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General Questions

What is ABC Tracker?

ABC Tracker is a semi-autonomous multi-object tracker.

Given any video clip, ABC Tracker can (with no prior training) follow objects in the video and provide the location (x and y coordinates), orientation, and velocity of each object.

What kind of objects can be tracked?

ABC Tracker can be used to track any type of object.

However, the current default module set used by ABC Tracker is optimized for tracking social insects, including ants, bees, and termites. 

What does it mean that ABC Tracker is "modular"?

ABC Tracker uses a pre-defined set of steps–or "modules"–to perform tracking.

For example, one module in ABC Tracker performs detections on the video file, while another module associates the detections with each other forming foreground tunnels.

Each of these modules is a separate MATLAB source file, and the combination of several modules forms a "module set." These sets of modules can be chosen using the video's "Object Type" or customized on a per-video basis.

Questions on Account Management

How can I get an account?

We are building the number of users as quickly as our computational resources allow. If you're interested in trying out ABCTracker, complete this form to request a free account.

How can I recover my username or password?

Fill out this form and we will help restore access to your account.

Questions on Creating Processes

What video formats can I use?

ABC Tracker uses the MP4 video format to perform tracking.

However, ABC Tracker can handle any video type that is compatible with FFMPEG, and will convert other formats to MP4 before processing.

ABC Tracker can handle these video formats:

What is the maximum length video ABC Tracker can handle?

Currently, we recommend that videos be less than 10 minutes to perform tracking. However, due to requests from biologists, we are integrating support for tracking longer videos now. For updates on this transition, please contact us.

What if I want the tracker to ignore regions within a video?

ABC Tracker does have support for ignoring regions of a video during tracking, known as a "binary mask." Currently that feature is disabled by default, but it can be applied on a per-process basis by contacting the development team. Full support for this feature will be added into the default ABC Tracker application soon.

Questions on Object Marking

What is Object Marking?

Object marking is a phase in the tracking process:

  1. Create tracking process
  2. Mark objects to track
  3. Run autonomous tracking
  4. Perform semi-autonomous corrections to tracking results

Why is object marking necessary?

Object marking provides invaluable data to ABC Tracker: it informs the tracker of the appearance, size, quantity, and density of objects.

What size should the object marks be?

Object marks should cover the body of the objects being tracked, but should cover as little of the image background as possible.

Should an object be marked if it is under the "ignore" area of a binary mask?

If the whole object is under the "ignore" area:

If part of the object is under the "ignore" area:

Should an object be marked if part of the object is off the screen?

As a rule of thumb, if over half of the object is visible in the frame then then object should be marked; try to mark as much of the object as possible

Questions on Tracking

I received an error message during tracking, what should I do?

Please contact us here. We try to be prompt in investigating all bug reports. Please provide us with your email address. If possible, any on-screen messages or screenshots are helpful.

In most cases, we can resolve the issue without ever accessing your PC and will let you know when the issue has been resolved.

Can I write my own tracking module?

At this point, the tracking modules are managed by the development team. If you are interested in contributing to the ABC Tracker project, please contact us.

Questions on Corrections

Is it necessary to correct tracking results?

No. The corrections phase is provided as a convenience to visualize and improve tracking results, and can be skipped if the uncorrected tracking results are sufficient. However, exporting the tracking results to CSV or MP4 will require loading the corrections screen, even if no additional corrections are performed.

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