Today the photograph has transformed again. From the old world of unprocessed rolls of C-41 sitting in a fridge 20 years ago to sharing photos on the 1.5” screen of a point and shoot camera 10 years back. Today the photograph is something different. Photos automatically leave their capture (and formerly captive) devices to many sharing services. There are a lot of photos. A back of the envelope estimation reports 10% of all photos in the world were taken in the last 12 months, and that was calculated three years ago. And of these services, Flickr has been a great repository of images that are free to share via Creative Commons.
On Flickr, photos, their metadata, their social ecosystem, and the pixels themselves make for a vibrant environment for answering many research questions at scale. However, scientific efforts outside of industry have relied on various sized efforts of one-off datasets for research. At Flickr and at Yahoo Labs, we set out to provide something more substantial for researchers around the globe.
Today, we are announcing the Flickr Creative Commons dataset as part of Yahoo Webscope’s datasets for researchers. The dataset, we believe, is one of the largest public multimedia datasets that has ever been released—99.3 million images and 0.7 million videos, all from Flickr and all under Creative Commons licensing.
The dataset (about 12GB) consists of a
jpeg url or
video url, and some corresponding metadata such as the
tags. Plus about 49 million of the photos are geotagged! What’s not there, like comments, favorites, and social network data, can be queried from the Flickr API.
But of course, processing 100 million images takes a fair bit of processing power, time, and resources that not every research institute has. To aid here, we’ve worked with the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to compute many open standardized computer vision and audio features†, which we plan to host in a shared Amazon Instance, as it’s somewhere north of 50TB, for researchers around the world to use. It’s pretty intense and they brought in a first-of-its-kind supercomputer, the Cray Catalyst, to make the calculations.
The dataset can host a variety of research studies and challenges. One of the first challenges we are issuing is the MediaEval Placing Task, where the task is to build a system capable of accurately predicting where in the world the photos and videos were taken without using the longitude and latitude coordinates. This is just the start. We plan to create new challenges through expansion packs that will widen the scope of the dataset with new tasks like object localization, concept detection, and social semantics.
Interested? Head over to the Yahoo Webscope site to request the dataset. If you have any questions, you can get those answered there as well.