In scientific and engineering disciplines, from academia to industry, there is an increasing need for the development of custom software to perform experiments, construct systems, and develop products. The natural mindset initially is to shortcut and bypass all overhead and process rigor in order to obtain an immediate result for the problem at hand, with the misconception that the software will simply be thrown away at the end. In a majority of the cases, it turns out the software persists for many years, and likely ends up in production systems for which it was not initially intended. In the current study, a framework that can be used in both industry and academic applications mitigates underlying problems associated with developing scientific and engineering software. This results in software that is much more maintainable, documented, and usable by others, specifically allowing new users to extend capabilities of components already implemented in the framework.
There is a multi-disciplinary need in the fields of imaging science, computer science, and software engineering for a unified implementation model, which motivates the development of an abstracted software framework. Structure from motion (SfM) has been identified as one use case where the abstracted workflow framework can improve research efficiencies and eliminate implementation redundancies in scientific fields. The SfM process begins by obtaining 2D images of a scene from different perspectives. Features from the images are extracted and correspondences are established. This provides a sufficient amount of information to initialize the problem for fully automated processing. Transformations are established between views, and 3D points are established via triangulation algorithms. The parameters for the camera models for all views / images are solved through bundle adjustment, establishing a highly consistent point cloud. The initial sparse point cloud and camera matrices are used to generate a dense point cloud through patch based techniques or densification algorithms such as Semi-Global Matching (SGM). The point cloud can be visualized or exploited by both humans and automated techniques. In some cases the point cloud is "draped" with original imagery in order to enhance the 3D model for a human viewer. The SfM workflow can be implemented in the abstracted framework, making it easily leverageable and extensible by multiple users.
Like many processes in scientific and engineering domains, the workflow described for SfM is complex and requires many disparate components to form a functional system, often utilizing algorithms implemented by many users in different languages / environments and without knowledge of how the component fits into the larger system. In practice, this generally leads to issues interfacing the components, building the software for desired platforms, understanding its concept of operations, and how it can be manipulated in order to fit the desired function for a particular application. In addition, other scientists and engineers instinctively wish to analyze the performance of the system, establish new algorithms, optimize existing processes, and establish new functionality based on current research. This requires a framework whereby new components can be easily plugged in without affecting the current implemented functionality.
The need for a universal programming environment establishes the motivation for the development of the abstracted workflow framework. This software implementation, named Catena, provides base classes from which new components must derive in order to operate within the framework. The derivation mandates requirements be satisfied in order to provide a complete implementation. Additionally, the developer must provide documentation of the component in terms of its overall function and inputs. The interface input and output values corresponding to the component must be defined in terms of their respective data types, and the implementation uses mechanisms within the framework to retrieve and send the values. This process requires the developer to componentize their algorithm rather than implement it monolithically. Although the requirements of the developer are slightly greater, the benefits realized from using Catena far outweigh the overhead, and results in extensible software. This thesis provides a basis for the abstracted workflow framework concept and the Catena software implementation. The benefits are also illustrated using a detailed examination of the SfM process as an example application.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Computer vision--Data processing; Three-dimensional imaging; Software architecture; Software frameworks
Imaging Science (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Rossi, Adam J., "Abstracted Workflow Framework with a Structure from Motion Application" (2014). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus