You can take photos of each tree or item. Photos are usually taken when carrying out surveys using the OTISS survey app.
- During the survey, when you are entering details about a tree, use the ‘Photo’ icon on the survey form to take one or more photos.
- You can markup a photo with some coloured lines and arrows to help clarify your recommendations for the work needed, or to point out some feature or defect that is mentioned in the survey notes.
- The photos are considered to be an integral part of the survey and are sync’ed to the OTISS website along with the other survey data.
NB: Please read the main Photos page first to get the overall idea and then return to the information below about using photos on the survey apps.
There are several ways of viewing the Photo Gallery for a tree/item.
- When using the Map, select the Photos tool and then touch a tree/item.
- The survey form, has a Photo icon at the top of the screen.
- The List Of Items page shows the most recent ‘Identification’ photo for each tree/item and provides a menu option to see the full Photo Gallery.
The Photo Gallery page shows all the photos for a single tree/item. Swipe left/right on the screen to see them all.
For each photo, we show the date the photo was taken and its Category (read about categories). You can also enter an optional Caption, i.e. a short note about the photo.
When re-surveying a site, the ‘Identification’ and ‘Survey’ are downloaded with the survey data. This allows you to see how things have changed since the previous survey.
Underneath each photo the Caption and Category fields can be updated.
- Change the Category of the selected photos. Read about categories…
- Edit the Caption of the selected photos.
When you tap on the photo itself, you can do the following.
- Markup Photo will open the simple, built-in photo editor which allows you to view the photo in more detail and to markup the image with coloured lines and arrows.
- Rotate the selected image clockwise or anti-clockwise for better viewing.
- Delete the selected photo. Note: you cannot delete photos from previous surveys – those photos are part of that survey and are preserved as part of the audit trail.
- The Choose Photo Editor allows you to edit the photo using one of the photo editor apps that you have installed on your phone/tablet. For example: Photoshop Express (Adobe), Snapseed (Google), Sketch (Sony). These apps allow for more sophisticated editing and cropping of the photo. Note: some photo editors or drawing apps do not follow the Android rules for editing images between applications, so they may not appear on the list, or do not return the changed file in a sensible way. In these cases, unfortunately there is not a lot we can do – so please use a different photo editing app.
Using the Camera
On the Photo Gallery page, use the camera icon at the top of the screen to take a new photo of this tree/item. Your device’s own Camera application is used to take the photo – so hopefully you will be familiar with how it works. After you have taken the photo, the Camera app shows you the photo and provides buttons or icons for ‘OK thats good‘ or ‘no – try again‘ (or something equivalent). Pressing the OK button sends the photo to the OTISS survey app, where we add it to our database so that it will be sync’ed with the rest of the survey data.
When taking photos, consider configuring your device’s camera to use a lower resolution and (if possible) to crop them to the smallest size. This greatly reduces the time it takes to sync the photos with the OTISS website; it improves performance on the website; and maximises the number of photos you can save on OTISS.
Each phone/tablet will have different camera features, so before you use the OTISS survey apps, bring up the device’s Camera application and press the Settings icon/menu. Consider changing the ‘resolution’, ‘size’ or ‘crop’ settings so that the camera will take small, low resolution photos – these will be perfectly adequate for surveying and adding to reports. Also you could enable GPS tagging on the camera – it may prove useful in the future.
Photo View and Markup
This is our first release of the Photo Markup feature. We would appreciate your comments and suggestions on how to improve it.
The Photo Markup screen allows you to zoom around the photo to see more details. Just use the normal, two finger pinch and dragging gestures to zoom in/out and move around the photo. A double tap on the image will zoom in or out as appropriate.
You can markup a photo with some coloured lines and arrows to help clarify your recommendations for the work needed, or to point out some feature or defect that is mentioned in the survey notes. The tool bar along the top of the image provides the following tools:
- When the Move button is selected you can safely zoom in/out and move around the image without marking or erasing any lines.
- With the Pencil button selected, you simply draw your finger/stylus across the screen to mark a coloured line on the image. The width of the line can be changed using the Settings button. Note: if you use two fingers, you can move/pan/zoom around the image without drawing a line or having to swap back to the Move tool.
- With the Arrow button selected, you simply draw your finger/stylus across the screen to mark a coloured arrow on the image. The width of the arrow can be changed using the Settings button.
- The Coloured buttons allow you to choose which colour to use for the next line or arrow.
- The Settings button brings up a dialog where you can choose the line width for subsequent lines and arrows.
- Touch the Erase button and then simply swipe across the lines or arrows to remove them. It will always remove the entire line.
- Note: A white outline highlights which tool is selected. For example, when the pencil button is highlighted then you can draw coloured lines.
IMPORTANT: When you markup a photo with coloured lines and then save the photo, these lines are now a permanent part of the photo and cannot be removed. So when you re-edit a marked-up photo, you cannot erase the previously added lines. This is why we have the option to save your markups as a ‘new’ photo – you can then keep the original un-marked photo and have a marked-up version as well.
Photo Size and Resolution
NEW: The camera resolution on modern phones/tablets range from 3 to 20 megapixels (abbreviated MP). The corresponding file sizes can range from 600KBytes to a huge 10MBytes per image!
For survey reports, photos of 4MP (avg. 1.2MBytes) is more than sufficient. And for many applications 2MP is perfectly adequate. Using these low/medium resolution images greatly reduces the time it takes to sync the photos to/from the OTISS website; it improves performance on the website; and maximises the number of photos you can save on OTISS.
Therefore, we have a Photo Size feature (configured on the Settings page). When you take a new photo, the resolution of the image provided by the camera is reduced to the required number of megapixels. Note: we never enlarge the photos provided by the camera.
Android Camera Permissions
The Android system has an inbuilt set of security permissions and a strict rules for controlling them (read more about permissions). The OTISS survey apps follow the Android guidelines and will ask your permission to allow the app to use the camera – typically you only have to do this once.
Normally this works fine, but occasionally the Android system seems to withdraw the permission or never gets around to asking you. In this case the Camera icon is disabled and the app cannot use the camera until you do the following.
- On your phone/tablet, open the main Settings app .
- Tap Apps or Application Manager (depending on your device, this may look different).
- Tap the app you want to update.
- Tap Permissions.
- We recommend that you turn on all the permissions we have asked for. Next to each permission, move the switch to the right until it turns green.