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Maths from still and moving images

A wonderful range of products enables data to be gathered from pictures and video. A great resource for teaching using data from still and moving images is the webpage of Adrian Oldknow at Some products are easy to use now and some will become more accessible in the near future. This page is in three sections:

Maths from Still Images

Maths from Moving Images

Data logging


(Download a paper on this topic)

Maths from Still Images


Specially created for middle secondary years by Luther College as part of the RITEMATHS project. GridPic enables you to import any image you wish, and then it fit graphs in a very student-friendly format.

GridPic was programmed by Gerard Visser, a recent ex-student of Luther College, under direction of Ian Edwards and the maths staff. At this stage, GridPic is free for non-commercial users.

Download GridPic v1.2.1 Manual installation
Auto installation (recommended)

Scissors lift at the Ballarat Air Show.
Photo by Maxine Andrews.


DigitiseImage is a small and free shareware application, created by Jeff Waldock of Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Downloaded from , the program enables you to mark up an image so that data can be exported for analysis to a spreadsheet (Excel). It is simple to use, quick to download and free.
Instructions. Download the file from the internet and install on your PC computer. Open the program and then select an image file of your own to work on. One mouse click is all it needs to export the data (cartesian coordinates of selected points) to Excel, where it is graphed. Use Excel's capability in curve fitting or calculate lengths etc.

Image and Cursor

This is a fabulous LITE APPLET- a tiny program that can be downloaded from the internet to use very flexibly. Also free and open source, so that you can insert your own pictures (not instantaneous, but not too hard). Mark the points on the picture and then export to your spreadsheet for analysis, plotting, curve fitting, distance calcualtions etc etc. Endless possibilities! Available for any non-commercial use.

Click here to see image and cursor with a map of Africa.

These applets work most simply from the internet. Follow the instructions under our Merri Creek activity to get the files onto your own computer.

Modelling a Water Squirt

Another LITE APPLET, this time enabling you to fit a curve over a picture. Type in the formula, the curve is displayed in a second window.

* Note: .mht files can only be read on a Windows PC running Internet Explorer.

Or you can fit a curve to a Holden! Then compare it to a Ford. Click here to see image and cursor and the water squirt (*.mht file)

Click here to see image and cursor and the Ford (*.mht file). (This might not work on your computer - but for further instructions see the Merri Creek activity to get the files onto your own computer.)

Look for more in the LITE APPLET collection of the Journal of Online Mathematics Applications.

Using digital images in dynamic geometry

Images can be inserted into dynamic geometry diagrams, leading to stunning visual effects and an opportunity to analyse the geometry and measurement of real situations.

Cabri Geomètre:
The Geometers' Sketchpad: 

Other possibilities

ImageJ is free image processing and analysis public domain software in java. It will tell you what percentage of a photo of a leaf is dark green, or count the number of microbes on a photo.

Maths from Moving Images

Data highly relevant to students' lives can be captured from digital movies taken with domestic digital video cameras. There are many products available for the analysis of movies. The software purchased by many school science departments for use with physical data logging equipment may be suitable - see below. A list of some products to investigate is given below, but co-ordination with your science department is highly recommended.


Vidshell 2000 by Doyle V. Davis is free software which is highly recommended by Adrian Oldknow. It is fairly easy to use, has a good range of basic capabilities, and comes with a rich supply of good videos to work on.


Datapoint is free software to collect data from video and export to a spreadsheet for analysis. A small program, quick to download, with few options and consequently easy to use.

Logger Pro

LoggerPro from Vernier Software and Technology is for Windows or Mac and works with Vernier's LabPro interface. It has very wide ranging capabilities for data analysis, creating lab reports, importing data from handheld devices and exporting to spreadsheets.


World in Motion ( ) from Physics Curriculum and Instruction is also available for PC or Mac. This video capture and analysis software comes with over 200 video experiments in mechanics, a graphing tutorial program, and an html editing program with drawing, data analysis and graphing capabilities.

Measurement in Motion (for Macs and PC)

Measurement in Motion from Learning in Motion is for the Macintosh as well as PC, and provides a wide range of capabilities and support materials.


Videopoint ( ) from Lenox Softworks is commercial software for PC or Mac used in schools and industry. VideoPoint has been used to analyze situations ranging from a dropping ball to determining the acceleration of an irritable crawfish.

Summary website

Video Analysis Investigations for Physics and Mathematics (Texas A&M University college) has a set of videos and links to sites which provide video analysis software.

Data logging can be very useful for teaching mathematics

The term "data logging" means gathering data from the real world by connecting probes (e.g. for light intensity, temperature, motion) to a computer or calculator and also gathering data from pictures and videos. There are data loggers that work with computers and data loggers that work with calculators. Science departments in schools often already have the equipment.

Common probes measure temperature, light intensity, sound intensity, pH, motion detectors. The software that is used to analyse the data coming into the computer from the instruments, such as Logger Pro 3 collects a wide variety of data using Vernier's LabPro interface but can also be used to obtain data from video images. It supports statistical analysis and curve fitting, can synchronise movies with data collection, and can playback experiments at different speeds.

For information about this page, contact: Kaye Stacey
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Last modified: Fri 11 December 2020

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