Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Genealogy - Integrating images and data

For several years, I have been building websites for my family tree. Over those years, the method for integrating images has changed, but until recently, it has always been very time consuming.

One limitation from the past has to do with the proper image size and resolution. Too large a file and you spend hours waiting for it to display and too small, there isn't any detail to be useful. Through trial and error, I went from simple HTML code to more advanced scripts and displaying methods.

Around 2006, I started reading about a great software package called TNG, which uses an SQL database and PHP/HTML language. It didn't take long for me to realize this was the future. Having to manage a large family tree with hundreds of webpages was becoming too difficult, so with a quick purchase of TNG, it became a quick and simple task of just uploading my GEDCOM file! Plus, TNG had several features that allowed the detailed data to be shared in very efficient and professional ways.

About the same time, I was also experimenting with online image retention sites, such as KODAK.com and a few others. These offered some nice image manipulation features, such as batch editing, thumbnail organization, etc, but was not easily accessible as a link. Soon after this, I happened upon PICASA, from Google and found it could manage ALL my images on my desktop AND allow online publishing with linkable accessibility.

Taking the two items together (TNG and PicasaWEB), I have now been able to mass produce, manipulate, and organize hundreds of images in original and high resolution format online (with PicasaWEB "name tags") and link to my family individual records in TNG. From this point forward, I can continue to scale the number of images and the TNG link doesn't change.

So, if you are looking at some of the names, you may be sent to an off site webpage, that shows more images throughout time, of that person... I have recently created many new links to the "people" in Picasaweb from TNG, so hope you enjoy this.