Snapshot Serengeti takes citizen science in a zoological direction
Scientists have been using crowd sourcing to help with tedious jobs for some time now. Projects like SETI@home and Folding@home used your computer's spare cycles to help process monumental amounts of data. Planet Hunters drafted regular users to help identify planets around other stars — and based on that same system comes Snapshot Serengeti, which needs your help seeing and spotting animals in Africa.
This is all part of the Zooniverse project, and Snapshot Serengeti has an immense amount of photography that it needs people to help it analyze. Hundreds of camera traps were set up around the 5,700 square mile Serengeti National Park, recording thousands of images over three seasons. Now these images are online, and you can help identify them.
Each camera records in a three image burst. And it's up to you to figure out what the animals in each photo are. However, don't worry if you can't tell a warthog from an elephant, there's actually an incredibly intuitive process to narrow it down. You can specify the animals you see by color, pattern, what other sort of animal they look like, what their tail is like, and more. Each of those will pare down the choices until it becomes obvious.
And it's a great way to get your skills up before that photo safari you've been planning for years.