Handling of photos in CyberTracker Online

Hi Kate,

We are using Cybertracker for some research in South Africa, and I hope you can help me understand a couple of things:

  1. Why do you not make a bulk photo download option available? This used to be available, and now isn’t. It is something that makes us strongly consider choosing another platform over yours.
  2. Why does your software rename photos? It changes the name from e.g. IMG57.JPG to a long, strange name with many letters. This makes it impossible to link the .csv we download from Cybertracker later to our images in a GIS. This is a big problem for our work flow, and therefore we would also be considering other platforms rather than Cybertracker.

Are you able to shed any light on the above?

Yours sincerely,


Hi Alanna

CyberTracker Online was developed based on donor funding, and further development relies on more funding being available, so features will be added over time based on the availability of funding and prioritisation of features. Bulk download of photos is one such feature that has not yet been implemented, but hopefully can be added over time.

Regarding renaming of photos: it’s important for us when we save photos (from many different users and organisations) to be able to uniquely identify those photos. You can imagine that over time even your organisation/project may have more than one photo called IMG57.JPG, and the problem is compounded when taking other users and organisations into account. So we assign photos a globally unique identifier (the long strange name you mention), and rename the photo with that in our storage, so that it is unique. In the CSV export, we list the (new) filename next to each observation id.

As a matter of interest, when you mention original filename (eg. IMG57.JPG), are you uploading existing photos that you already have into the mobile app, or do you capture new photos on a photo screen using the camera function?

It would be good to know a bit more about your workflow here so as to know what changes might be able to be made to suit your requirements better. For example, if you are uploading existing photos, would it help you to have a column with the original filename so you could map old to new?

Kind regards, Kate

Thanks so much Kate!

Both of your responses seem reasonable. I wonder if there are easy ways around both without costing much more in terms of funding/development time. For example:

Photo naming: why not allow people the option to retain the original photo name/ID as well as assigning a new one? People could then use these data, like we want to, or not and rather use your unique ID. Why discard the original info? Perhaps giving options would be an even better way forward, i.e. allowing people to choose whether they want the original photo ID retained or not. I imagine most wouldn’t mind.

Regarding the bulk download: if your app allowed photos to be saved to the user’s camera roll, this wouldn’t be an issue. However it intercepts that, and saves it only to the app, where we cannot bulk download them later. iNat on the other hand, allows it both to be uploaded AND saved to the user’s camera roll. Could this option not be explored and maybe it is cheaper than adding functionality?

Regarding “if you are uploading existing photos, would it help you to have a column with the original filename so you could map old to new?”: yes, this is our workaround. But it would have been more efficient to just do everything through one app (i.e. upload the photos, and download them with metadata in bulk all at once).

Just some ideas and suggestions.



Hi Alanna, thanks very much for your suggestions and for approaching the problem from multiple possible solution points.
Saving photos taken in CyberTracker Mobile to the phones gallery/photo roll would be a mobile change, but I think @tony and @justinsteventon have exchanged a couple of posts on this, so Justin is aware of the feature request.
Kind regards, Kate