It's been quite some time in the making, but we're proud to finally announce the launch of Incogna GIS! This division of Incogna is specialized in on-demand geospatial data processing. Just upload your imagery and we let you extract exactly what you need from it, in record time - thanks to our cluster of on-demand GPUs. We spent a good part of this week at Geotec 2010, where our CTO participated in the GIS Cloud Computing round table along with Mano Marks from Google, Chris Pendleton from Microsoft and David Stanley of PCI Geomatics.
Rui Da Silva also presented our collaborative project (Dasymetric Mapping for Profiles of Spatial Determinants of Health Outcomes in Rural Ottawa) that we've been doing with University of Ottawa's Geomatics department. We met lots of interesting folks and are looking forward to seeing how we can help people to extract the knowledge they need from their imagery. If you're so inclined, be sure to watch our GIS site for more interesting stuff!
Posted by Incogna on 2010-04-16
The web is abuzz about Google's latest Similar Images Labs release. I love that Google is finally devoting some resources to this problem, since their main image search engine basically hasn't changed much since it was launched (other than expanding in size). I always get the question: "What if Google is working on Image Search?" and I always answer: "Oh, they are." It's great to finally see the results!
So, a bit of a breakdown: they've taken an approach with a very strong emphasis on metadata and mixed in some colour similarity (with a hint of shape too). The metadata gives the engine a strong basis upon which (I would argue) they seem to have focused mostly on colour content. I've personally never really been convinced that using colour for recognition is a great way to go. My reasoning is simple enough: colour blind people can recognize basically anything a normal person can (save perhaps for the lime/lemon debate). I think that one of the trappings is that colour is easy to approach from a statistical viewpoint, but in reality, it really gives very little discerning power. What's the problem? Well, you sometimes click on a forest picture and you get horses instead. Although their metadata covers up a lot of those problems. That's not to say that colour isn't important, it's a great way to help restrict your search.
In any case, I have to say: I love clicking around visual search engines!
In other news, Incogna has been advancing on a number of fronts: we're doing some Geographic Information Systems (GIS) pilot projects with a number of companies right now. We're effectively bringing the Cloud Computing model to GIS, where the current state-of-the-art is, shall we say more "desktop oriented". We've given some live GIS processing demos (think Google Maps + interactive processing & classification), I think they're pretty cool. More on that later.
In the meantime, there'll be some alpha invites going out soon for our next project (not GIS). Don't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll just have to wait. Just sign up for an Incogna account (if you haven't already) and we'll send out invites it's ready.
Posted by Kris Woodbeck on 2009-04-28
It's taken years of time. Between designing the visual processing algorithms, assembling the resources to build a cluster and convincing/finding people willing to help out, it's been a ton of work. But it's also been a blast. And here are the (initial) results: the Incogna image search engine!
That's right, the search engine is finally scaled up and (hopefully) ready for more visitors. So, how do you use this thing? Well just click on whatever image you like to find similar images. You can pick one of the random popular images on the landing page or type in a text query and click one of the results to refine your search. It's that easy (or at least it should be). And don't mind the visually-matched sponsored images, although feel free to click on them if they interest you!
Special thanks to everyone over at the TTBE who spent so much time helping out "the little search engine that could" for the past...well, too long, anyway.
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions.
Posted by Kris Woodbeck on 2008-11-25
I just wanted to say thank you to all of the alpha users who signed up and tested everything out, your suggestions and comments (and even a few bug reports) have been fantastic!
As a result, the following stuff has been done to the engine:
The only major thing that can't be done yet is "uploading an image" to search: Incogna has limited resources and all of the GPUs are busy indexing away. Once there are some more resources and Incogna can afford some new toys, an upload function will certainly be added.
Oh and the grant Incogna received last month (that I mentioned in my last post) was the Precarn T-GAP, thanks Precarn!
You guys have been great and I hope you're enjoying yourselves.
Posted by Kris Woodbeck on 2008-11-13
It's been a busy week.
First off, Incogna has obtained another grant (can't say which one until it's public). This will help to finalize everything for launch and get some more talent into the company within the next while. If you (or anyone you know) is good at GPU coding and is interested in image search (and wants a job), let me know.
Second, I was lucky enough to get 3rd place in the NSERC Innovation Challenge in Halifax on September 25th. It was great to meet all of the finalists and wow, there's some great research going on across the country!
And finally, for anyone interested in giving the Incogna image search engine a try, now you can! Incogna's cluster has (finally) been moved into new colocation facilities, the bits and pieces have been hooked up, and the engine is ready to take some visitors!
If you'd like access, just send an email and an invite will be on its way soon (for the early birds, anyway). Sorry, no fancy signup form, too many more important things to do!
Warning: expect bugs, it's alpha after all.
Posted by Kris Woodbeck on 2008-09-26