Downloadable software for automated photo-id of cheetahs
The picture on this page illustrates the process of scanning spot patterns from photos of cheetahs. By fitting a 3D surface model to the image our programs capture a pattern that is unaffected by the camera angle or posture. They then go on to compare the new pattern with previous patterns stored in a library and display the most likely matches. Suitable images may be from researchers or tourists and the resulting database of match results can be used to provide the usual benefits of mark/recapture studies: monitoring of population size and other parameters, determining the fate of individual animals, encouraging cooperation between different research groups.
To try out the software first unzip the following "cheetah_folders.zip" file to your c: drive, where it will make a "c:\cheetah\" folder with a number of subfolders containing sample images and pattern extracts (remember to click the "use folder names" option). The "c:\cheetah\" folder will also contain an Access database called "cheetah.mdb" and a "Usage_notes.doc" explaining the process of entering new images, extracting spot patterns from those images and comparing the patterns to the library in order to search for earlier images of the same animal.
Then open the "ExtractCompare_install.zip" file and double-click the "setup.exe" program. Please answer "yes" to retain any files that would otherwise be overwritten by older files.
When installation is complete click on "ExtractCompare" in the programs list or the "Extract/Compare" button in the "cheetah.mdb" database. Then please follow the steps in "Getting started" section of the "Usage_notes.doc" document to see how the sytem is run to search a catalogue for matches to a new photograph and to test its performance. Please do not add, delete or rename any files or folders in the "c:\cheetah\" folder except for those in the "c:\cheetah\download_photos" folder, which is used to hold new photographs that are to be added to the system.
Last updated on 10 June 2010