Environmental multimedia retrieval

Friday, July 27, 2018

The rapid advancements of digital technologies, as well as the progress and wide availability of digital cameras and sensors have resulted in a great increase of multimedia data production worldwide. This is also the case for multimedia data that describe the state of the environment, which include huge amounts of data streams from model systems, dedicated stations and amateur sensors, as well as visual environmental information, such as heat maps and forest satellite images.

In parallel, the success of citizen sciences and social networking tools has fostered the emergence of large and structured communities of nature observers who started to produce outstanding collections of biodiversity multimedia records. Citizens have become increasingly aware of the important role that environmental data play on health issues as well as to a variety of other human activities. In addition, such data are very important for understanding environmental issues and phenomena, such as the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change.

Therefore, there is an increasing need for the development of advanced techniques for analysing, interpreting and aggregating environmental data provided in multimedia formats. This will allow for the generation of reliable measurements, as well as for the development of personalised applications that will take into account the state of the environment and the personal health conditions and preferences. Furthermore, it should be noted that the production of accurate and timely knowledge of other living species is essential for a sustainable development of humanity and for biodiversity conservation.

Despite the fact that a large number of multimedia analysis techniques has been developed specifically for extracting events and behaviours in human-centered and general purpose applications, such as sports, movies, surveillance, relatively little attention has been paid to the analysis, retrieval and interpretation of environmental information from multimedia content. Recent works in multimedia analysis of environmental data deal with heatmap analysis for forecast data extraction, plant identification, underwater visual data analysis and monitoring of the atmosphere.

In this context this thematic issue focuses on the analysis, processing, indexing, retrieval and fusion of meteorological data encoded in multimedia, on classification and recognition of plants and biological species for environmental multimedia, as well as on environmental applications. The special issue consists of 7 papers.

A Guest Editorial