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Proceedings Paper

Automated ship image acquisition
Author(s): T. R. Hammond
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Paper Abstract

The experimental Automated Ship Image Acquisition System (ASIA) collects high-resolution ship photographs at a shore-based laboratory, with minimal human intervention. The system uses Automatic Identification System (AIS) data to direct a high-resolution SLR digital camera to ship targets and to identify the ships in the resulting photographs. The photo database is then searchable using the rich data fields from AIS, which include the name, type, call sign and various vessel identification numbers. The high-resolution images from ASIA are intended to provide information that can corroborate AIS reports (e.g., extract identification from the name on the hull) or provide information that has been omitted from the AIS reports (e.g., missing or incorrect hull dimensions, cargo, etc). Once assembled into a searchable image database, the images can be used for a wide variety of marine safety and security applications. This paper documents the author's experience with the practicality of composing photographs based on AIS reports alone, describing a number of ways in which this can go wrong, from errors in the AIS reports, to fixed and mobile obstructions and multiple ships in the shot. The frequency with which various errors occurred in automatically-composed photographs collected in Halifax harbour in winter time were determined by manual examination of the images. 45% of the images examined were considered of a quality sufficient to read identification markings, numbers and text off the entire ship. One of the main technical challenges for ASIA lies in automatically differentiating good and bad photographs, so that few bad ones would be shown to human users. Initial attempts at automatic photo rating showed 75% agreement with manual assessments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6963, Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications X, 696319 (16 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.777091
Show Author Affiliations
T. R. Hammond, Defence Research and Development Canada (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6963:
Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications X
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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