Welcome to I3S: Interactive Individual Identification System

We would like to state that we have no commercial or scientific interests. All we want is to help the community to improve research and in this way help conservation of endangered species. We do this (in our spare time) simply because we enjoy it and want to contribute.

All work is done for free, but as owners of small enterprises, working on the tool also means no income whatsoever. Donations or grants for future development are most welcome.


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I3S is a free computer-aided photo-identification application that relies on natural marks to identify individual animals. I3S has proven very successful in identification of these species based on their natural spots. I3S helps the researcher to extract the spot pattern and then compares this pattern against all animals in the database and shows the researcher the most relevant results. Read more about I3S in About I3S and the different applications of the I3S family.

I3S News

January 2020
Website is https proof!

January 2016
We have released I3S Pattern+, useful for for example newst and toats and other animals with distinct (belly) patterns. See also Wildlife Photo-ID Network newsletter.

August 2015
We have updated I3S Contour, a very small update (still called version 3.0) to correct for Java 8.

May 2015
We have released I3S Straighten, a pre-processing tool to correct for the variations in body pose and only to be used for images perpendicular to the line of sight.
Inspired by

January 2015
We attended a great Photo-ID workshop in Finland last November. Video presentations of all keynote speakers (including us!) have been made available on YouTube.

July 2014
Minor update (version 4.02) of I3S Classic and Pattern.

June 2014
Launch of I3S Spot (Manta) version 4.02! See downloads.

February 2014
Small updates, new features and some bug fixes in I3S Classic AND Pattern version 4.0.1! See Downloads

  • Editing of expert settings (including explanation) in the metadata editor.
  • Magnifying glass when comparing two individuals.
  • Possibility to make time consuming evaluations go faster or slower.
  • Minor bug fixes.

Experiments on I3S Pattern show that a lot of recognition accuracy can be gained if I3S Pattern is properly tuned. The new version (v.4.0.1) allows to adjust various so called expert settings. We gladly help you to tune I3S, however, we will need a database of at least 60 images (preferably lots more, the more the better) with at least 2 images per individual. Just contact us by e-mail! Note: we always treat your database confidentially.

January 2014
We have launched I3S Classic version 4.0! See Downloads.

December 2013
We have launched our new tool: I3S Pattern! (see Downloads). This tool was developed with a grant of
I3S Pattern is the fourth release in a series of related software tools.

The first release was I3S (now referred to as I3S Classic). This package is based on annotation of the spot centers and is used for animals with lots of similarly shaped spots such as whale sharks.

The second package was named I3S Manta (when upgraded this version will be called I3S Spot). I3S Spot focuses on animals with less spots and more variation. Instead of annotating the centers only, spots are annotated by the closest fitting ellipse around each spot, in this way taking spot size and shape into account.

The third package was I3S Contour, which used the contour of e.g. flukes for identification.

Please tell us your success stories, wishes, bugs etc. so we can do more for you!

You can use I3S free of any charge. You are allowed to modify it, copy it, and distribute it under the GNU Public License v2. For the application you can download the distribution file including the source code.