About the Bluewren Photos Suite…

For more than a decade the Bluewren Partners team have been developing the Bluewren Photos Suite that can capture site conditions for near immediate remote access with a classification system to allow for ease of future referencing.

The Suite makes virtual site visits possible from a desktop or any phone / tablet with an internet connection. Images are captured, classified and uploaded to allow viewing providing timely issue resolution and specific images and other information to be available without the need for a site visit.

The big advantage is that photo records can be captured by as many users as authorised and aggregated into the same pool of photo records known as a Photo map. The combined photo records are then available for reference and filtering search immediately, and into the future using a unified classification system.

After initial setup using the Bluewren Manager, the Photo Record Tool App is used in a guided, easy work flow to take a photo, then verify the location and angle of view against the aerial map and classify it via a tagging system. Relevant comments can be included to assist future photo finding

The photo and associated logged information (comprising a photo record) is uploaded to the cloud with a single touch and the further photos can be captured and classified concurrently with upload. The cloud data is stored in a database linked to the photos for fast filtering and targeted searches to speed up finding relevant images.

When viewed using the Photo Viewer the photos are arranged on an aerial map of the project site and may be superimposed on plans (overlays) with other photos to check on relative progress or changed conditions at different times. The Editing Tool may be used to amend any of the logged information if required, we are human after all….

At completion of the project when taking pictures and online viewing is no longer required the captured and classified images can be provided either as a PDF report or in electronic format (jpegs) that includes a local viewer that maintains most of the functionality of the online viewer.

The Bluewren Photos Suite includes four key elements, the Bluewren Manager, Photo Record Tool App, Photo Viewer and Editing Tool. Information on what happens when you want to finish using the Suite is here.

Bluewren Manager

The Bluewren Manager is the administration interface that allows for people to be invited to create maps, choose tag sets for classification and other information for the effective use of the Suite.

A single administrator sets the access levels for people who are to capture and edit information and images.  People are invited to a project or photo maps with an access level of map editor or app user. Once invited people can set a password and through using their email address as the user name, log in to the Bluewren Manager and after initial set up and installation of the Photo Record Tool App, start photo recording.

All invited people have access to the Bluewren Manager but with different permissions to create and edit photo maps, images and associated information. The administrator chooses which projects or photo maps that map editors and app users can access.

Initial set-up
Prior to taking pictures using the Photo Record Tool App the default map position for photo viewing and the photo classification system should be set-up. Any plan overlays and high resolution aerial maps can also be included.

Photo record classification system
When captured photos are referenced to a particular Photo map which is part of a Project, projects may include a single or multiple photo maps. Each Photo map may include a tags set of tags and sub-tags which are created by the administrator at commencement through the Bluewren Manager or copied from a previous photo map. There are 10 tags each with 5 sub-tags available, and as many, or few of these may be used in a photo map. To get going quickly a tags set may also be copied from one of the publicly available project relevant sets. Comments may be typed directly into the comment entry box or the last 10 comments are available for selection at a touch for quick editing to save on typing time.

Photo Viewer access
Use of the Suite. for viewing images including searches to identify photos is available to anybody with an internet connection though using the individualised link to a Photo map. The administrator may include a PIN for additional security and access links may be date limited or disabled at any time.

Access to all of the features of the Suite including the Editing Tool and Photo Viewer are available through the Bluewren Manager. The Photo Record Tool is a separate App and not available through the Bluewren Manager.

Tap or click here for further information on how to use the Bluewren Manager.

Photo Record Tool (PRT) App

Taking a Photo using the Photo Record Tool

After signing in to the Photo Record Tool (PRT) App on an ipad or iphone, the user selects the project, relevant photo map and creates a photo group or selects an existing group. We recommend creating a new photo group for each day images are captured on site, however if there are a number of smaller sites associated with a photo map, photos can be added to an existing group.

A maximum of approximately 200 photos per group is advisable for efficient viewing, identification and archiving. If more images are expected in a day another group may be created for a different area or tag grouping.

Location and view angle verification
GPS location can be influenced by proximity to buildings and sometimes may be randomly unreliable. To address this risk of inaccurate photo positioning the capture workflow includes a step to enable adjusting the position and angle of view of the captured image against the aerial map.

The principal positioning confidence comes from the calculated location accuracy shown in the green square on the bottom right of the screen. This is colour coded from red when out of recommended tolerance to green when accuracy is reasonable. Angle of view is indicated by the yellow arrow.

You can choose to wait until the location accuracy resolves to approximately 4-5m before taking photos, or if your perceived position and rotation is different from viewing your surroundings compared to the aerial map you may change both the position and view angle rotation prior to accepting the location and angle of view in the aerial map pop-up that appears after taking the photo.

Image ;location verification made easy
Image ;location verification made easy
Photo Record Tool -Classifying an image
Photo Record Tool -Classifying an image

Smart image capture and classification
Key information is logged during image capture through use of an easy and quick workflow to create photo records. Photos are taken, location and angle of view checked and adjusted as necessary, tags and sub-tags are then included via one touch selections.

Tags sets ideally require previous set-up through the Bluewren Manager with 10 tags and 5 sub-tags available. These may be copied from public sets from other projects and modified or created from scratch. Tags and sub-tags can be created later and previously taken photo records easily amended to include tags and sub-tags if necessary.

Comments may be added prior to save/upload with all previous comments available for direct use by scrolling and selecting or previous text modified to minimise finger time. 

Upload and viewing
Once the location is confirmed and image classification is completed with comments added as desired,  a tap on the “save” button will upload the image and associated information to the cloud with progress shown on a blue bar at the bottom of the screen. As many photo records as necessary may be queued for upload depending on the rate of photo record creation and the bandwidth available at your particular location. Photo records may be queued for later upload using Wi-Fi if this is preferred (if mobile data is not activated)

The number in the green box at the bottom left corner shows the number of queued images. Once uploaded images are available for immediate viewing through the Photo Viewer almost immediately by any authorised person with internet access. This may also be accessed through the Photo Record Tool App.

Comments may be typed in after selecting the tags / sub-tags

Photo Viewer

The Photo Viewer is the interface where images may be viewed shortly after being captured and searches and filtering undertaken to quickly find relevant photo records in future referencing.

There are a range of helpful features that have been developed from feedback over many years of service to make the interface as intuitive and useful as possible. The guide that includes details and tips on how to get the best out of the Photo Viewer is available here.

Photo Viewer - Example

Editing Tool

Sometimes photos and their associated information may need to be amended from the information logged at capture through the Photo Record Tool App. The Editing Tool provides an easy way to do this and is accessed for each photo map via the Bluewren Manager. Editing of photo group names and notes as well as photo properties and information is possible including:

  • tag and sub-tag (select from those already included in the tags set)
  • comments
  • date and time
  • position and angle of view

The Bluewren Manager allows for amendments to the tags set and other Photo map properties such as overlays and aerial maps. Deleting a tags set that includes photo records is not recommended.

Photo record archiving

When the project is completed or there is no longer a need to capture and classify images using the Photo Record Tool or use the Photo Viewer, or there is a requirement to store the photo records locally, the Photo map may be archived and the photo records including the tagging and comments can be provided as either:

  • a pdf booklet that includes sorting based on tags / sub-tags and hyperlinks from a table of contents. The report provided is per photo group;

and / or

  • electronic format (jpegs) arranged in a directory structure that matches the Photo map with photos filed in directories to match the photo groups. An special photo viewer with a look and feel very similar to the Photo Viewer is included that enables viewing of photo records off-line positioned on a google map background with photo angle of view and comments. Filtering of images is available through the special viewer based on tags and sub-tags if present. A search tool for comments is part of the special off-line viewer, distance and time search functionality is not included.
Photo Viewer - Example
Photo Viewer - Example

Obtaining the photo records electronically along with the portable off-line viewer at the end of the project allows for an enduring reference to be kept on a private server with the ongoing functionality of being able to view and identify images using filtering of the classification information into the future. The GPS positioning and angle of view is saved as EXIF data within the jpeg file. The tags, sub-tags and comments are saved within the database files and the full-size image jpegs as well as thumbnails are included.

An archived Photo map may be reactivated for both capture and classification of more images or for viewing and identification of photos using the full functionality of the Photo Viewer for a period of 2 years after archiving. Photo records may also be deleted at the completion of a subscription if this is required.