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_folders.zip" file to your c: drive, where it will make a "c:\wildebeest\" folder with a number of subfolders containing sample images and pattern extracts (remember to click the "use folder names" option). The "c:\wildebeest\" folder will also contain an Access database called "wildebeest.mdb" and two 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 "wildebeest_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.
Finally open the "extra_install.zip" file and double-click its "setup.exe" program. When installation is complete click on "wildebeest" in the programs list and the shortcut to the "wildebeest.mdb" database. On the database screen click the "run pattern extraction/comparison program" button. Click the "retrieve" button to see the program fit the 3D model to the image displayed on the screen. Click "initial fit" to start the process (you may need to click it a number of times to get a sensible orientation of the model) and then click "fit". Click "extract" to extract the pattern sample and "OK" to see the processing of that pattern prior to its automated comparison with the library. Close the program and click on "view images/photos" on the database screen to review the sample images. See the tutorial documents in the "c:\wildebeest\" folder for further information on running the system.
(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)