The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering USC Signal and Image Processing Institute USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Southern California

The USC-SIPI Image Database

The USC-SIPI image database is a collection of digitized images. It is maintained primarily to support research in image processing, image analysis, and machine vision. The first edition of the USC-SIPI image database was distributed in 1977 and many new images have been added since then.

The database is divided into volumes based on the basic character of the pictures. Images in each volume are of various sizes such as 256x256 pixels, 512x512 pixels, or 1024x1024 pixels. All images are 8 bits/pixel for black and white images, 24 bits/pixel for color images. The following volumes are currently available:

Textures Brodatz textures, texture mosaics, etc.
Aerials High altitude aerial images
Miscellaneous The mandrill, peppers, and other favorites
Sequences Moving head, fly-overs, moving vehicles

File Format and Names

Note: It is the database user's responsibility to figure out how to read the images into whatever computer they will be using, and how to access the files from within application programs. USC-SIPI does not have the resources to provide assistance in these areas. If you are in doubt about whether or not you will be able to read the images on your computer, please check with your system managers and show them the description of the database and the image formats.

All images in the database are currently stored in TIFF format. Some information about the TIFF format is available from Wikipedia and from Adobe Systems. The "libtiff" library of C functions for reading and writing TIFF images is available from The "netpbm" collection of image format conversion programs ( can convert between TIFF and many different formats.

Previous versions of the database that were only distributed on magnetic tape used a raw binary format for the data instead of the TIFF format. The TIFF files in the current edition can be converted back to a raw binary format using the TIFF software available at the above sites.

A sample C program for converting an image from TIFF to raw format on a Unix system is available (tiff2raw.c). This program should convert the color (24 bits/pixel) and grayscale (8 bits/pixel) images in the database into the raw binary format files. This program requires the "libtiff" library available at the site mentioned above. Note that while we believe this program works properly on the TIFF images in the database, it has NOT been tested on other TIFF images and may not convert them correctly.

Many of the images in the database have numerical filenames such as 4.2.03. These relate to an numbering scheme that was used with an earlier edition of the database that was released in 1981.

File Checksums

A list of checksum values for all the files in the database is available. This list can be used to check for any corruption of the image data after downloading the files.

Copyright Information

The images in the USC Image Database are intended for research purposes. USC-SIPI does not own the copyright of most of the images and the copyright status of many of the images is unknown. For more information on the copyright status of the images, please click here. If you plan on using any of the images in a publication, please read the copyright information before committing to using any of the images.

Database Catalog

A printed description of the USC-SIPI Image Database, including reduced resolution pictures of most of the images in the database, is available in PDF format for downloading and viewing. The file size is about 4mb. A printed copy of the catalog can also be obtained by contacting USC-SIPI.

Contacting USC-SIPI

Technical questions about the database images, the image format, or problems obtaining the images should be directed to the database editor, Allan Weber, , 213-740-4147.

Inquiries about other USC-SIPI services can be sent to , 213-740-4145.