ImageCLEFcoral Annotation Challenge 2019

The increasing use of structure-from-motion photogrammetry for modelling large-scale environments from action cameras attached to drones has driven the next-generation of visualisation techniques that can be used in augmented and virtual reality headsets. It has also created a need to have such models labelled, with objects such as people, buildings, vehicles, terrain, etc. all essential for machine learning techniques to automatically identify as areas of interest and to label them appropriately. However, the complexity of the images makes it impossible for human annotators to assess the contents of images on a large scale.

Advances in automatically annotating images for complexity and benthic composition have been promising, and we are interested in automatically identify areas of interest and to label them appropriately for monitoring coral reefs. Coral reefs are in danger of being lost within the next 30 years, and with them the ecosystems they support. This catastrophe will not only see the extinction of many marine species, but also create a humanitarian crisis on a global scale for the billions of humans who rely on reef services. By monitoring the changes and composition of coral reefs we can help prioritise conservation efforts.

The data for this task originates from a growing, large-scale collection of images taken from coral reefs around the world as part of a coral reef monitoring project with the Marine Technology Research Unit at the University of Essex (currently containing over 2TB of image data of benthic reef structure).

It is one world. And it's in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands.

- Sir David Attenborough

Client insight visualisation with Signal Media

The University of Essex in partnership with Signal Media Ltd are developing insight extraction and visualisation techniques to convert a stream of unstructured textual documents, e.g. news articles, into easily digestible information and present it in novel ways. The collaboration is part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). In January 2019, James Brill was appointed as our new KTP Associate and the team are looking forward to getting stuck into some industry-led research challenges over the coming months.

Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.

- Hunter S. Thompson