Visual Identification vs. Re-Identification

November 9, 2019

Recently, the term "ReID," short or Re-Identification has apprarently appeared in the Animal Biometrics community, apparently from the "human domain,"  that is to say that it is a term used in studies of human identification.  To put this in perspective, Visual ID or visual identification, equivalently, PhotoID and Individual ID are tems used in  "Animal Biometrics" wherein visual features on the animals are used identify them individually.

Species spawn; smaller species typically have larger reproductive rates. Further, the rates of speciation is apparently incredible In the Amazon, for example, a new species of plant or animal may be discovered every day!  Over 350,000 species of beetles exist with many more yet to be discovered!

Field biologists track individuals (species too) in part by  taking new photos, which is an a typical form because it involves no mark-recapture.  Entirely new individuals (and species) enter databases during each season. Identification thus includes two parts; first, recognizing the already previously seen, and identifying the new entrants, perhaps by computationally performing a naming ceremony. Typically XX01921011 or something such. Once identified, th  entrant (an individual or species) can be re-identified when recaptured (photographed). 

Many of the our colleagues who like to follow "big" animals are essentially biased; they are marketing re-identification. The occasional new individual is thoroughly manually processed. Actually, as a vision scientist, I can understand why. It's a much easier problem. 

That's not our story. Sloop has been in the identification business from the very inception of building a database from a bag of unknown individuals to continually managing the entry of new ones into the identity tables.  As new individuals show up, our software reliably identifies them as new and enables their identities to be tracked over a period of years. 

It's a little limiting to just focus on "Re-ID" as seems to be currently popular.  Why not call it Idenfification, not Animal Re-Identificaiton or Individual Re-Identification or ReID.