Crowd sourcing a time lapse

I’m a huge fan of time lapse as a way to show motion – almost all of my videos from my flights are shot that way – but a new research study recently released offers a different use for the medium. And also a very interesting way to assemble the content.

The works in the video show massive changes to various destinations over time. Waterfalls shift. Buildings go up and come down. Glaciers recede. Lakes drain. All of these things would be reasonable enough to document if one had the resources and motivation to set up cameras and record for years and the collect the images and produce the video. Or, as was done by the researchers, just go to the internet. More than 86 million images were collected and categorized.

Groups of photos at a common site – more than 20,000 locations are identified in the project – were processed and skewed to represent a single point of view and then assembled in time sequence. Some serious math going on to make all that happen, but the results are incredibly cool.

Added bonus: Looking at the examples used in the video and knowing that I’ve been to many of the same destinations, stood in the same spot and taken a photo which I’m sure looks an awful lot like one of the frames in the time lapse.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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