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Developing an Interpretability Scale for Motion Imagery



J Irvine, A Aviles, D Cannon, Charles D. Fenimore, Donna Haverkamp, S Israel, G O'Brien, John W. Roberts


The motion imagery community would benefit from the availability of standard measures for assessing image interpretability. The National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS) has served as a community standard for still imagery, but no comparable scale exists for motion imagery. Several considerations unique to motion imagery indicate that the standard methodology employed in the past for NIIRS development may not be applicable or, at a minimum, requires modifications. The dynamic nature of motion imagery introduces a number of factors that do not affect the perceived interpretability of still imagery -- namely target motion and camera motion. We conducted a series of evaluations to understand and quantify the effects of critical factors. This paper presents key findings about the relationship of perceived interpretability to GSD, target motion, camera motion, and frame rate. Based on these findings, we modified the scale development methodology and validated the approach. The methodology adapts the standard NIIRS development procedures to the softcopy exploitation environment and focuses on image interpretation tasks that target the dynamic nature of motion imagery. This paper describes the proposed methodology, presents the findings from a methodology assessment evaluation, and offers recommendations for the full development of a scale for motion imagery.
Optical Engineering


NIIRS, Image and video quality, image interpretability, frame rate, full motion imagery


Irvine, J. , Aviles, A. , Cannon, D. , Fenimore, C. , Haverkamp, D. , Israel, S. , O'Brien, G. and Roberts, J. (2007), Developing an Interpretability Scale for Motion Imagery, Optical Engineering, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created November 26, 2007, Updated October 12, 2021