360 Degree Observation

Panoramic images have been used as a useful and inexpensive tool to provide “surround-imagery” that are widely used in areas such as surveillance and virtual tourism to provide an immersive experience to viewers. The 360° degree photo-monitoring uses an omni-directional single image for records and monitoring purposes where users can view the complete 360° panoramic image. In this paper, we present a documented effort to utilise the 360° omni-directional observation technique that has been deployed over various sites in Malaysia. These sites includes high altitudes such as peaks of Mt. Ledang, Mt. Panti, Mt. Belumut, Mt. Kinabalu, underground caves in Lenggong, Wang Burma and Langkawi, horizontal monitoring in Denai Alam, Bangi and temporal monitoring in Johor Botanical Gardens in Batu Pahat. During the deployment, we tested various aspect of the technology such as field deployment, practicality, software availability, technical challenges and long and short term factors that would affect deployment of this technology in biodiversity monitoring. The study showed that it provides a less expensive alternative with a higher resolution imagery compared to existing video monitoring technology. Other advantages include smaller data storage, thus requiring minimal bandwidth when viewing online. The resolution of the generated images is only limited to the available hardware and the smallest setup cost are negligible as open source technology and improvisation of existing photography equipment is sufficient to create a basic monitoring system. The images can generate ‘‘walk-throughs’’ that capture and annotate the rich detail of the forest flora, monitor changes over time, provide context and functions as a decision support when deriving conclusions regarding the site. The 360° images can be viewed at http://birg1.fbb.utm.my/birg360