This is a project to help me understand a little more about the world below our feet. It started from a thought in late 2013 that turned into a test installation of a fishtank containing a webcam buried in the ground.

It worked! But the lighting was terrible. Further work led to the waterproofing and installation of a flatbed scanner connected to a raspberry pi buried just beneath the earth's surface. Much greater success!

The latest videos can be seen here on YouTube. The setup currently (August 2016) auto-uploads a daily video around midnight. A few times a month I'll upload video that may be more unique. Some of the older footage can be seen here and here.

Short term goals:
1. Automate the creation and hosting of time lapse footage
 - Accomplished and ongoing : )

2. Document the entire process to share with others (Make, Instructables, etc.)
 - Three parts, almost complete:
 - - Prepping a Scanner
 - - Installing the software/scripts on a Raspberry Pi
 - - Burying the Scanner
 - Accomplished and ongoing!

3. Make weekly updates with what I have learned
 - Accomplished and ongoing : )

4. Find a group to work with on a larger project, possibilities:
 - School group interested in soil, insects, plant growth, etc.
 - Art installation (so many ideas)
 - Further development into low cost-commercial version

Long term goals: Figure out various ways to automate and quantify various bits of information presented in the images and video, for example:
- How much activity is there?
- -  How does this differ with the seasons?
- - How does a pesticide affect this activity?
- How fast does it take for x seed to germinate?
- How does the ground color differ throughout the seasons?

Lots of other thoughts, but that's the gist of it.


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  2. Hello Josh!
    I just stumbelled upon your Soil Cam Blog... Amazing discovery. I'm a filmmaker from Montreal and we've been dreaming to create a documentary series about creatures living in the soil. Your technique seems to be truly effective to film the underground action!
    We've created this series about plankton in the past :
    Short immersive episodes about the wonderful drifting world of plankton.
    Would you like to work on something similar about soil life?
    This is my email. Contact me if interested... noe@parafilms.com

  3. http://www.planktonchronicles.org

  4. Look up mycology and/or soil ecology journals, which are scientific publications. Read their guidelines for authors and publish! This could help your long-term goals and other development ambitions.

  5. Hey, this is really conceptually and visually awesome! I have a project that I'd like to use some of your footage in, and would really like to get in touch with you as soon as possible. Do let me know the best way to reach you.

    1. Hey hey Ziyad, thanks! Most of the videos that I've posted on youube are under a 'Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)'. Which (I think) means you can use any of those videos so long as you attribute. Feel free to shoot me an email, I'd love to hear more about what you are doing! joshdont@gmail.com