By Andrew Liszewski
It’s admittedly a pretty niche piece of software, but if your job happens to have you keeping tabs on a large herd of zebras, or other animals that can be identified via unique striping on their bodies, you might want to look into StripeSpotter. Developed by the Computational Population Biology laboratory at the University of Illinois, and the Equid Research and Conservation laboratory at Princeton, the software is able to identify and catalog animals in the wild using nothing more than a digital photo from a run-of-the-mill P&S camera.
Researchers just have to highlight a portion of the animal where the striping is most prominent, making sure to crop out areas of the photo that might lead to confusion. The stripe pattern and the photo will then be indexed, and if a match already exists in the system, the information and metadata from the previous sighting will be loaded. And since it’s designed to be used by conservationists and researchers, the application is provided for free on Windows, Mac and Linux, and is even open source.