Fundación General CSIC, in collaboration with the IT firm 2mdc, has just launched SpeakingImage, an online application aimed at the scientific and teaching communities, designed to allow comments and notes to be added to images.
The program needs no more than a web browser and allows the user to draw on photographs or mark out parts of an image so as to add specific comments to the selected areas. Users can create standardised figures (squares, rectangles, circles and ovals), or irregular shapes drawn around specific features.
The tool also offers the option of adding wiki articles to complement the visual information with background texts. These articles are associated with the image in an independent wiki. What is more, the information can be organised into up to ten layers, which can be displayed simultaneously or layers selectively hidden to allow specific data to be viewed.
Not only does Speaking Image allow users to add comments individually: editing can also be shared by multiple users thanks to the application’s integration on a web platform with the typical social networking tools. Speaking Image has been created with ease of use in mind, so that users will have no difficulty uploading an image onto the server, adding their comments and saving the changes made. Each user’s comments and wiki articles will be available to all other users immediately.
Summary of features:
- Allows images to be uploaded and «navigable maps» created from them, on which zoom and pan functions can be used.
- Users (with relevant access privileges) can draw and add metadata (polygons, markers, text, etc.) to the image on different layers of information which can be displayed or concealed at will.
- Version management is available to enable previous versions to be retrieved and users collaborating on each image to be monitored.
- There is the option to create a (mini)wiki associated with each image to include more detailed information about it.
- Groups can be created, and editing and display privileges assigned to individual users and groups (or, alternatively, everything can be made public).
- An API is included which allows image maps, with their metadata, to be embedded in any other website or blog, in a similar way to YouTube videos.
- The program is highly modular and customisable.
- There is the option of integrating Yahoo and Google maps if required.