Our distinct contribution to VSAM research is the articulation of VSAM as an information system. This stands in contrast to image and signal processing systems. A signal processing system typically takes signals from one or more sensors and processes the data into a form that is useful for some purpose. In doing so, it may fuse the data from those sensors, but it deals primarily with data at the sensor level. An information system handles a broad range of information, not just sensor data. Sensor data is still important to us, but we consider it in a much larger context.
Consider the scene in following image. It is an outdoor scene in an urban area, but could be anywhere.
An outdoor urban scene that is the subject of surveillance
There are multiple sensors placed in and around the area for surveillance. In this case there are three video cameras situated on elevated platforms and an airborne infrared sensor in a helicopter, such as those use by police to track suspected felons at night. This leads to the scenario depicted in the image below.
A surveillance system that uses multiple sensors to cover a scene.
While there is effective coverage of the area by the multiple sensors, there is too much information for a single person to assimilate. Fusing data from groups of sensors helps, but the problem gets worse as the number of sensors increases and it is certainly possible to have surveillance tasks that use sensors numbering in the thousands.
Our approach, called Multiple-Perspective Interactive Video (MPI-Video), uses the multiple heterogeneous sensors, integrating the information derived from them to form a comprehensive environment model (EM) of the surveilled area (see figure below).
An MPI-video surveillance system that assimilates sensor information into a single environment model.
The database is the focus of interaction, i.e., a user of the system interacts with the EM by posing queries and modifying data in the database. By interacting with the database, the user may define:
We envision an MPI Video Surveillance and Monitoring (MPI-VSAM) system which is a reconfigurable framework robustly supporting image understanding capabilities in a variety of environments.
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