Downloadable software for automated photo-id of wildebeest
The picture on this page illustrates the process of scanning stripe patterns from the flank surface photos of wildebeest digital image. 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, tourists or camera traps 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 and so on.
To try out the software first unzip the following "wildebeest_demo_folders.zip" file to your c: drive, where it will make a "c:\wildebeest_demo\" folder with a number of subfolders containing sample images and pattern extracts (remember to click the "use folder names" option). The "c:\wildebeest_demo\" folder will also contain an Access database called "wildebeest.mdb" and documents explaining the process of entering new images, extracting stripe 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.
On the database screen click the ExtractCompare button, browse to the wildebeest.mdb file to set the paths and select the "real-time ident." option. Click "start" and then the "retrieve" button on the next screen. That will display one of the wildebeest images and some coloured dots identifying special locations and margins of the image. Click "initial fit" to start the process and then click "fit" (you may need to click it a number of times to get a sensible orientation of the model) . Click "extract" to extract the pattern sample and "OK" to see the processing of that pattern prior to its automated comparison with the library. The lost likely matching individual is displayed to the right in comparison with the new image on the left. Close the program and click on "view images/photos" on the database screen to review the sample images.
(note: in case of problems when running the pattern extraction/comparison program from the database screen please use a shortcut to the wildebeest.exe file instead)