Monitoring ecological change with smart phones and social media

Inspired by the USGS's Sam Droege (the man behind, we're turning park visitors into a remote sensor network! It's simple: Put up a sign asking people to set their cameras or phones in an angle bracket, take a photo, and post it with a hashtag to Twitte or Flickr. Then we harvest the photos and create timelapse views of change over time.

Make your own change brackets!

Check out our Instructable with details on making the signs and running the software to get your slideshows up and runnning.

Active Bracket Projects

McClellan Park in Cupertino

As part of our Complete Park/Complete Nerd project, we installed three brackets at McClellan Park in Cupertino.

McLaren Park in San Francisco

As part of our Complete Park/Complete Nerd project, we installed two brackets at McLaren Park, San Francisco's second-largest city park. McLaren is poised to get a lot of investment, so we expect increasing traffic at these signs over time. One near the parking lot at Mansell and Visitacion Avenue overlooks an area rich in native wildflowers. The other, near the west outlet John F. Shelley Drive, overlooks a meadow that turns lush green in spring. These were installed on September 18, 2016.

Rim Fire Monitoring in Stanislaus National Forest

In 2013, the Rim Fire burned more than 400 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park. A lot of that burned area was in the Stanislaus National Forest. Nerds for Nature teamed up with National Forest staff and the nonprofit Wholly H2O to install a dozen signs around the forest, our largest and most permanent Change Brackets installation yet!

Pilot: Fire recovery on Mount Diablo

For our first effort, installed in winter 2014, we're documenting habitat change in the aftermath of the Morgan Fire on Mount Diablo. We're collaborating with Mount Diablo State Park and the Wildlife Society, Western Section.

Other Examples

Monitor the Makers at Maker Faire 2014

We had three signs installed at Maker Faire 2014 on May 16, 17, and 18 in San Mateo.

Santa Monica Mountains Springs Fire

National Park Service staff at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area installed ten camera stands throughout the area burned by the Springs Fire in 2013. They made a cool interactive map so you can see exactly where the post is while looking at the images.