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iFDO core#

The iFDO core is one section of the complete iFDO file. See its description to learn about its file formats, parts and sections.

Header information in the image-set-header part#

These three image-set-header values have to exist and cannot be superseded by values of the image-set-items. Fields from the image-set-items part (below) may exist in the header as default values for the entire image set.

Field Comment Required for FAIRness
image-set-name A unique name for the image set, should include <project>, <event>, <sensor> and purpose
image-set-uuid A UUID for the entire image set
image-set-handle A Handle URL to point to the landing page of the data set
image-set-ifdo-version The semantic version information of the iFDO standard used

In JSON, the entire image-set-header part is one dictionary.

Image item information in the image-set-items part#

Field Comment Required for FAIRness
image-datetime The fully-qualified ISO8601 UTC time of image acquisition (or start time of a video). E.g.: %Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f (in Python). Other formats possible with using image-datetime-format
image-latitude Y-coordinate of the camera center in decimal degrees: D.DDDDDDD (use at least seven significant digits that is ca. 1cm resolution)
image-longitude X-coordinate of the camera center in decimal degrees: D.DDDDDDD (use at least seven significant digits that is ca. 1cm resolution)
image-altitude-meters Z-coordinate of camera center in meters. When camera is above sea level, then it has positive values. When the camera is below sea level it has negative values.
image-coordinate-reference-system The coordinate reference system, e.g. EPSG:4326
image-coordinate-uncertainty-meters The average/static uncertainty of coordinates in this dataset, given in meters. Computed e.g. as the standard deviation of coordinate corrections during smoothing / splining.
image-context The high-level “umbrella” project
image-project The lower-level / specific expedition or cruise or experiment or …
image-event One event of a project or expedition or cruise or experiment or …
image-platform Platform URN or Equipment Git ID or Handle URL
image-sensor Sensor URN or Equipment Git ID or Handle URL
image-uuid UUID for the image file (still or moving)
image-hash-sha256 An SHA256 hash to represent the whole file (including UUID in metadata!) to verify integrity on disk
image-pi Information to identify the principal investigator. See details below
image-creators A list containing dicts for all creators containing: {orcid:…, name:…}
image-license License to use the data (should be FAIR, e.g. CC-BY or CC-0)
image-copyright Copyright sentence / contact person or office
image-abstract 500-2000 characters describing what, when, where, why and how the data was collected.
image-local-path string Local relative or absolute path to a directory in which (also its sub-directories) the referenced image files are located. Absolute paths must start with and relative paths without path separator (ignoring drive letters on windows). The default is the relative path ../raw.

In JSON, the image-set-items part is one dictionary. The keys in that dictionary are the filenames of the items in the image set. Each item, indexed by the image-filename, is itself a list ob dictionaries. For videos, the first entry of the list contains the default fields for the entire video. Do not repeat static metadata for each second of a video to avoid repetition. Every subsequent entry contains specifications that supersede the default values for one specific time point of the video. For photos (still images) this list has only one entry, containing the fields tabled above.

UUIDs and hashes#


Making data FAIR requires - amongst other things - that data is assigned a persistent identifier (PID). Many such PID systems exist, and usually they are based on the handle system (like DOIs for example) and alpha-numerical IDs that are globally unique. For images, we chose to use UUIDs (Universally Unique Identifiers), more precisely UUID type 4: random. These UUIDs can be created by anyone and as there are ca 21^36 possible UUID4s making it almost impossible that the same one is created more than once. This UUID is the alphanumerical identifier that has to be assigned to each image and to each image set. That means that the UUID for an image item (a photo or video) has to become part of the file itself! You need to write it into the image file’s metadata header. How this can be done depends on the image file format you chose but in general the two magnificent software tools exiftool anf ffmpeg are the solution. In case you are using the MarIQT software, these tools are used under the hood.


We use hashes to document the integrity of the image files. A hash is like a fingerprint of the file as it is computed from the file’s byte content. If you like, it is a massive compression of the file’s data into a short, cryptic text (ca. 32 characters) but unlike a zip file there is no way to uncompress the file from the hash. Using hashes allows us to make sure that a file has not gone corrupt or that a particular file is actually the version we are interested in. Checking the integrity of a file with hashes requires, that the byte content does not change. It is therefore absolutely essential, that the UUID is written to the image file’s metadata header before the hash for that file is computed!