Mapping Species Distributions

PHOTO SUBMISSIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


A few general notes about photos:

1) Note that copyright for all photos on E-Flora BC remains with the photographer.

2) Note that at E-Flora BC we do not provide permissions to use photos. All photos come with a contact form so that inquiries about permissions can be sent directly to the photographer.

3) Note that all photos that appear in the E-Flora BC photo galleries are automatically reduced in resolution and number of pixels per inch as an aid to discouraging photo theft (maximum resolution of 600 by 600 pixels).

For more information on photos on E-Flora BC, see also the Photography Page and the Photo Use FAQ.


General Info
  • I have forgotten my password, what do I do?
  • How can I correct or update one of my photos?
  • How do I find out what the Photo ID Number is?
  • How can I get a list of all the photos I've submitted?

  • Creating digital images
  • Which image formats do you accept?
  • Which color mode should I use?
  • How can I improve the quality of my scanned photos?
  • Is there someone who can scan my slides for me?
  • What software can I use to adjust my digital photos?
  • How do I resize my photos?

  • Uploading photos
  • What's the maximum size photo I can upload?
  • I get an error when I try to upload the image
  • The image starts uploading but never completes
  • The upload form doesn't seem to work

  • Taxon, types and other descriptive text
  • Why do I need to provide descriptive data about my photos?
  • What should I enter for the "habitat" field?
  • What's up with the "Type of Photo" field for plants?
  • Why is the wrong common name being displayed with my photo?


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  • I have forgotten my password, what do I do?
  • If you've forgotten your password, please send us an email and will resend it.


  • How can I get a list of all the photos I've submitted?
  • You can view all of your uploaded photos in our 'edit my photos' section. This will call up thumbnails of all of your submitted photos. The 'edit my photos' section allows you to view all of your upload ed photos, to check their status (published or unpublished), and to check the name they have been published under. The 'edit my photos' link is found on the Photo Upload page.


  • How can I correct or update one of my photos?
  • If you want update or change the photo details that accompany each photo you submit, go to the 'edit my photos' link on the Photo Upload Page. Call up the photo you wish to edit, and click on the thumbnail. This will open the photo editing page. You can then upated details, add coordinates, or add more to your comments box.


  • How do I find out what the Photo ID Number is?
  • The Photo ID number for each photo in our photo database is provided in the photo gallery, located beneath each photo. Please use this number when refering to a specific photo. The ID number is also listed on the photo details page.


  • What's the maximum size photo I can upload?
  • The maximum size we suggest you attempt to upload is 4MB, although this is about four times larger than what we recommend. The higher the resolution of your photo, the longer it will take to upload, and it may time out (depending on your internet connection). If your upload times out, then we recommend reducing the size of your photo.

    The maximum dimension for a displayed image is 600 by 600 pixels. If you upload a photo that is larger than 600 by 600 pixels, we will automatically reduce the size. We have restricted the dimensions of the images in order to prevent unauthorized use of the images (that is, while they display nicely on a computer screen, they cannot be used for print publications).


  • Which image formats do you accept?
  • Photos uploaded to E-Flora BC can be in a variety of formats, including .jpg, .jpe, .jpeg, .bmp, .gif, .img and .png. Unfortunately we cannot accept Kodak Photo CD files (.pcd) as this time. However, there are programs (available for free) that can convert PCD files into a format that we do accept (see Is there someone who can scan my slides for me? below for details).  

    We have recently identified a problem with certain jpg formats that we are unable to upload. This issue does not arise with the majority of jpg files, but if you do experience problems when uploading a jpg file (a run-time error) we suggest you open the file using, for example, Windows Picture and Fax viewer, and then Save the file using a different name.  If you can then upload that file, it indicates that the original jpg file is a non-standard jpg file and, unfortunately, our software does not recognize that non-standard format.  If you could let us know what software was used to create the original (non-standard) jpg, then we can investigate the problem and hopefully resolve it in time.


  • Which color mode should I use?
  • Images must use RGB color mode - this is the only color mode that web browsers can handle. For example, CMYK color mode is often used for high-quality printing, and PhotoShop will create and display CMYK images, but color information may be lost in web browsers.


  • How can I improve the quality of my scanned photos?
  • Most of our current contributors are using high quality digital cameras, and these produce the best results when viewed on a web page. However, we do have some contributors who have provided scanned images from prints or slides. Here are some of the problems we have seen with scanned photos:

    scanned prints vs. scanned slides or negatives
    We recommend not scanning prints because it usually results in a poor quality digital photo. If you have slides or negatives available, scan those instead, or have them converted to Kodak PhotoCD at a photo lab. Or, spring for a digital camera. If scanned prints are the only way you can provide photos, you may be able to improve the quality by increasing the resolution of the scan. Never enlarge the size of a digital photo once it's been scanned -- this will make the resolution even worse by stretching out the pixels.

    high-end scanner vs. econo-model
    In general, the better the scanner, the better the resulting digital photo will be. If you don't want to invest in a high-end scanner, and you have high quality slides that you'd like to include in E-Flora BC, there are several options available - see Is there someone who can scan my slides for me? below.

    flatbed scanner with transparency unit vs. film/slide scanner
    Transparency units for flatbed scanners often result in blurry photos with poor contrast. Slide scanners produce better scans. An example of a slide scanner is Nikon's Coolscan series.

    too much compression
    Another possible problem is compressing the digital photos too much, and reducing the quality of the photo in the process. Most photographers upload photos that are in the range of 50-200KB for the enlargement size (not the thumbnail). If your large format JPEG is less than 50KB you may be compressing it too much.

    too much correction to color, contrast, etc.
    We don't recommend doing any correction to digital photos using your scanner software or an application like PhotoShop. This often can make the photo look even worse. We find that even if the "correction" corrects one part of a photo, another part will look oddly colored or fuzzy. If your scanner yields a much darker photo than what you scanned, you might try lightening them a bit, but it's usually best to make no other adjustments.


  • Is there someone who can scan my slides for me?
  • If you can't or don't want to scan your slide collection yourself, here are some options:

    Kodak PhotoCD: Most photo labs can scan your slides using Kodak PhotoCD technology and will then put them on a CD for you. This method produces a very high quality digital photo. Once you have the CD, you will need to convert each photo to a JPEG format before you can upload them to E-Flora BC. Use software such as PhotoShop to make this conversion. The free program IrFanView can batch convert PCD files to JPEG files, and is the program we use at E-Flora BC to convert PCD files.


  • What software can I use to adjust my digital photos?
  • There are several applications that can be used to make changes to digital photos. Flickr provides a photo editing feature. A commonly used editing package is Adobe's PhotoShop. You can download a free trial version with limited functionality by going to the Adobe website at http://www.adobe.com/. The free version will allow you to do simple functions such as changing the image's size or converting it from one format to another. Two other free programs that are extensively used (and have many features) are IrfanView and GIMP. Note we don't recommend that you make other adjustments to your photos such as the color, sharpness, contrast, etc. See How can I improve the quality of my scanned photos? above.


  • How do I resize my photos?
  • You can use the free trial version of PhotoShop to change the size of your photos. These instructions apply to both the free limited version as well as to the full version:

  • go to "Image"
  • go to "Image size..."
  • change the height or width there

  • I get an error when I try to upload the image.
  • If an error message is encountered when uploading photos, the usual cause is that your image is in an unacceptable or incompatible format. That is, sometimes the type of jpeg created by your software is not recognized by our computers. To fix this, resave your photos using different software.

    A second reason for receiving this error message is that your image may be too large. The maximum size of image you can submit to E-Flora is 4 megabytes. If your image is larger, you will need to resize it. See What's the maximum size photo I can upload? for further information.


  • The image starts uploading but never completes

    The problem may be that your image is very large and your network connection is relatively slow. In this case, it might take a very long time for the image to transfer over to our server. In the worst case, your web browser might "time out" while waiting for the image to transfer. Try reducing the size of your image, or wait to upload it during off-peak hours, or try uploading from a friend's computer that has a faster internet connection.

  • The upload form doesn't seem to work.
  • It is possible that some web browsers will not work with our upload form. Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Mozilla work well. If you encounter difficulties with a different browser then we recommend switching browsers so you can easily upload photos.

    If you are uploading a photo and nothing happens when you click on the Submit button, and other links don't work either, then your browser may have entered a fugue state! We don't know why it happens but we've had the experience before too. The only thing to do is to exit from the browser ( File->Exit ) and then fire it up again.


  • Why do I need to provide descriptive data about my photos?
  • When you upload a photo, we ask that you provide details such as the year the photo was taken, the location, and a name. This is partly because the photos are managed by a database, so we need some text information ("metadata") to be able to store the photos and retrieve them later. However, a more important reason is that the photo database has many different uses, and we want to be able to support the widest possible variety of uses.

    Many scientists who use the photos are very interested in the location information you provide. They appreciate specific location descriptions such as "Trout Lake" and "Okanagan Valley" rather than the more general "British Columbia". This allows them to determine if the location of your photo represents a new location for the species, or a range extension.

    The month the photo was taken has meaning for botanists. A photo of a blooming shrub is more meaningful to users if they can see that it was taken in April, as this provides key information on flowering periods.

    The habitat the plant is found in is very informative to experts and novices alike, as it provides a clue about where to look for that particular species. (see What should I enter for the habitat field? below.)

    Other photographers are very interested in information about the camera and film you used, so it's useful to include that.


  • Why is the wrong common name being displayed with my photo?
  • There are no standard common names. The common or vernacular name for a plant can vary widely depending on the part of the country or the part of the world you live in. Not only that, but the same common name may be used for many different species, such as "blue bells" or "gull". On E-Flora BC, we include the common name used by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre, and we also include other frequently used common names for a species.


  • What should I enter for the "habitat" field?
  • The habitat field is a free-form field and you may enter whatever short description you think best applies to your photo. There is no standard list of habitats. Most photographers enter one or two words to describe the habitat, such as "hemlock forest" or "coastal waters" or "desert". It is useful to indicate if the site was wet or dry, under a forest canopy, on a slope, or any other descriptors that indicate where the species likes to grow.

     

    Recommended citation:  Author, date, page title. In: Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2017. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Date Accessed]

    E-Flora BC: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography UBC, and the UBC Herbarium.

    © Copyright 2017 E-Flora BC.