Image Analysis


Digital images (either still or video) can be a valuable source of data and information. Digital still and video cameras have become very reasonably priced, so most schools now have access to these tools. Images can also be obtained form various government agencies and the Internet. Although an obvious use of these techniques would be for physics, there are applications for other sciences as well. There can also be applications for remote sensing.

Logger Pro software from Vernier Software and Technology has many built in tools for gathering data from digital images. It is very powerful software, yet is quite reasonably priced. There are other commercial software programs that work well for image analysis, but I am most familiar with Logger Pro.
There is a simple handout from Vernier that provides information on using Logger Pro with video. The same tools and techniques can be used with still images as well. One thing that sets Logger Pro apart from some other software is that it allows you to synchronize a video with data being collected using Vernier sensors.

"Tracker is a free video analysis and modeling tool built on the Open Source Physics (OSP) Java framework. It is designed to be used in introductory college physics labs and lectures." It could certainly be used in high school classes as well.

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ImageJ is a public domain Java image processing program inspired by NIH Image for the Macintosh. It runs, either as an online applet or as a downloadable application, on any computer with a Java 1.4 or later virtual machine. Downloadable distributions are available for Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X and Linux." Find info on Image J here.Image J is software used by professional scientists, yet is relatively simple and can be used with students (and it is free).

The Center for Image Processing for Education (CIPE)has image processing activities available in in a variety of disciplines. Some are even free. Many of the activities will utilize Image J. "CIPE promotes computer-aided visualization as a tool for inquiry-based learning. In support of that mission, it develops instructional materials and conducts workshops that use digital image analysis and geographic information systems technologies as platforms for teaching about science, mathematics, and technology." CIPE has ceased operation, but the intellectual property has been taken over by Science Approach. "Science Approach now provides the official Web presence of the Center for Image Processing in Education (CIPE)."