infoTECH Feature

February 08, 2022

What is Image Annotation?

An image annotation definition would state that digital labels can enable smart computers to interpret and understand digital visual data like images and video stills. In addition, digital labelling and annotation of pictorial data enable efficient machine learning (ML) to authorise competent computer vision capabilities.

Certain semi-autonomous digital labelling systems significantly reduce the task duration by automatically labelling distinct aspects of both images and video. This specialised technique can be devoted to numerous tasks in various digital fields. The number of digital labels per image will vary depending on the business application and the project requirements. These digital labels are typically predetermined by a data scientist or a machine learning systems engineer.

Image Annotation - The Different Types Involved

Before vaulting right into digital image annotations, it is proper to comprehend the different image annotation types so as to choose the right classification for your specific digital use case.

Here are the key different annotation types:

Bounding Boxes Type:

Bounding boxes are the ever-present and most commonly used image annotation type in computer vision and digital labelling. Specifically, bounding boxes are rectangular containers or compartments that are used to demarcate the target entities' digital location. They can be easily be represented by denoting the ?? and ?? axis coordinates, starting from a fixed reference point (usually the upper-left corner). The bounding boxes type are normally used in entity detection and isolation assignments.

Polygonal Segmentation Type:

Digital objects will not always be represented by a rectangle within a shape. Taking this notion into consideration, polygonal segmentation is a type of digital data annotation where intricate polygons are used to define the form and location of the entity (instead of rectangles) in a more precise manner.

Semantic Segmentation Type:

Semantic Segmentation is a pixelated type of image annotation, where each pixel within an image is assigned to an entity class. These entity classes might be pedestrians, buses, cars, footpaths, etc., and each pixel harbours a specific semantic connotation.

Semantic Segmentation is predominantly used in digital image cases where environmental context is especially meaningful. A typical example would be self-autonomous or self-driving automobiles because these complex use cases require a detailed understanding of the entire environment they will eventually operate in.

3D Cuboids Type:

3D cuboids are comparable to the bounding boxes type, but they possess a supplementary depth of information regarding the image object. Consequently, 3D cuboids will provide a 3D annotation representation of the entity, permitting digital systems to differentiate specific features such as position and volume within a 3D expanse.

KeyPoint and Landmark Type:

Key-point landmark annotation notices undersized objects and forms variations by creating specific dots across the entire vision. This annotation type is useful for witnessing facial features and expressions, human emotions, and certain body parts and postures.

Lines and Splines Type:

This image annotation type is developed using lines or splines. It is generally used within autonomous vehicle imagery for side lane detection and recognition.

Image Annotation Applications Across Industries

Image annotation services 'guide' computer systems to recognise the different varieties of entities and objects. Machine learning image annotation is a rapidly growing field in the technology marketplace.

Facial Recognition Systems

One of the most common image annotation applications is facial recognition. This technical process involves extracting only those relevant facial features from a digital image of a human face, so as to contrast digital photos of one person from another. These facial recognition digital algorithms are improved by image annotation techniques such as keypoint landmarks, which repeatedly track various points in additional parts of one face using a process called "track pointing".

Agricultural Technology Systems

Image annotation techniques have been embraced within the agriculture-technology industry to assist with a variety of tasks. For example, plant disease detection can readily occur by electronically recognising the pictures of both diseased and healthy crops. This process is achieved using bounding boxes or semantic segmentation annotation types.

Security Systems

Image annotation is more than useful within the security system field. Such systems can flag certain events, such as suspicious-looking bags, in a distinct area using digital security cameras. By splitting the areas of a video feed into certain segments - such as restricted areas and non-restricted areas - using semantic segmentation, these systems can achieve highly efficient safety and protection safeguards for various industries.

E-Commerce Systems

Digital image annotation is employed to enhance product listings and assist potential customers in finding the right products they are searching for. This is attainable through the semantic segmentation annotation type by digitally 'tagging' diverse components within end-user search queries and product listing titles.

The Growing Need for Image Annotation

As the computer vision industry expands, digital imagery data for use cases will evolve. Digital image annotation is one of the essential duties in computer vision, and getting image annotation right is vital.


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