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How to explore image and video data

Upload, enrich, and explore image and video data to gather insights to help you make decisions and optimize tasks.

Upload image and video data

  1. Navigate to Data management> Images and videos.
  2. Select Upload to open the Upload new files to CDF dialog.
  3. Select Select directory to navigate to a set of files, or choose Select files to choose individual files. Or, drag files into the upload area of the window.
  4. Optional: Choose a data set from the drop-down list to upload data within a specific data set.
  5. Select Upload files to upload the selected files.

Import metadata during upload

Exif, short for Exchangeable Image File, is the standard format for storing information in digital photography image files using JPEG compression. It includes metadata like:

  • Data and time the image was taken.
  • GPS information.
  • Information about the technical details related to the camera, like shutter speed, lenses, and exposure.

You can import camera-generated metadata on the images you upload to CDF. The Extract Exif-data from files check box is selected by default.

If you don't want to extract Exif metadata to CDF, deselect the check box.


Not all images contain Exif data, for example, if the image file is a screenshot.

Group and organize image and video data

You can organize images and videos by creating custom metadata for a group and classify information. For example, you can create a directory with image files for a specific location. And you can organize data by adding metadata for further classification. For example, you can add a metadata key. like category, and then give that key values, like equipment or measurements. Grouping and organizing image and video data improves search and can be used to prepare the data for machine learning to build custom applications for automating operations.

There are different types of metadata associated with images and videos in CDF. Metadata can be:

  • Data imported with the image at upload, like Exif data.
  • Information created during the upload process, like the date and time that the image was uploaded.
  • Custom-defined metadata created in CDF, like a new directory for image files.
  • Annotations created in CDF after the image is uploaded.

You can add and edit metadata in the File Details dialog in the Image and video management window. You can also link the file to assets from File Details.

Organizing data into groups and adding metadata labels to those groups makes it possible to apply search filters in the Filter dialog in the Image and video management window.


The better organized your data is, the better your search results will be and the more value you get from the data in the system.

Add annotations to images

You can enrich images using annotations by marking specific regions of interest on an image. For example, you can add an annotation called corrosion and use that annotation to mark images that show rust on pipes or other types of corrosion. Any CDF user with the necessary permissions can use the same annotation to indicate regions on an image that show corrosion. When you filter your search to include these annotations, you can find and review all images with this annotation label.

Annotation types

There are two main types of annotation: shapes and keypoint collections.

Annotation typeDescription
ShapesUse the bounding box or the add polygon tool to select an area in an image and draw a shape around it.
Keypoint collectionsUse the add point tool to create a grouping of individual points on an image, for example, points that span the start and end of a needle on a gauge in a photo.

Create consistent annotation labels

We recommend that you establish an organized approach and consistent naming convention to creating annotation labels and keypoint collection names for your images in CDF.

Suppose you have several annotation labels for the same type of annotation, for example ID, identification, and tag number. In that case, search results will be less relevant than if all the annotations have one common name, like ID.

CDF lets you choose from a drop-down list of pre-defined annotation labels and collection names when you create annotations. If you don't see the pre-defined label you need, you can create a new one. After you create it, your new annotation label appears in the pre-defined list.


Make sure you have a structured approach to annotations before you create them. After you select Done, you can't delete your new annotation from the pre-defined list.

Create annotation

  1. Select an image from the Image and video management window.
  2. Open the Review file window by selecting Review annotations or View file, depending on your view (List view or Gallery view, for example).
  3. Choose an annotation tool from the toolbar. You can, for example, draw a box around a specific region on an image that has surface anomalies, like corrosion. Or, you can add a collection of points to an image to indicate a keypoint collection.

When you start using the annotation drawing tools, the Create annotations button appears. For consistency and improved search, use the pre-defined labels if they exist.

After you create an annotation, you can see the annotation label in the annotations list for an image on the File Details tab.

When you go to the Image and video management overview window, you see that the image now includes the annotation.

You can use the Filter dialog to search for the image and other images with the same annotation label.

Search image and video data

You can narrow search results to find relevant images and videos by applying filters in the Filter result dialog in the Image and video management window. You can specify to search for:

  • Date and time.
  • Asset.
  • Annotation and annotation state.
  • Media type (image or video).
  • Data set.
  • Directory prefix.

View images in full scale

To view an image in full scale from the List view in the file overview, select the image you want to view, and then select Review annotations.

To view an image in full scale from the Gallery view in the file overview, hover over the image and select View File.

You can scale up and down inside the Review window to increase or decrease image viewing size.

You can change or add new metadata for images in this window.

Review annotations

You can approve and reject annotations from CDF > Image and video management > Review for a selected image. You see a list of annotations for a selected image on the Annotations tab.

To approve an annotation for an image, go to the Annotations tab for the image, open the annotation, and select the True button.

To reject an annotation, select the False button. Rejecting an annotation doesn't delete the annotation.

Approving and rejecting annotations enables collaboration on image analytics. You can add annotations that are reviewed later by a domain expert. Approving and rejecting annotations can also be used for searching and filtering data, say, to find all images with the label corrosion that have been approved.

Modify image data

You can view and edit details about files in the File Details dialog for a selected image. Here you can:

  • Add and edit the external ID.
  • Attach labels to the file.
  • Link to the file to assets.
  • Add or modify metadata associated with the file.

Modify data in bulk

Select several images from the Image and video management window, and select the Bulk edit drop-down, where you can choose to edit, review, download, or delete data in bulk.

The Bulk edit files dialog lets you select data types and actions to edit. You can:

  • Edit shared metadata on the selected images, for example, a title of a document.
  • Add labels from your existing set of labels, for example, the name of a project.
  • Add new assets, or remove existing asset links.
  • Update the source of the files. For example, update the name of the application where the files originated.
  • Update the name of the directory that the files belong to.
  • Update the status of annotations for the selected files. For example, set them to approved or rejected.
  • Delete annotations for the selected set of files.

Stream videos

You can upload videos using the Upload button in the Image and video management window and stream videos directly in CDF.

Standard video playback functionality is available for your video data in CDF, including play, pause, change volume, and view full-screen.

Troubleshoot image and video data

Issue: File doesn't upload

Possible resolutions

File format: Check that you are uploading supported file formats. Supported file formats are: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .mp4, and WebM using the user interface. If you need to upload a different type of image, you can do that using an API.

File size: The maximum amount of files to upload via the user interface is 250, and a total of 1GB. Check to see if you are attempting to upload more data than the user interface supports. You can also upload data using an API instead of the user interface.