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Automatically detecting the small group structure of a crowd

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3 Author(s)
Weina Ge ; Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, USA ; Collins, R.T. ; Ruback, B.

Recent work on computer vision analysis of crowds tends to focus on robustly tracking individuals through the crowd or on analyzing the overall pattern of flow. Our work seeks a deeper analysis of social behavior by identifying the small group structure of crowds, forming the basis for mid-level activity analysis at the granularity of human social groups. Building upon state-of-the-art algorithms for pedestrian detection and multi-object tracking, and inspired by social science models of human collective behavior, we automatically detect small groups of individuals who are traveling together. These groups are discovered using a bottom-up hierarchical clustering approach that compares sets of individuals based on a generalized, symmetric Hausdorff distance defined with respect to pairwise proximity and velocity. We validate our results quantitatively and qualitatively on videos of real-world pedestrian scenes. Where human-coded ground truth is available, we find substantial statistical agreement between our results and the human-perceived small group structure of the crowd.

Published in:

Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), 2009 Workshop on

Date of Conference:

7-8 Dec. 2009