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March 1, 2013

March 2013

A new tool to help transform raw underwater images into quantitative information useful for science and policy decisions has been developed by a team of scientists from Australian marine organisations, universities, and state and federal governments. 

The tool, known as CATAMI - Collaborative and Automated Tools for Analysis of Marine Imagery and video - will help the whole marine community by making it easier to aggregate, annotate and automate imagery thereby saving resources and maximising the limited number of taxonomy staff.

Currently there is a lack of standardised approaches to the methodology, annotation, classification and analysis of underwater imagery. This makes comparison across disparate sites as well as further analysis very difficult.

Scientists from the CATAMI (Collaborative and Annotation Tools for Analysis of Marine Imagery and video) project are helping to solve some of these issues by working with the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub Theme 1 and the marine community to develop a standard classification for scoring marine biota and physical characteristics from underwater imagery. 

There is a growing consensus between organisations collecting underwater imagery that greater collaboration is key to ensuring optimal utility from this data. 

Contributors to the CATAMI classification include the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub (through the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania), NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Western Australian Museum, Geoscience Australia, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia and the Australian Antarctic Division.

The CATAMI project includes development funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative. NeCTAR is an Australian Government project conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund. The University of Melbourne has been appointed the lead agent by the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

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