Snapshot Serengeti.
December 13, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Snapshot Serengeti A Zooniverse animal-spotting project. Bird-bombs, charismatic megafauna, snuggling buffalo, ghosts of serval cats. Maddeningly addictive citizen science. Even the 'nothing here' landscapes are lovely.
posted by Erasmouse (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is so cool! I am looking at pictures of neat animals FOR SCIENCE.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:42 PM on December 13, 2012

I was doing this the other day and I got a photo of a DEAD AND DISMEMBERED zebra being chomped on by a shadowy figure that I guess must have been a lion. There... there isn't a checkbox for 'being messily devoured' next to 'moving' and 'eating'.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

It turns out a zorilla is NOT a half-zebra, half-gorilla.
posted by theodolite at 1:10 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

It turns out a zorilla is NOT a half-zebra, half-gorilla.

Mad wizard's experiment.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2012

Hello, um, you ...
posted by mudpuppie at 1:43 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aw, I pressed "Discuss" to see what was going on with a particular photo, and now when I return to the gallery I get the tutorial again. Do I need to register or something?
posted by CancerMan at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2012

You can classify without registering, but I think you can save your 'place' with a Zooniverse registration. You can also save favorites, which is nice!
posted by Erasmouse at 2:01 PM on December 13, 2012

Okay, I am getting very tired of wildebeest(s).
posted by mudpuppie at 2:03 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes but if you dutifully count wildebeest and gazelles for 40 minutes you get a baby elephant!
posted by Erasmouse at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2012


I did get a couple of warthogs a while ago, and an ostrich. No elephants, though. :(
posted by mudpuppie at 2:09 PM on December 13, 2012

No Howard Moon? No Vince Noir? No Bob Fossil? Then this is no Zooniverse.
posted by snwod at 5:26 PM on December 13, 2012

This is wonderful, but I'm so cynical that every time I get something cool, like a giraffe, I am positive that they're just feeding me an already-identified image to keep my morale up. I'm sure they don't trust "the wisdom of crowds" as far as they can throw it, and that they really just need us to weed out the hundreds of thousands of pictures of grass blowing in the wind so that trained biologists can focus on the pictures with, you know, actual animals in them.

I hope I didn't just ruin this for anybody else
posted by agentofselection at 6:31 PM on December 13, 2012

Holy shit is this addictive.
posted by desjardins at 8:42 PM on December 13, 2012

I've spent a fair amount of time in the Serengeti, and I'd say that the distribution of animals in the photo traps matches well to my experience. Lots and lots of tommies, impala, wildebeest and zebras, but every once in a while you get lucky with something else.

My favorites are the night shots. The park is officially closed at night, and as mudpuppie pointed out, it's for good reason. Due to a massive bureaucratic mistake I once did take a night drive through the park, and it was incredible. Civet cats, tons of owls, of course hyenas, and one really grumpy and recalcitrant hippo who would not move his fat ass out of the road. Scary, but glad to have done it once.
posted by cRamsay at 12:15 PM on December 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for all the nice comments about our project. I wanted to make clear that we designed the site to be as efficient and fair as possible, so that images that are empty drop out as quickly as possible. Also, once there's agreement we retire an images - we really aren't wasting anyone's time. In other words - this is guaranteed useful procrastination.
posted by chrislintott at 12:56 AM on December 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

Hi chrislintott!

Thanks for the site. I'm addicted (and am a sucker for citizen science projects). One suggestion -- it would be really helpful to have the option of indicating that something is present, but it's difficult to tell what. There are some shots of torsos, legs, ears, etc., that are probably identifiable to experts, but are just random body parts to users of the site. I've been picking animals at random in those cases, because you can't move on to the next picture without making an ID.

Anyway, thanks again. I'm still waiting for a giraffe.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not sure whether to thank you for the site, chrislintott-- I'm spending waaaay too much time on it!

Probably a much too complicated suggestion but.. I've been dragging the night images to my desktop so I can raise the exposure in photoshop, which lets me identify those glowing eyes 8 times out of 10. A built-in slider would be a great feature to add for a developer with too much time on their hands.
posted by Erasmouse at 11:25 AM on December 15, 2012

It would be nice to have an option for 'I see an animal but I really can't tell what it is'. That's come up for me several times already.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:21 PM on December 15, 2012

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