features to view pictures
  • Examples using the repeat photographs to monitor environmental change