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This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, founder of the Annotate.io social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, co-founder of the SocialTies App, author of the A.I.Cookbook, author of The Screencasting Handbook, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and FivePoundApps and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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11 May 2012 - 17:40StrongSteam’s first novel OCR matching API (Python demo)

Here’s a preview of our first novel API in StrongSteam. We’ve been working with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for a while, we set ourselves the task of matching a noisy photograph of some text to a pre-seeded database of entries. If you follow my blog you’ll already have seen our example iPhone app for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London (developed in collaboration with Kasabi):

Now rather than having to re-label 10,000 Latin plant labels with QR codes Kew can now use our matching technology on their existing labels to enrich a visitor’s experience of the gardens (and it turns out that a lot of visitors have iPhones and use Kew’s official app).

With our API we can do the same kind of task with photos of plaques from the London Science Museum where we match against 836 entries scraped from the Science Museum website. In the following video we match against text from the information plaque of Old Bess (née ‘Beelzebub’) in the Energy Hall:

This is just a preview, we’ve sent the Python & cURL API to some of our alpha users and will be inviting more in over the coming month. Here are some more OCR videos and here’s a work-in-progress demo of our image matching (using PhoneGap on an Android):

If you’d like to get access to our RESTful cloud-based computer vision APIs please sign-up on our StrongSteam homepage. Soon we’ll be adding raw OCR (with co-ordinates and font size reports) and image matching (particularly for stuff like brand logos and beer labels).

We’re super-keen to hear about your use cases and needs – please send me an email (ian AT strongsteam.com) and tell me what you need. We used to work on these problems in my consultancy (Mor Consulting), now we’re working to make our IP more available to all.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

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