Downloadable software for automated photo-id of whale sharks
The pictures on this page illustrates the process of scanning the pelage pattern from a photo showing the right side of a whale shark. 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. The same program can also use patterns scanned from the side of the head or dorsal surfaces.
To try out the software first unzip the following "shark_demo_folders.zip" file to your c: drive, where it will make a "c:\shark_demo\" folder with a number of subfolders containing sample images and pattern extracts. The "c:\shark_demo\" folder will also contain an Access database called "shark_demo.mdb" and a "Usage_notes.pdf" file 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 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 "shark_demo.mdb" in the c:\shark\demo folder to open the demo database. Check the paths at the bottom of the blue screen. Click the ExtractCompare button to start the pattern extraction and comparison program. Check the paths in red at the top of the first screen and edit them to the current location of the downloaded files (i.e. replacing "tiger_Jimmy" with "shark_demo"). Click "Start" and the "retrieve" button to see the program fit the 3D model to the image displayed on the screen. Click "initial fit" to start the fitting process and then click "fit". See the "Getting Started" section in the usage notes in the "c:\shark_demo\" folder for further information on running the system.
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