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Become a citizen scientist

The more 'repeats' we receive, the better the analysis of changes in the environment can be and so we are very grateful for any help in increasing our database!

To get involved, you simply need to follow the four steps described below.

STEP 1: Register with the Project

Anyone can browse the historical photographs on the rePhotoSA website (go to Search photos) and see the scope and details of the collection. However, to upload a repeat photograph, you need to Register with the project.

rePhotoSA is a joint project between the Plant Conservation Unit and the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town and so once registered, you will receive an ADU number and will be prompted to choose a password. If you are already registered with any other ADU citizen science project (see below) you do NOT need to register again, simply log on with your current ADU credentials.

Other Citizen Science projects managed by or in partnership with the ADU:

  AFRING  |   BIRP: Birds in Reserves  |   CAR: Bird Roadcounts
  CWAC: Waterbirds  |   MyBirdPatch  |   SAFRING: Bird Ringing
  SABAP2: Bird Atlas 2  |   Virtual Museum

Citizen Science Journal:

  Biodiversity Observations

Other Project Web Sites:

  FrogMAP  |   LepiMAP  |   MammalMAP  |   Penguin Watch  |   Weaver research

STEP 2: Search/browse the database

In this step you can search the extensive online collection of historical photographs via a 'live' searchable map of southern Africa (see Search photos). The map has been overlain with a Quarter Degree Square (QDS) grid. Click on a QDS to view the set of photographs taken within that particular area. Once you have selected an image to repeat, and its high resolution A4-printable image has been downloaded and saved, the image is ready for printing to take into the field. If you are printing the image from Microsoft Office Picture Manager, make sure that 'Fit to Picture Frame' is unchecked at the bottom of the print window; otherwise sections of the image may be cut off upon printing.

STEP 3: Take a repeat photograph

Using the location description of the photograph, you now need to relocate the general area and then the specific point from which the photograph was taken. You can do this by using free and accessible online tools, such as Google Earth and Google Maps.

Once you have located the position of the historical photograph you can then go to the site to take a 'repeat'. We have provided Guidelines to help you with this step. You will also need to collect some basic field information for each repeat using the 'Field Datasheet' form, which you can download from link provided below each historical photograph.

Please make sure that your camera is set to high quality JPEG or, if you have the software, take the photograph in RAW. The RAW images can then be converted to JPEGs on your desktop computer and uploaded to the site.

STEP 4: Upload your repeat photograph

Once you have taken your repeat photograph, Upload it to the rePhotoSA database. This can be done in two ways:

1) click on the 'Upload' tab in the top right hand corner of the website, or

2) use the map to browse to the historical photograph of which you took a repeat, and click on the 'Repeat photo for this record' option.

Note that there is no limit on the size of photograph that can be uploaded. Generally a photograph of 3 MB or higher is desired but this will be limited by your internet connectivity.