CTS Blog

News, updates, and other miscellaneous tidbits related to natural resource conservation

Plant Tracker

Sunset Landscape

Tracking plants geographically has become vitally important to furthering our understanding of how to successfully execute environmental restoration efforts.

Building a Mapping Platform

This website is built on top of GeoDjango which will enable us to develop advanced mapping tools for all sorts of people who work with geographic data, from hobbyists to scientists. Since my own background is in plants, the initial iterations of these mapping tools will revolve around the tracking of plant populations and seed collections.

Our first prototype will keep things simple, by allowing users to record waypoints on a ...

Time-Lapse Seed Germination: Part II

Capturing time-lapse video using a digital SLR camera.

This is the second and final post regarding our first timelapse project. If you haven't read part one yet, you can find it here.

Final Results

The below video represents the final results of our first timelapse project.

Technical Details

This project made use of a Canon 7D, an 18-55mm lens, powered with a AC adapter battery, a tripod, and a Raspberry Pi 3. Lighting was provided by an 11 Watt 1050 lumen LED bulb similar to this one.

The camera itself was triggered using the gphoto2 command line utility running on the Raspberry Pi which itself was connected to the DSLR camera via USB. You can find the source code used for ...

First Attempts

As stated above, our first attempts made use of a micro servo to manually control the camera. The results of this attempt can be seen in the animated GIF below. It shows a 'Blue Lake Stringless' garden bean germinating over a 5 hour period. That's about as long as we were able to capture images before we realized the servo method wasn't going to work for the long-term.


Even after transitioning away from the servo method, we ran into a few technical problems using the software method. The first major problem was that the camera needed to stay on indefinitely to respond to the software image capture signals every 15 minutes. Obviously, leaving the camera on continuously quickly drained the camera battery. This problem was mitigated in part using an AC battery pack, which allowed the battery to be plugged into a ...

Time-lapse seed germination: Part I

A project designed to capture the fascinating process of seed germination.

While most people have a functional understanding of what seed germination is, few people are curious enough about the topic to dig into the nitty-gritty details of how the process actually works. This project, on its face, aims to provoke such a sense of curiosity in a process that people have previously taken for granted.

Plant Blindness

Too often, plants are overlooked by people, and generally perceived as nothing more than a backdrop for the ...

Part II Now Available

You can now see the final results of this project and read about the technical details in part two of this project series.