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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why isn’t there an “I don’t know” or “unidentifiable” button?
  2. What do I do if I cannot identify the animal from the photo?
  3. Why do so many photos contain no animals?
  4. What do I do if there are animals of different species present in the photo?
  5. What if I see an animal that is not on your list?
  6. What should I do if animals of the same species are displaying different behaviors?
  7. What if I’m not sure how many animals are in a photo?
  8. Does an animal have to be in all three images to be counted?
  9. How should horns be counted if they are partially obscured or not pictured?
  10. What are the characteristics of animals that should be counted as ‘young’?
  11. If I make a mistake, can I return to the photo to correct it?
  12. When should I use hashtags?
  13. Can I see how many pictures I have classified?
  14. What if I see something in a photo that I want to tell the scientists about?
  15. What will this information be used for?
  16. Can I share photos from Snapshot Safari?
  17. How can I discuss a photo with others?
  18. How can I ask a question that’s not in this FAQ?

1. Why isn’t there an “I don’t know” or “unidentifiable” button?

Even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, a guess can convey a lot of information, especially when analyzed in combination with the guesses made by others who classified the same image. Each photo on Snapshot Safari is shown to multiple people. If those people don’t agree, the photo is shown to even more people. Showing the photo to enough people usually gives us enough information to come to a right answer. If there is broad disagreement on the species identification, we are able to see the top two labels in our post-classification data analysis. Even if many people guess different species, we may still get information about the animal. For example, consider an image that contained one blurry, vague animal. People might identify that image as a dik-dik, hare, rodent, jackal, bat-eared fox, or mongoose. Even though the classifications are all different, all of the classifications are of small animals. Therefore, we can conclude that the animal is likely small. When we don’t have an ‘I don’t know’ button, people give us some information about the image, and that information allows us to figure out each image faster – even the difficult ones.

2. What do I do if I cannot identify the animal from the photo?

We realize that some images are too vague or blurry to identify. However, try your best to identify the animal! By narrowing down the options and making a guess, you are still providing us with some information about the animal. As mentioned above, each photo on Snapshot Safari is shown to multiple people. If those people give different responses, we show the photo to more people. If there’s still not a clear indication about what animal it is, we record it as having a low confidence score and flag it for a scientist to review.

3. Why do so many photos contain no animals?

The cameras that we use are triggered by Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensors. PIR sensors work by detecting differences in surface temperatures between objects. When the sensors detect a rapid change in the surface temperatures in the detection zone, the camera is triggered. So, when grass or tree branches blow in front of a camera, they result in sequences of “empty” photos. We now have a separate workflow to identify "empty" or "not empty" images. Images that have an animal present are then moved to our "survey" workflow where volunteers help us identify what species are present. While “empty” images can be frustrating when you want to see animals, we appreciate your efforts in filtering out “empty” images so we can focus on the animals of interest.

4. What do I do if there are animals of different species present in the photo?

Zooniverse lets you tag multiple species in the same image, and all species in view need to be marked before clicking 'Done'. You can identify each species one by one, and after you have clicked the “Identify” button, you will be taken back to the classification screen to can identify the other species. Some species fall under a category such as "Bird-other", or "Mongoose" (which has several species). If the two species you see belong to the same broad category, you only need to identify the animals once. When you are finished identifying all of the species in the photo, click the “Done” button at the bottom. Be sure to check that those species names are visible in blue banners below the image before moving on.

5. What if I see an animal that is not on your list?

If you think you see an animal that is not on the list, you should first double-check the list. Sometimes, the animal may fall into a broad category, such as “Bird (other)”, “Reptiles/Amphibians”, or “Rodents”. After you have double checked the list, select the best or closest identification that you can. When you have finished identifying the photo, click the “Talk” button and tag the photo with the hashtag #new-animal and the species that you think it is. We regularly check the “Talk” section of the website and we will record the correct species when we see this hashtag.

6. What should I do if animals of the same species are displaying different behaviors?

On the classification screen, you should select all behaviors that animals of the identified species are displaying in the photo. You do not need to complete separate classifications for animals of the same species performing different behaviors.

7. What if I’m not sure how many animals are in a photo?

Record the number of individuals of each type of animal as best you can. Your best guesses contribute to a collection of responses that lead us to the right answer. Since every photo is seen by multiple volunteers, any mistakes will get outweighed by a larger number of correct answers.

8. Does an animal have to be in all three images to be counted?

No, you should try to record the total number of animals present in the ‘capture event’ - the series of three images. So, if you see four zebra in the first image, but then another zebra walks into the second image for a total of five, you should notate five zebra.

9. How should horns be counted if they are partially obscured or not pictured?
Sometimes our cameras capture images with lots of antelope in them, often displaying different behaviors. When counting animals with horns, only include the number of horns you can see. If an animal’s head is out of the picture and you can’t tell whether it’s male or female, don’t count it. If you can partially see the horns, go ahead and count it.

10. What are the characteristics of animals that should be counted as ‘young’?
This clearly varies by species, but there are a couple things you can watch for. Size is the most obvious indicator, but biological features like a lion’s mane or an antelope’s horns do not develop until an individual is close to maturity. If you see a lion with a short, wispy mane, that is likely a teenager and should still be counted as young. Likewise, an antelope whose horns are just beginning to come in should still be counted as young.

11. If I make a mistake, can I return to the photo to correct it?

No, you cannot return to a photo to correct a mistake, but do not worry about it! Your best guesses contribute to a collection of responses that lead us to the right answer. Since every photo is seen by multiple volunteers, any mistakes or misidentifications will eventually be outweighed by a larger number of correct answers.

12. When should I use hashtags?

A hashtag can be a powerful tool in terms of searching for related content on social media. Here at Snapshot Safari, hashtags are useful to find unusual sightings and to search for images of specific animals. Having said that, used wrongly or overzealously, hashtags can become a problem.

If you are not 100% sure of the identification of an animal, please don’t hashtag it. It is counter-productive to the usefulness of hashtags if searches come back with wrong images. You can still flag the image for discussion where moderators may hashtag it. It is not necessary to hashtag every image you flag for discussion. Try and be selective and choose unusual images or those with some scientific relevance. Think what might be useful to the researchers or other citizen scientists.

Our convention in Snapshot Safari is to use only a dash (-) in animal names with multiple words. If you use underscore (_), those images won’t show up in the same search. We would appreciate it if you'd use only the dash (-) and follow the naming conventions in the classification menus.

If you added a hashtag that turned out to be incorrect, please click on the edit button below the comment to delete the # symbol.

13. Can I see how many pictures I have classified?

Yes, you can!
i. Log in to your Zooniverse account.
ii. Click on your user name in the upper right hand corner and select Profile.
iii. Select the tab “Your Stats”. This will show you all of the classifications that you have done for Snapshot Safari and any other Zooniverse projects that you have helped.

14. What if I see something in a photo that I want to tell the scientists about?

If you see an animal with a radio collar, injuries, or displaying interesting behaviors, you can share those photos on the discussion boards. To do so, click on the “Talk” button and add a comment to the photo. If relevant, add a hashtag that will make it easier to search by keyword, such as #injury or #radiocollar. We can use the information that you provide to identify individuals and study behavior.

15. How will this information be used?

Visit the About tab under each project to learn more about the goals of each Snapshot Safari project and how we plan to collaboratively use information collected from all of our participating sites. By standardizing our data collection protocols, we are able to compare the effectiveness of various conservation and restoration strategies

16. Can I share photos from Snapshot Safari?

Yes, but please ascribe credit for the photos you are sharing to “Snapshot Safari” and reference our Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit Creative Commons.

17. How can I discuss a photo with others?

When you have finished classifying the image and clicked the “Done” button, you will be directed to a page with a summary of your classification along with “Done” and "Done and Talk" buttons. If you click on the “Done and Talk” button, you will be brought to the discussion boards for the project you're working on. Here you can add hashtags to the photo, add the photo to your collection, like the photo, or ask a question about it.

18. How can I ask a question that’s not in this FAQ?

Start by clicking “Talk” at the top of the page. Here you can find questions asked by other citizen scientists. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, click on the relevant forum under “Help”. At the bottom of the page, you can create a new discussion. Our moderators check the forums regularly and answer as many questions as we can. Experienced Zooniverse volunteers also participate in these discussions and offer great advice.