These are draft articles in preparation for publication. They are not intended for citation or quotation, and no permission has been given for their reproduction.

Journal article:

    Landstand: An Archive for Mass Rephotography

    This is the main/lead article for the proposed Forum. The rephotography cycle will never scale up without serious archives. Here is a proposal for one plus the story of how it did not happen. (4,000 words)


Online multimedia:

    Gobstoppers and Cents: Forms for Mass Rephotography

    These photo demos argue for organizing landcover imagery into books, and demonstrate shooting on a simple grid, with images of Nemo and Crow Peak, South Dakota. (images + 10,000 words)

    Extra for intermediate users: Gobstoppers in Google Earth

    These floating spheres of photo-stacks are illustrated in the “Gobstoppers” article above, but you need Google Earth to see them in action. (A 3D mouse like a SpaceNavigator is optional but fun.) Google Earth Pro > Add > Network Link > Or download this folder to handle these files more quickly on your own hard drive.


    Rephotography 101: A Lesson Plan for Mass Rephotography

    This outline lays out one way to start students in rephotography, by spending one class period using their phones to reshoot old photos of their campus. (PowerPoint file, 22 MB)



Robb Campbell
Estes Campbell Law Firm
Northfield, Minnesota

Landstand: An Archive for Mass Rephotography

I propose that together we create Landstand: a real digital archive with tens of millions of ground photos, handled as remote sensing, distributed in millions and rephotographed by the thousands.

Ground photos– landscape photographs taken near the ground– are amazing data for landcover science, environmental history, and myriad pursuits in and out of academia. They are surprisingly plentiful, affordably global, easily legible, demonstrably durable, and they’re cheap. They stretch across all disciplines and back to the 1840s. They help us to look under the canopy, to see vertical structures, to calibrate remote sensing, and to rehumanize GIS. And rephotography– replicating them from the same camera points– brings increasing returns as series for comparison.

But we read and reshoot ground photos about 1% as much as we should. The problem is the downloading, because the distribution of ground photos is stuck in a premodern, preprofessional world where they are no one’s particular responsibility or focus.

So– how many professions take as their mission the handling of millions of digital images documenting landcover over decades? One: remote sensing. Hand it over to them. This article describes how the author came to work with ground photos, the ingredients for a serious archive, and why it can only be made cooperatively.

Roger Auch
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Eric Higgs
Environmental Studies
University of Victoria
Dani Inkpen
History of Science and Technology
University of King’s College
Axel Schaffland
Institute of Cognitive Science
University of Osnabrück
Benjamin T. Wilder
Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill
University of Arizona
Danielle S. Willkens
School of Architecture
Georgia Institute of Technology