TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

General discussions of forests and trees that do not focus on a specific species or specific location.

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mdvaden
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TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

Post by mdvaden » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:04 am

This seemed like a good time to share with others what could buffer the leak of a discovery, and something you can keep an eye on down the road for your discoveries

First, back in 2014 or so, one or two guys were following me on the internet, evidently copying some photos from when Chris and I were exploring, trying to figure out an area we were at using recognizable scenery. They are two people that most would probably consider responsible, but I gleaned something from this, and omitted what seemed like connect the dots photos from online or web page posts.

Maybe a year later, someone who knew about one of tree finds, shared a park name to an unknown number of people. This could be called "inadvertent disclosure". It was evident that several people more had a head start. Remember, once you hand a list or spreadsheet to someone, you can't erase what they saw. And others don't bushwhack alone. So once they go looking, they will share what they are looking for. Then that extra person will share with another person, and so forth.

A few months ago, someone reasonable, found one of the more recent big redwoods, then posted photos online along with a trail photo. The image EXIF data was left intact, showing both photos were taken like 20 minutes apart. Some anonymous person inquired where the trail photo was taken. This denoted right away that they copied the image. Then all it takes, is a few hikes until they spot that exact scene. And then what they hope to find is merely 20 minutes one direction or the other. Many times, GPS in photos is what people think about regarding locations and finding stuff. But other image EXIF and data sheets can narrow down proximity a lot. So if you think it can help you, cull all the EXIF data from photos and watch what's in spreadsheets as well as the recipients.

This includes a trend I observed over the years pertaining to other redwoods. A good number of decent people once they found a location barely known, post photos and blogs without contacting someone reliable to double-check their content first.

And to illustrate this, let me share this photo. Some of you will know this spot. But suppose you don't, then copy this image to your cell phone. Realizing this next to a trail, we can admit that if you keep hiking one trail at a time, this offers a 100% guarantee to find this spot. And now dots can be connected.

Another idea to ponder is modified non-disclosure agreements for your exploring or discoveries. Not just for locations. But where people who will accompany you agree to share any photos without running it by you first and reducing the data to your specifications.

There's a couple tips in case it can help fine tune a few things.

If you know the attached image location, feel free to name it. There's no secret connected to the photo.
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M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

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addy
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Re: TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

Post by addy » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:00 pm

I've never lived or visited much out west, I understand things are qualitatively different when the trees in question are as spectacularly large as Redwoods & Sequoias, and of potential logging demand as well. So I hope you'll forgive me not understanding what the reason for the NDA sort of concern is. Is the concern accidentally leading people to finds on non-protected lands subject to logging, commercial photographers and guides profiting off someone else's hard work, or numbers of people degrading a site with uncontrolled access and facilities? The sites where I visit in Florida just aren't ever going to be dramatic or superlative enough to draw much people irregardless of what I find, (plus access is harder with all the wetlands, bugs & heat) and everything not on protected land has already been hacked and plowed to death.

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mdvaden
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Re: TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

Post by mdvaden » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:43 am

Redwood_Sign_800B.jpg
addy wrote:I've never lived or visited much out west, I understand things are qualitatively different when the trees in question are as spectacularly large as Redwoods & Sequoias, and of potential logging demand as well. So I hope you'll forgive me not understanding what the reason for the NDA sort of concern is. Is the concern accidentally leading people to finds on non-protected lands subject to logging, commercial photographers and guides profiting off someone else's hard work, or numbers of people degrading a site with uncontrolled access and facilities? The sites where I visit in Florida just aren't ever going to be dramatic or superlative enough to draw much people irregardless of what I find, (plus access is harder with all the wetlands, bugs & heat) and everything not on protected land has already been hacked and plowed to death.
How about the loss of vegetation equal to the size of 7 basketball courts worth of area in one redwood grove? Most people have seen a court, and would be able to visualize the loss of that many plants to the point of bare ground. And in just two or three years. The loss of plants shown on the attached bulletin happened in less time than 2008 to 2015. Those just happen to be the image dates.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

Post by Erik Danielsen » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:23 am

Addy, it's true that with eastern trees this is often less of a concern (though some of the monster tulips in rich appalachian cove forests have similarly guarded location info).

A good corrolary for a floridian would be wild orchids. Even up in NY, botanists in the know about populations of rare native orchid species are very secretive about their locations. Historically, poaching has been a major problem (even moreso in florida and alabama, where some species are now almost entirely restricted to certain military bases), but in the meantime trample damage from wildflower enthusiasts has grown as a problem as well. I go to some lengths to obscure any location info when adding vulnerable plants to iNaturalist, because I have myself extracted locations from such info that posters thought was sufficiently obscured.

The important question, really, is "will additional human attention pose a threat to this organism or its habitat?" That attention could be dozens of tree-hunters trampling the forest, or it could be a single unscrupulous horticulturist looking to make a few bucks off endangered bog plants in NJ. Being cautious about data security is what's called for in either case.

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addy
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Re: TIPS - Sparing Discovery Locations and Photos

Post by addy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:08 pm

The bromeliad parallel came to mind immediately, there's no shortage of bromeliad enthusiasts & pilfering activities around here. I do wonder exactly how many tree hunter types are in my area, its a bit rarer of an interest. Due to the other factors I mentioned as well as almost everywhere I search having widespread and considerable degradation from off a host of other uses like active or historical tree farming, historical ranching and off road vehicles, trampling is something that rarely crosses my mind, I should consider it more.

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