Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Video Data Turns Into Knowledge

With thousands of hours of videotape, researchers needed a better way to access and use the images.
Pannychia is an elasiopod sea cucumber found in the deeper regions of the Monterey Canyon. A deposit feeder, groups of Pannychia gather in "herds" on the soft bottomed areas of the canyon below 400 meters. When touched, Pannychia glows with intense blue-green bioluminescence, which radiates in a spiral pattern from the part of the body that was stimulated.
Screen shot
Screen shot of the annotation screen used in MBARI's VARS (Video Annotation and Reference System).

By Leonard A. Hindus
Contributing Editor

Many organizations are tackling the problem of how to make video images and the information they contain accessible. Few other organizations have ever attempted to index the amount of videotape that MBARI has collected. Even fewer maintain the depth of information the VARS system contains.

MBARI had a vision of what data they wanted to annotate. Even more remarkable, they wanted to make the knowledge base available to any researcher, anywhere who wanted to use it. The combination of the Annotation System and Knowledge base and the Query System is a practical example of how videotape can be turned into a flexible resource. MBARI is achieving its primary goal of turning thousands of hours of videotape into a flexible knowledge resource for the global research community.

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