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A Generic Framework for Information Segmentation in Document Images: A part-based Approach

  • This thesis presents a novel, generic framework for information segmentation in document images. A document image contains different types of information, for instance, text (machine printed/handwritten), graphics, signatures, and stamps. It is necessary to segment information in documents so that to process such segmented information only when required in automatic document processing workflows. The main contribution of this thesis is the conceptualization and implementation of an information segmentation framework that is based on part-based features. The generic nature of the presented framework makes it applicable to a variety of documents (technical drawings, magazines, administrative, scientific, and academic documents) digitized using different methods (scanners, RGB cameras, and hyper-spectral imaging (HSI) devices). A highlight of the presented framework is that it does not require large training sets, rather a few training samples (for instance, four pages) lead to high performance, i.e., better than previously existing methods. In addition, the presented framework is simple and can be adapted quickly to new problem domains. This thesis is divided into three major parts on the basis of document digitization method (scanned, hyper-spectral imaging, and camera captured) used. In the area of scanned document images, three specific contributions have been realized. The first of them is in the domain of signature segmentation in administrative documents. In some workflows, it is very important to check the document authenticity before processing the actual content. This can be done based on the available seal of authenticity, e.g., signatures. However, signature verification systems expect pre-segmented signature image, while signatures are usually a part of document. To use signature verification systems on document images, it is necessary to first segment signatures in documents. This thesis shows that the presented framework can be used to segment signatures in administrative documents. The system based on the presented framework is tested on a publicly available dataset where it outperforms the state-of-the-art methods and successfully segmented all signatures, while less than half of the found signatures are false positives. This shows that it can be applied for practical use. The second contribution in the area of scanned document images is segmentation of stamps in administrative documents. A stamp also serves as a seal for documents authenticity. However, the location of stamp on the document can be more arbitrary than a signature depending on the person sealing the document. This thesis shows that a system based on our generic framework is able to extract stamps of any arbitrary shape and color. The evaluation of the presented system on a publicly available dataset shows that it is also able to segment black stamps (that were not addressed in the past) with a recall and precision of 83% and 73%, respectively. %Furthermore, to segment colored stamps, this thesis presents a novel feature set which is based on intensity gradient, is able to extract unseen, colored, arbitrary shaped, textual as well as graphical stamps, and outperforms the state-of-the-art methods. The third contribution in the scanned document images is in the domain of information segmentation in technical drawings (architectural floorplans, maps, circuit diagrams, etc.) containing usually a large amount of graphics and comparatively less textual components. Further, as in technical drawings, text is overlapping with graphics. Thus, automatic analysis of technical drawings uses text/graphics segmentation as a pre-processing step. This thesis presents a method based on our generic information segmentation framework that is able to detect the text, which is touching graphical components in architectural floorplans and maps. Evaluation of the method on a publicly available dataset of architectural floorplans shows that it is able to extract almost all touching text components with precision and recall of 71% and 95%, respectively. This means that almost all of the touching text components are successfully extracted. In the area of hyper-spectral document images, two contributions have been realized. Unlike normal three channels RGB images, hyper-spectral images usually have multiple channels that range from ultraviolet to infrared regions including the visible region. First, this thesis presents a novel automatic method for signature segmentation from hyper-spectral document images (240 spectral bands between 400 - 900 nm). The presented method is based on a part-based key point detection technique, which does not use any structural information, but relies only on the spectral response of the document regardless of ink color and intensity. The presented method is capable of segmenting (overlapping and non-overlapping) signatures from varying backgrounds like, printed text, tables, stamps, logos, etc. Importantly, the presented method can extract signature pixels and not just the bounding boxes. This is substantial when signatures are overlapping with text and/or other objects in image. Second, this thesis presents a new dataset comprising of 300 documents scanned using a high-resolution hyper-spectral scanner. Evaluation of the presented signature segmentation method on this hyper-spectral dataset shows that it is able to extract signature pixels with the precision and recall of 100% and 79%, respectively. Further contributions have been made in the area of camera captured document images. A major problem in the development of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems for camera captured document images is the lack of labeled camera captured document images datasets. In the first place, this thesis presents a novel, generic, method for automatic ground truth generation/labeling of document images. The presented method builds large-scale (i.e., millions of images) datasets of labeled camera captured / scanned documents without any human intervention. The method is generic and can be used for automatic ground truth generation of (scanned and/or camera captured) documents in any language, e.g., English, Russian, Arabic, Urdu. The evaluation of the presented method, on two different datasets in English and Russian, shows that 99.98% of the images are correctly labeled in every case. Another important contribution in the area of camera captured document images is the compilation of a large dataset comprising 1 million word images (10 million character images), captured in a real camera-based acquisition environment, along with the word and character level ground truth. The dataset can be used for training as well as testing of character recognition systems for camera-captured documents. Various benchmark tests are performed to analyze the behavior of different open source OCR systems on camera captured document images. Evaluation results show that the existing OCRs, which already get very high accuracies on scanned documents, fail on camera captured document images. Using the presented camera-captured dataset, a novel character recognition system is developed which is based on a variant of recurrent neural networks, i.e., Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) that outperforms all of the existing OCR engines on camera captured document images with an accuracy of more than 95%. Finally, this thesis provides details on various tasks that have been performed in the area closely related to information segmentation. This includes automatic analysis and sketch based retrieval of architectural floor plan images, a novel scheme for online signature verification, and a part-based approach for signature verification. With these contributions, it has been shown that part-based methods can be successfully applied to document image analysis.

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Author:Sheraz Ahmed
URN (permanent link):urn:nbn:de:hbz:386-kluedo-45083
Advisor:Andreas Dengel, Marcus Liwicki
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2016/12/07
Year of Publication:2016
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Granting Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2015/12/15
Date of the Publication (Server):2016/12/08
Number of page:211
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Informatik
DDC-Cassification:0 Allgemeines, Informatik, Informationswissenschaft / 004 Informatik
Licence (German):Standard gemäß KLUEDO-Leitlinien vom 30.07.2015