Modeling the world from Internet photo collections

International Journal of Computer Vision | , Vol 80: pp. 189-210

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There are billions of photographs on the Internet, comprising the largest and most diverse photo collection ever assembled. How can computer vision researchers exploit this imagery? This paper explores this question from the standpoint of 3D scene modeling and visualization. We present structure-from-motion and image-based rendering algorithms that operate on hundreds of images downloaded as a result of keyword-based image search queries like “Notre Dame” or “Trevi Fountain.” This approach, which we call Photo Tourism, has enabled reconstructions of numerous well-known world sites. This paper presents these algorithms and results as a first step towards 3D modeling of the world’s well-photographed sites, cities, and landscapes from Internet imagery, and discusses key open problems and challenges for the research community.