I was given this question on a job interview and think I really messed up. I was wondering how others would go about it so I could learn from this experience.

You have one image from a surveillance video located at an airport which includes line of people waiting for check-in. You have to assess if the line is big/crowded and therefore additional clerks are necessary. You can assume anything that may help your answer. What would you do?

I told them I would try to:

  1. Segment the area containing people from the rest by edge detection
  2. Use assumptions on body contour such as relative height/width to denoise unwanted edges
  3. Use color knowledge; but then they asked how to do that and I didn't know

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's a bit off-topic, but my my first advice for a job interview would be to check the company's technology and products. This usually helps a lot in finding answers.

In this general case of crowd surveillance in a closed place, I would check the following items first:

  • get a reference image of the empty location in order to be able to detect people's location (even inaccurate) by background subtraction. This gives a rough estimate of the queue length;
  • check if the camera is facing the line, in which case I would run a face detector to get an approximate count of people in line. This provides a second estimate;
  • if necessary, learn (from the detected faces) the skin color in the image, then again segment the image based on skin color.

There are more advanced techniques available, but I think it would be overkill here.


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