Benthic Photo Survey Paper


A paper was published in the Journal of Open Research Software about Benthic Photo Survey (BPS). BPS is the component of MORE-MAPS used to process raw field data into a useful format. You can read or download the paper here.


Photo survey techniques are common for resource management, ecological research, and ground truthing for remote sensing but current data processing methods are cumbersome and inefficient. The Benthic Photo Survey (BPS) software described here was created to simplify the data processing and management tasks associated with photo surveys of underwater habitats. BPS is free and open source software written in Python with a QT graphical user interface. BPS takes a GPS log and jpeg images acquired by a diver or drop camera and assigns the GPS position to each photo based on time-stamps (i.e. geotagging). Depth and temperature can be assigned in a similar fashion (i.e. depth-tagging) using log files from an inexpensive consumer grade depth / temperature logger that can be attached to the camera. BPS provides the user with a simple interface to assign quantitative habitat and substrate classifications to each photo. Location, depth, temperature, habitat, and substrate data are all stored with the jpeg metadata in Exchangeable image file format (Exif). BPS can then export all of these data in a spatially explicit point shapefile format for use in GIS. BPS greatly reduces the time and skill required to turn photos into usable data thereby making photo survey methods more efficient and cost effective. BPS can also be used, as is, for other photo sampling techniques in terrestrial and aquatic environments and the open source code base offers numerous opportunities for expansion and customization.