Downloadable software for automated photo-id of seals
The pictures on this page illustrates the process of scanning the flank pelage pattern from a photo showing a grey seal. The program can be used for patterns on the chest, abdomen and neck and with minor modifications can also be used for harbour seal patterns. By fitting a 3D surface model to the image the program captures a pattern that is unaffected by the camera angle or posture. It then goes on to compare the new pattern with previous patterns stored in a library and display the most likely matches. 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 and so on.
To try out the software first unzip the following "seal_demo_folders.zip" file to your c: drive, where it will make a "c:\seal_demo\" folder with a number of subfolders containing sample images and pattern extracts (remember to click the "use folder names" option). The "c:\seal_demo\" folder will also contain an Access database called "seal_demo.mdb" and a "UsageNotes.pdf" document explaining the process of entering new images, extracting 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 its "setup.exe" program. When installation is complete open the "seal_demo.mdb" database and follow the steps in the UsageNotes "Getting Started" section.