Create crop area overlay

I have read several posts about the difficulties in iNat implementing a cropping tool into the system, and I think I understand why it’s not being considered because of the great technical difficulties and the potential for even more problems and misunderstandings by those not too familiar with digital tech standards/handling.

But I have wondered about an intermediate solution based on a visual overlay guide. I’m picturing a user-switchable highlighted outline that would appear (only under the right circumstances!) centered over a freshly uploaded image that based on the actual full image size of the original submission that was uploaded. This could give you an idea of what a 2048x2048 area of that original area would look like if you were wondering whether to go back, recrop, and resubmit. Maybe it would also pop up a message saying something like:

The square highlighted outline shows the maximum area that you could have safely cropped this image to without losing any pixel detail, and is based on the original size of your uploaded image. Please note that it represents the maximum cropping area only, not the actual crop position. If at this point, you feel that re-cropping this photo would be an aid for identification, please prepare a newly cropped version (outside of iNaturalist) and [button] RESUBMIT. Otherwise, click here to [button] IGNORE.

Of course, if the image uploaded (pre-resampling by the system) is under the 2048 pixel max, the outline and the accompanying message would just not appear.

It’s not elegant, and perhaps would also breed more techno-confusion in many, but if it was a simple option (like a “show max possible crop area” near the image, maybe it would be helpful to many too.

Just thought I’d throw that into the ring.

Maybe instead just adding a warning message that says that files will be resized to max 2048 pixels and that they suggest cropping around subjects that only take up a small amount of the frame. Like on the screen that says “Drag and drop some photos or sounds” and then the message disappears after you start adding files.

Cropping is a hard matter, which was already discussed here
I am not convinced that showing a crop overlay will solve the problem.
I think that there are two points to address:

  1. I am afraid that a large number of (most?) Inat users are not aware that photos larger than 2048x2048 will be automatically resized, and what this means. So the first think to do in my view is to pop-up a warning message each time a Inat user submits a larger photo, mentioning the risk of a loss of quality

  2. about cropping itself, I guess that most uploaded photos are in jpeg, and cropping a jpeg photo without caution can decrease its quality (may be as much as resizing) because of the 8x8 pixel (or 8x16 or 16x16 in case of chroma sub-sampling) block structure of jpeg photos. Fortunately there are some viewers (on computer) and apps (on cell phones) able to crop jpeg photos losslessly (see the other forum thread I mentioned above). This means that, ideally, somewhere (maybe in the warning message that should appear when a large photo is updated) some advice should be given to Inat users to crop their photos properly


For the website, it’s mostly because there are many free cropping tools available for computers, so making one for the website is a low priority compared to other things to work on. I’m going to close this, I’m concerned it will cause more confusion than it fixes.

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