EECS Department Colloquium Series

The Distributed Cameras

Noah Snavely

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm
3:30 - Refreshments will be served

Noah Snavely
Professor, Graphics and Vision Group, Computer Science Department, Cornell University

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We live in a world of ubiquitous imagery, in which the number of images at our fingertips is growing at a seemingly exponential rate. These images come from a wide variety of sources, including mapping sites, webcams, and millions of photographers around the world uploading billions and billions of images to social media and photo-sharing websites, such as Facebook. Taken together, these sources of imagery can be thought of as constituting a distributed camera capturing the entire world at unprecedented scale, and continually documenting its cities, buildings, people, and events. This talk will focus on how we might use this distributed camera as a fundamental new tool for science, engineering, and environmental monitoring, and how a key problem is "calibration" -- determining the precise camera geometry of each photo, in a world coordinates system, in an efficient, automatic way. I will describe our work on building a massive geometric database of images, and on using this database to automatically calibrate new photos. I will also talk about how we are beginning to use these precisely calibrated, crowdsourced photos for new computer vision applications.


Noah Snavely is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, where he has been on the faculty since 2009. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in 2008. Noah works in computer graphics and computer vision, with an interest in using vast amounts of imagery from the Internet to reconstruct and visualize our world in 3D. His thesis work was the basis for Microsoft's Photosynth, a tool for building 3D visualizations from photo collections that has been used by many thousands of people. Noah is the recipient of a Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship and an NSF CAREER Award, and has been recognized by Technology Review's TR35.

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