Google AI Can Work Out Photo Locations Without Geotags

Google are making AI for all kinds of purposes, including tackling the challenging Chinese game of Go. Now, they have revealed their latest deep-learning program, PlaNet, which is capable of recognizing where an image was taken even without it being geotagged.

PlaNet was trained by Google researchers with 90 million geotagged images from around the globe, which were taken from the internet. This means that PlaNet can easily identify locations with obvious landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Big Ben in London, a simple task which any human with knowledge of landmarks can do. This is taken even further by PlaNet, which sets itself apart with its ability to determine the location in a picture that is lacking any clear landmarks, with the deep learning techniques it uses making it able to even identify pictures of roads and houses with a reasonable level of accuracy.

The PlaNet team, led by software engineer Tobias Weyand challenged the accuracy of the software using 2.3 million geotagged images taken from Flickr while limiting the platform’s access to the geotag data. It was capable of street-level accuracy 3.6% of the time, city-level accuracy 10.1% of the time, country-level accuracy 28.4% of the time and continent level accuracy 48% of the time. This may not sound too impressive, but when Weyand and his team challenged 10 “well-travelled humans” to face off against PlaNet, it was able to beat them by a margin, winning 28 out of 50 games played with a median localization error of 1131.7 km compared to the humans 2320.75 km. Weyand reported that PlaNet’s ability to outmatch its human opponent was due to the larger range of locations it had “visited” as part of its learning.

What the plans are for PlaNet going forward is anyone’s guess, with a potential application being to locate pictures that were not geotagged at the time of photography, but it will be interesting to see how the techniques that bring machine learning closer and closer to humans can advance in the future.

A Visual Photographic Collage Of China’s Air Pollution

China’s air quality is poor to say the least, recent reports of families having to use an air purifier in their own homes to avoid breathing the air is quite shocking. The atmosphere in China has become worse over time to the point whereby it is difficult to recall a situation when the countries skies were not full of pollution, luckily, China and its Weather Network has produced a visual representation and it’s certainly worth a look.

Below is a series of snaps which has been stitched together and conveys the Beijing sky conditions most for most of the time in 2015, it is quite revealing when you consider how toxic the pollution is and is particularly evident when you look at images labelled 2015-12-1 and 2015-12-25.    

Image Below appears to be a colour chart of images that represent around 300 days of 2015, how do I know? yes I did count them and I came to around 290 days which I rounded up to 300, so give or take it is close to a year in total. The image also conveys the levels of extremes that exist and how it can be a danger to anyone’s health.

Below is an image which is quite fascinating, the sky here looks pretty natural and there is a good reason for this,  “during the Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War commemoration of the 70th anniversary of victory” celebrations, the government  imposed air “quality protection measures”, this included a shutdown of factories and a ban on cars and high emission facilities. The result was a dramatic change that started from August 20th and continued until August 24th, 2015.

These images are interesting because tech has been used to document a hot topic climate issue in today’s world.

Image courtesy of geonews

Twitter Sued Again for Failing to Comply with Takedown Request

It has happened before that someone sued Twitter on the grounds of failing to remove copyrighted material upon request and now it is happening again. This time it is the award-winning photographer Kristin Pierson that has filed a lawsuit against the social-media giant Twitter after she claimed that they failed to respond to a takedown request on one of her photographs and equally failed to remove it.

User-generated sites can generally not be held accountable for copyright infringement done by their users, as long as the have a takedown policy and responds to the requests made. This is the same for twitter and they’re taking down a lot of links and images based on that, but this time it must have failed.

This week Kristen Pierson filed a complaint against Twitter at a California District Court where she accuses Twitter of hosting or linking to one of her works without permission.

“A Twitter user or users copied the Infringing Image without license or permission from Pierson and on information and belief sent one or more Tweets publicizing and linking to it. The Infringing Uses were hosted either on Twitter or on third-party servers,” the complaint reads.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened and Twitter got sued by a photographer. Christopher Boffoli previously sued the company for the same offense and that case was settled outside of the courtroom.

Pierson didn’t mention whether she sent any follow-ups on the original request and TorrentFreak couldn’t find the takedown notice in question on Chillingeffects.com where Twitter publishes its takedown notices. Pierson wants to prevent Twitter from hosting or linking to her work and in addition she demands both statutory and actual damages which could very well exceed $150,000 USD.

The photo in question was still online available until yesterday, but it has since been removed and can’t be found on twitters twimg.com URL anymore. The original takedown request was sent on March 4th last year.

Thank You TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

BenQ Unveils 24″ SW2401PT QHD IPS Photography Monitor

BenQ has unveiled their new SW2401PT monitor with a 24-inch QHD IPS display. The new monitor is announced as the world’s first professional photography monitor that combines a selection of high-end features for highly reliable color accuracy, fidelity, consistency, and seamless compatibility with today’s DSLR cameras.

The QHD IPS display has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and includes a 99-percent Adobe RGB color space. The monitor allows for hardware calibration to allow users to adjust the image-processing chip easily without changing the graphics card output data. It also has two preset modes to create personalized calibration settings, a 14-bit 3D LUT which improves RGB color blending and DeltaE<2 in both Adobe RGB and sRG color spaces, in addition to both an OSD controller and a Black-and-White viewing mode.

The increased resolution on this monitor will give 77% more work-area over a normal full-HD monitor, something that is welcome by anyone working with photos and images. It also features BenQ’s RevolutionEyes technology and ZeroFlicker to reduce eye strain when working over long periods at the screen.

Even though this monitor is presented as part of the lineup for CES 2015, you don’t have to wait to get it. The BenQ SW2401PT is said to be available now at an $499 MSRP.

Thanks to BenQ for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of BenQ