Timelapse Image Analyser


See the New Site which replaces this one.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

See the New Site which will repace this one.

Using a timelapse camera, scientists can track entities (such as people and wildlife) and conditions (such as weather and visibility) that occur in a particular place over time. Cameras are placed at strategic locations, where images are automatically taken at regular intervals (e.g., every 5 minutes, every hour). After collecting the camera's card, they visually examine each image and count/describe the entities and conditions of interest. The Timelapse Image Analyser helps scientists do this last visual analysis and counting step.

In brief, the tool automatically goes through all images and extracts information such as dates and times; it categorizes unusual images including dark (night time) and corrupted ones; it displays a series of 'codes' specific to the biologist's project, where the biologist can fill in codes by typing, selecting from menus or (for counting) simply by clicking on objects in the image. To help the biologist find things, it includes a magnifying glass, pan and zooming (where switching images will keep the same pan/zoom levels), as well as several image enhancement methods. All data is written to a file that can be opened in Excel.


See the New Site which replaces this one.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

Tutorial Manual

This step by step tutorial illustrates how to use the Timelapse Image Analyser. We recommend you download the image set (as well as the program), so you can follow along by doing the operations on the images as illustrated in the tutorial.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

Download, Installation and Use


  1. If you are running on your own personal computer:
    1. It should download a file called setup.exe. Select that and just follow the instructions.
    2. Start the program through your Start menu, titled Timelapse Image Analyzer, or via the Start Menu Folder Grouplab.
    3. The program will automatically check for updates every time you run it. This is really convenient, as it guarantees you are always using the most up to date version.
    • Only if it says its missing: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and its | Service Pack
      The .NET Framework should be on your computer, but if the program says its missing, you can install it (and its service pack) from the above links.
  2. If you are running on an institution's computer:
    1. Download and open the zip file
    2. Extract the Timelapse.exe program to a place of your choosing (e.g., your Desktop, My Documents).
    3. To avoid confusion, delete the zip file.
    4. Start Timelapse.exe (it may just be called Timelapse) - You should see a 'Getting Started' screen with instructions.


See the New Site which replaces this one. These are needed to create and/or edit the Code Template file)

  • Sample Code template: A sample code template file that you can modify for your own needs
  • Microsoft Xml Notepad for editing the Code Template XML template. There are others, but this one seems fine. Note that installs in C:/Program Files, so you will need admin permission.

TimeLapse Quick Start:

See the New Site which replaces this one.

  1. Select Load from the program's File menu, and select the folder containing your images and the CodeTemplate.xml
  2. If you want to count something
    • click on the counter representing the thing you want to count
    • left click on the thing you want to count on the image - it will draw a marker on the image
    • right click to delete that marker
  3. The above assumes a code template file is provided to you (one is in the sample images). If you want to create your own CodeTemplate.xml file, refer to the manual above.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

Timelapse Mailing List and Forum

Subscribe to the Timelapse-l mailing list. This list is used to:

  • Inform you of software updates. This is especially important for those of you who are on institutional machines who have to update the software manually by downloading the zip file.
  • Inform you about new features and bug fixes in these new versions
  • Provide you with a forum where you and other Timelapse users can inform one another about tips and tricks that help make your work more effective, or ask others for guidance.

You can sign up in one of two ways.

  1. Fill out the timelapse mailing list form, where you can subscribe by entering your email, name and a password into the Subscribe part of the form.
  2. Alternately, send an email to saul.greenberg@ucalgary.ca. Tell him you want to subscribe to the timelapse-l list. Include your name and the best email address to use

Once subscribed, you can post to the list by emailing timelapse-l@mailman.ucalgary.ca. This is moderated by Saul, to make sure that you don't receive any spam email.

To unsubscribe

  • Reverse the above, where you can unsubscribe by either visiting the link mentioned in step 1 again, or by emailing Saul.

See the New Site which replaces this one.

Brief overview

The manual available above provides a step by step description of how to use the software.

Motivation. Analysing timelapse images is laborious for a variety of reasons.

  • entities can be extremely small (e.g., a few pixels) and hard to spot
  • when there are many entities, its easy to lose count of what has been counted versus what hasn't been counted
  • data entry can be very repetitive
  • non-interesting changes in an image may occur due to many reasons, e.g., wind, sun, clouds, shadows.

How the Timelapse Coder Helps. The Timelapse coder is designed to help scientists in several ways.

  • Data coding is supported, where codes are tracked per image
  • Data associated with the images are saved, so that the scientist can re-open the coder at a later time to review or add onto their work
  • Through a scientist-defined file, the scientist can specify codes; the interface will automatically create controls for interacting with those codes. These include:
    • freeform text comments
    • choice selections via a menu
    • counts by either entering a number or clicking on entities in an image (which marks that spot to avoid counting errors)
  • In addition to the above, the system automatically generates certain coding information from the source images
    • filename
    • folder
    • date the photo was taken (if it is included by the camera in the image metadata)
    • time the photo was taken (if it is included by the camera in the image metadata)
    • image quality, as either OK, or Corrupted (if not usable) or Dark (for detecting nighttime shots)
  • For viewing and analyzing images for entities of interest, you can rapidly
    • navigate through a large sequence of images
    • move back and forth between several images in a sequence, which highlights changes
    • compare the visual differences between this and surrounding images, which makes some things 'pop out' that are otherwise hard to see
    • filter images to see only non-dark valid images, or all images, or dark and corrupted images only

See the New Site which replaces this one.

For Developers Only

Image Sets for testing the software


  • Utility for renumbering image files
    • Renames image files in a folder of the form name(number).jpg so that the number will have leading zeros, e.g., image(1).jpg will become image(00001).jpg. It aborts if even a single image file does not have a number between "()" in its name..
  • Xaml Tester for testing the look of your templates. NOTE: THIS IS OUT OF DATE