This webpage traces the development of the Landscape Change Program from
its inception in 1999 to the present day (last update, January 2008).
Included are links to the grants that have funded the program as well as
screen shots of web page interfaces as they once looked.
The First Site (1999-2002)
Landscape Change Program was started in 1999 by Christine Massey and
Paul Bierman, both at the University of Vermont. The program was
initially funded by a National Science Foundation grant (GeoScience
Education Program, EAR-9907724) entitled Human-Induced Landscape Change -- A
Digital Image Archive Created by Students
. This grant provided
support for outreach to more than a dozen high schools in the state and
allowed for the creation of the first web archive of images. By the end
of the project, a web site was in place with over 400 pairs of images,
most scanned and submitted by high school students under the supervision
of staff member, Laura Mallard. Laura had help from two summer interns,
Lyman Persico, a UVM undergraduate, and a high school student, Naimi
Lawrence. They were assisted by Shelley Snyder, a local high school
teacher. During this phase of the project, several allied projects were
created including a web module detailing the landscape history of the
town of Shelburne
Web pages for each image pair were created
manually in programs such as "Dreamweaver" and were initially searchable
only by town. Later, through a bit of search engine gymnastics, images
were also searchable using a uncontrolled set of keywords. Below are
some examples of the web pages that existed during the early days of the
Landscape Change Program.
Towns with photos in the original LCP site.
Laura Mallard at a Landscape Change Computer.
Schools contributing to the first LCP site.
The early Landscape Change
Program home page.
A later iteration of the Landscape Change
Program home page just prior to the final conference closing the
High School students locating
and re-photographing an historic image.
Poster comparing then and now prepared by a high
school student for presentation.
The Second, Database-Driven, Site
We soon realized that manual creation of web pages was not going to be
an efficient or supportable means of continuing the Landscape Change
Program. Coincident with with the rapid advance of world wide web
technology and the concurrent development of the Perkins Museum digital archive
supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, we applied
for and received additional funding from the National Science Foundation
to expand the Landscape Change Archive and build a new back end that was
database driven and resided on University servers. Under this same
grant, entitled Looking
Forward -- Scaling Up The Digital Image Archive of Landscape
we hired a local professional design firm, New Breed
Marketing, to create a new graphical interface for the Landscape Change
web site. This second NSF grant allowed us to hire Jens Hilke as a
staff person who helped bring the archive to nearly 10,000 images and
supervised four summer interns who scanned nearly 9,000 images. The
interns were in part supported by an NSF REU supplement grant
submitted and funded in 2004. In 2005, the program received a grant
Environmentally Relevant Images into the Public Eye
Lintilhac Foundation targeted at student support and the collection of
historic and modern images showing road construction, build out of urban
areas, ski areas, and the development areas now considered to be
affected by sprawl. In 2005, NSF awarded the program a small grant
Change Imagery: preparing a DLESE-ready and easily searchable
to develop and user-test finding aids as well as to
standardize metadata and clean up every image in the database so that
searching could be done more efficiently, so that information could more
easily be shared with other archives and found by search engines, such
as Goggle, and so that images looked as good as possible to those
viewing them over the web.
While all this tedious back-end work
was being completed, images in the Landscape Change Program archive were
now being used for an exciting variety of applications including:
quantifying landscape change over time in refereed journal publications
as Old landscape images record
landscape change through time
, illustrating web based teaching
modules such as those we developed for Learning Landscapes
NSF Educational Materials Development grant entitled Bringing Relevance to Earth Science
Introductory Curricula through Images Showing Human/Landscape
, and teaching an on-line course
UVM's continuing education division. This course is still taught at
least once a year and work from the students is presented as scrapbooks
on the Landscape Change Program web site.
During this second
phase of the Landscape Change Program, web pages for each image and
image pair were created "on the fly" from a large master image stored on
the UVM servers and down-sampled to smaller images and thumbnails with
each request made over the web. Newly acquired images were key-worded
using a controlled, Library of Congress vocabulary but few images were
cropped, rotated, or optimized for web viewing. Searching was improved
with text searches of descriptions now possible in addition to map and
town searches. Below are selected images and screen shots from these,
the maturing years of the Landscape Change Program.
The next Landscape Change Program
home page, c. 2003.
Thanks to faculty member Jon Erikson, the
original LCP computers have been re-used and are now in the Dominican
Republic as part of a UVM outreach and education program.
The search results page of thumbnails that was
generated by any search command. The page held 20 thumbnails in a single
column, c. 2003.
Paired image display, c.
The public upload page allowing image submission
by anyone, anywhere, anytime, c. 2003.
The search page for finding images, c.
The new homepage, created by New Breed
and based on web site usability workshops with various user groups, c.
The map based search page for finding
images and linking to modules, c. 2005.
Developing the Current Site
In May, 2005, Bierman was named by the director of the National Science
Foundation as a Distinguished Teaching Scholar and awarded, a
large four year grant to support the work of the Landscape Change
Program. The grant, entitled
Landscape Imagery: a catalyst for formal and informal science
was specifically designed to continue development of
the archive, demonstrate ways in which images could be used for
education, evaluate and alter the website and its user interface, and
disseminate what we have learned to the broader community of image
users, educators and archivists. educational materials and ideas. At
the core of the grant is the idea that students, teachers, faculty, and
the broader community are key to the development of the Landscape Change
The last several years have brought many very exciting changes the
Landscape Change Program. Work by a UVM computer science undergraduate
and MS student, completely changed the web site interface and created a
whole new search engine, image display system, and on-the-fly
statistical analysis of the image collection. Restructuring of the
database by Wes Wright, a UVM programmer, greatly sped the delivery of
images over the web and allowed full text searching of every field in
the database. All of the website renovation was proceeded by and
followed with user-group evaluations to understand how people used the
web interface and what they needed in terms of an interface to help them
find images and information. Every image in the database has now been
given a date range using historical clues and thousands of community
comments enrich the archive. We have been working hard with area
teachers in numerous workshops to develop curriculum that can be
downloaded by others for use in K-12 classrooms. The Landscape Change
Program web site now includes a growing series of tutorials,
student-created topical image modules, downloadable powerpoints, links
to press coverage and publications about the Program and its
Teachers gathered at UVM in the
Geology Department's Delehanty Hall for the first curriculum development
The image display page for images that have GPS
location data, c. 2006.