Monday, March 7, 2016

2 million classifications at Chimp & See!

Another milestone has been reached in almost no time and we are extremely proud of all volunteers who dedicate their time and passion to watch, annotate, and discuss videos from all over Africa. Your deep interest and engagement surprise us on a daily basis! 

What does it exactly mean to have 2 million classifications? 

Each volunteer watches videos – usually from only one research site at a time – in a random stream and is asked to annotate the species to see, the number of animals present, and their behavior from a predefined selection. A field guide explains clues for species identification and the behaviors the science team is interested in. Depending on what is seen and how hard the animal makes it, that takes 15 seconds to a few minutes. This is one classification.

A video is retired when agreement is reached. This agreement is reached pretty fast with the occasional empty video: when just three different persons say “nothing there”, it is taken out of circulation. If an animal is present, we need seven volunteers to agree on the aggregated species level. That is pretty easy for iconic species like chimpanzees and elephants, but we all have our weaknesses to reliably distinguish the duikers. Is it a small gray, red, or dark one? Or, even a small antelope? If no agreement is reached after 15 different annotations, the video will be retired nevertheless. But the classification did not fail here. The volunteers’ choices about the different duikers or small antelopes still tell us that there is a duiker-like or antelope-like animal present (and not an elephant). Additionally, a volunteer who is an expert in duikers might see the video as well and add the correct species tag in the comment section. So, no click is unnecessary or wasted time for the science project.

A Brooke's duiker - classified as "red duiker"
In numbers: In an average week more than 120 volunteers make over 30,000 classifications. Until now, volunteers annotated more than 370,000 videos from nine different research sites in West and Central Africa that are now completed

Three research sites are currently open. All three of them already presented themselves with great chimpanzee and elephant footage; and Restless Star in addition shines with gorillas.

A heartfelt thank you from everybody here at Chimp & See for your amazing work!

If you are interested, please join us at Chimp & See to watch and annotate videos from across Africa!

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