Railway Preservation News

OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)
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Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

Quite often some of the best and most up-to-date photos we have of not-your-usual preservation projects--the odd caboose, parked PV, station, etc.--have come from Panoranio, a Google-run photo-sharing site integrated with Google Maps.

I discovered when linking a photo from my previous thread about the AT&SF camera car on the move:
Back in 2014, we announced our intention to retire Panoramio in order to invest our efforts into improving photo-sharing experiences directly inside Google Maps. In response to your feedback, we postponed these plans and worked to add features to Maps that better support the level of engagement that you have enjoyed with Panoramio. . . . . After November 4, 2016, you’ll continue to have access to your photos in Panoramio for a year, but you will no longer be able to add new photos, likes, or comments. Below, we’ve included resources to help you manage or export your data. . . .
Tip: Although you’ll no longer be able to create new accounts, upload your photos, comment or like other content in Panoramio after November 4, 2016, you’ll still have access to your photos and be able to export your data until November 2017. After that, if your Panoramio account is linked with a Google account, we'll copy your photos to the Google Album Archive so you can access them even after Panoramio is retired.

As of tonight I can still find lots of rail photos under Panoramio, so the implied "disappearance" of Panoramio above (Nov. 2017) has either been postponed, has been exaggerated, or whatever.

I am reposting this because a cursory glance about rail preservation sites (including RyPN) shows quite a few photos here and there still linked from Panoramio. They appear to be accessible now, but in the future they may "go away" or force a rewrite of links. And a few archivists may want to go archive/save a few photos out there from their local or other speciality topics now before they disappear completely.

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

This whole craptacular idea of storing and doing things 'in the cloud' has been and will continue to bite people on the ass for years to come. I knew that 15 years ago, things were already vanishing into thin air. (Remember Geocities?) If you need it in the future, put it on your hard drive and burn it to a CD or DVD and put that somewhere else.....

Author:  dinwitty [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

geocities archive is on oocities, if you had something there, just change the lead link

Author:  jayrod [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

Images have been disappearing increasingly from Panoramio for quite a while so if you want to save copies of any, the sooner you do it the better. The little link icons are still on the map but some images no longer display.

Author:  Termite7 [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

CDs and DVDs are also not the best place for long-term storage of digital files. They can be corrupted and I have lost a number of things that way. Get a portable hard-drive and use that. While they do cost more they are very stable. Those small jump-drives or thumb drives work too...just make multiple copies and store them in different places.

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

They make archive quality CD's and DVD's that are supposed to last longer.

I don't trust flash drives and other solid state media. Online I see they are only supposed to have a 10 year life span.

I have similar concerns about hard drives, and an additional problem with them is the interface technology has evolved on hard drives. IDE, SCSA, Firewire, USB, estata, the first three are getting scarce and the interfaces older then that are almost forgotten.

Of course, CD and DVD may become obsolete and it might happen faster then we think, even tho blu-ray has given CD's and DVD's new life. So whatever you use, you will need to keep an eye on it and be ready to move it to a new format before the old format is lost....

Author:  HudsonL [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

I use hard drives as my backup.

Currently I use a 8tb NetGear NAS box (4 2tb drives) running in RAID 10, with a 8tb backup drive.

This gives me 3 copies of everything.

When a NAS drive fails, and they do fail, all I have to do to recover is install a new drive, the NAS software then rebuilds the array and I am back in business.

When Amazon has a sale, I get a new backup drive and move the old one off-site.

I have heard of a couple of Photographers who have started using the memory cards in their camera until full and then filing the memory card as part of their backup system, their point being the cards are so cheap, why reuse.


Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

A full RAID array is a whole nother level that most here won't go to. But that works if you got it ;)

As I said above, memory cards (flash drive is just a USB memory card) are NOT suitable archival formats. They can and will go blank on you.

Author:  Rick Rowlands [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

I found this online and thought it would be appropriate to share:

"Never trust FLASH memory of any kind for long term storage. My experience with FLASH is integrity begins to falter in as little as 5 years. The voltages stored in the FLASH memory cells dissipate and can be misinterpreted after a while. High temperatures will accelerate the dissipation and shorten storage even less than 5 years.

High density FLASH where one cell can represent 2 bits has greatest failure rate.. most common in use as it is the cheapest to manufacture (double capacity). Many FLASH micro-controller applications are failing after 5-10 years because of FLASH memory corruption. Re-FLASHing the firmware restores the chip for another 5-10 years etc. So you must refresh FLASH memory data periodically to ensure continued integrity. Same would apply if you wanted to use the SD card as long term storage.

The FLASH memory chip itself is extremely rugged and can offer hundreds, if not thousands of years of service; as long as maximum write cycle lifespan has not been exceeded. FLASH memory cells are like millions of individual microscopic batteries that are charged at different levels. As you know, any battery new in the pack sitting on a shelf for years will eventually discharge. Same applies to FLASH memory cells, they require "recharging" periodically to maintain proper charges which represent data bits. So a FLASH memory card put into a safety deposit box for 25 years... guaranteed you will have corrupt data when you try to use it. I have seen FLASH memory with 20% corruption after 10 years of sitting in storage.

FLASH thumb drives are great for transferring data from one computer to another etc, but NEVER to be used for long term archival storage. Same goes for the conventional CD ROM. After 5-10 years, the contrast dye will fail causing read errors.

The best medium for long term storage are ARCHIVAL GOLD CD-R or similar brand. The storage medium on the disk is a thin layer of 24K gold so it will not oxidize. Data retention on this type of CD is expected to be intact even after 300 years. They are expensive compared to conventional CD-R."

Author:  bbunge [ Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

I rsync files and photos across three hard drives on three different linux boxes in the basement. Not too difficult to set up if you are a linux guy.

Need to rsync to a USB drive that I rotate out of a fire safe, but havent' gotten there yet.


Author:  robertmacdowell [ Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

We have this discussion from time to time. And there's always a great deal of handwringing over the fact that you can't just slap it on a shelf and expect it to work 20 years later. It all misses the point.

The cost of DASD (directly accessible) storage continues to fall exponentially. 20 years ago, my entire personal dataset was about 1GB. Now it's 200GB, and even that is insignificant on a remotely modern hard drive. It's stupid easy to replicate all over the place, which I do. It would be inexcusable for me to lose my data.

It should be the same way for your railway museum. That 900GB of scanned photos will fit easily on yesterday's 1.5TB hard drives, today's 8TB and tomorrow's 20TB. Or if your archive is much larger, same basic issue - it will keep scaling as storage grows.

So there will never be a time when you need to evict your precious data from "live" DASD to relegate it to a shelf for 20 years. Realistically it will stay on your primary DASD forever.

Keep backing that up. Spread backups around.

dinwitty wrote:
geocities archive is on oocities, if you had something there, just change the lead link

That was not an official archive. It would not surprise me if individual Yahoo's lent technical assistance, certainly short of handing over a data dump directly, as that would have violated internal data policy. Third parties scraped Geocities with web crawlers, so it's possible they missed stuff, particularly content that was not linked to from any internal Geocities page.

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

And the 'online archives' are NOT official, and not guaranteed to continue. One good example is Dejanews. That was a complete archive of the usenet newsgroups. Usenet was what people used to use before forms and blogs, when they wanted to post and share with the world. It more or less drifted to the background of the internet about 2000. It was a big deal however, even Steve Lee posted there in the 90's. Dejanews archived it all, (this was NOT a small feat, the usenet was freeking HUGE) and google bought dejanews. Over time, they blended Dejanews into their own google groups archives to the point it's now indistinguishable. They also censored and trimmed the posts and groups and have pretty much removed all the advanced search tools. As google groups itself fades away, what will become of Dejanews?

Keep a local copy, back up to the cloud if you like, but keep a local copy.

I still have a folder on my hard drive that dates back to the 80's, from computers that have been dead 25 years...

Author:  Overmod [ Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Panoramio shutting down(?)

Keep in mind also that hard-drive magnetic storage tended to self-corrupt as the tiny magnetic domains affected their neighbors. I do not know technically the extent to which GMR suffers this problem, but suspect it needs to be dealt with the same way older technologies had to be.

That means periodic 'full disk optimization' or compression, using a program or utility that rewrites every byte of data stored on the disk (a good program will also look for bad or failing media 'sectors' and keep data off them when moving). This re-establishes the magnetic domains in good shape, suitable for another decade of storage ... but you have to do it routinely, before any of the domains demagnetize to the point the disk's inherent error-correction can't restore important ones if lost.

One of the problems with "modern" operating systems is that they claim to do 'disk optimization' in the background, "eliminating" the need for third-party programs like those from Coriolis, or utilities like the one provided with older versions of Windows. Whether the kiddees who program the latest 'n greatest version of Mac OS have thought about archival storage on older disks is ... well, a crapshoot. (The excuse is always 'we don't support obsolete software or hardware' or words to that effect). So I think it is wise to invest in tools that can do this for any archival magnetic media...

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