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FIRE-CBIR: Content-Based Image Retrieval



This is a fork, maintained by me, fish2000; it is based on the original research work of Thomas Deselaers, which he undertook as part of his thesis work [PDF] at a university whose name I can't even dream of pronouncing without butchering it somehow. My copy of the codebase came from the FIRE-CBIR Google Code repository.

Please see Dr. Deselaers' FIRE-CBIR site for a full list of the many talented contributors to this fine codebase. It is their wish that users of FIRE-CBIR will cite their work with this formal citation:

Deselaers, T., Keysers, D., Ney, H., "Features for Image Retrieval: An Experimental Comparison", Information Retrieval, vol. 11, issue 2, The Netherlands, Springer, pp. 77-107, 03/2008.

See CITATIONS.txt for a complete bibliographical excerpt.


How To Install FIRE-CBIR: A Step-By-Step Guide

Adapted from


Integration with Apache (CGI)

Execute these commands, setting $FIRE_HOME to the root path of your un-tarballed local copy of FIRE-CBIR and $CGI_BIN to your Apache installation's cgi-bin directory.

  • apt-get install apache2 # if necessary
  • cd $FIRE_HOME
  • sudo cp ${FIRE_HOME}/Python/ $CGI_BIN
  • cd ${FIRE_HOME}/WebInterface
  • cp ./ ./ ./ ./ ./fire-template.html $CGI_BIN
  • mkdir ${CGI_BIN}/images # if necessary
  • cp ./neutral.png ./positive.png ./negative.png ./fire-logo.png ./i6.png $CGI_BIN

Now all the files should be in place for the FIRE webinterface to work.


Setting up a dataset

  1. Create a directory, e.g.

    • export FIRE_IMAGE_DATA="~/fire-image-data"
    • mkdir -p ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}
  2. Put a set of medium sized images (e.g. 500x500 pixels) into the $FIRE_IMAGE_DATA directory. To start, try using around 100 images.

  3. Convert all images to the JPG format

    • This step is not strictly necessary, but it often helps to avoid problems
    • cd $FIRE_IMAGE_DATA && mogrify -format jpg *
    • The mogrify command is part of ImageMagick, a separate package. It can be freely installed if necessary:
      • apt-get install imagemagick imagemagick-dev or
      • brew -v install imagemagick will provide it.
  4. Use FIRE-CBIR to extract color histograms from your images

    • ${FIRE_HOME}/bin/extractcolorhistograms --color --images ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/*.jpg
  5. create a filelist for this dataset

    • echo FIRE_filelist > ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/filelist
    • echo suffix color.histo.gz >> ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/filelist
    • echo path this >> ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/filelist
    • ls ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/*.jpg | sed 's/^/file /' >> filelist

Now you have a dataset where every image is represented using a color histogram. Other features can be added by extracting them and adding the corresponding suffix lines to the filelist.


Start the FIRE web server †

To access FIRE through its built-in web interface:

  • ${FIRE_HOME}/bin/fire -f ${FIRE_IMAGE_DATA}/filelist -r 10
  • Access FIRE's web interface via http://localhost/cgi-bin/
  • From there, you should be able to click on an image to see similar images, based on their respective color histograms.


Comments ††

Comment by , Jul 27, 2010

Hi Thomas, Thanks for this doc. It is clear. With it I have succeed in installing FIRE. But there are some bugs in the After access the webinterface through http://localhost/cgi-bin/, I click the upload form, then I get the message error in the page as follow:

Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/",
        line 862, in message+=newFile(form)
    File "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/",
        line 359, in newFile
    temporaryFiles=config.tempdir # standard: "/tmp" AttributeError?:
        `module` object has no attribute `tempdir`

Do you have some ideas about this ? Best Kai

Comment by , Aug 2, 2010

I have the same problem with the above person.If you have same idea about it and have free time,please tell me. thank you!

Comment by , Aug 24, 2010

hi guys, in,u should delete # in front of tempdir="/tmp" in line 12; also, u may add a line featureurl="" to keep the system running, but still not sovling the problem, seems something else to be done to run the uploading function. i am new to this system. some questions: the page can not display some of the PNG pics, negative.png, positive.png,..., but logo.png is ok...i dont know why. can anybody help,plz. and it can not display the histogram image, a PNG file again, i guess.... regards

Comment by , Aug 31, 2010

I click the upload form, then I get the message error in the page as follow: Traceback (most recent call last): File "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/", line 862, in message+=newFile(form) File "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/", line 359, in newFile temporaryFiles=config.tempdir # standard: "/tmp" AttributeError??: module object has no attribute tempdir plz help me because this important for me

Comment by , Feb 4, 2011

If your pictures are not displayed at the localhost webinterface, make sure that your webserver has the proper rights to access your pictures. Another hint, to make sure that FIRE really finds similar pictures, the proper command for launching the server should be:

./bin/fire -f ~/fire-img/filelist -D -r 10


Comment by , Mar 23, 2011

The negative.png is spelled wrong. it is negativ.png, but i still cannot access the localhost webinterface. The terminal ends with: ... (10) Retriever/ server.cpp:366:parseConfig? result=10 (10) Retriever/server.cpp:972:start? No proxy (2) Retriever/server.cpp:997:start? Waiting for connections on port 12960

so I changed the localhost to that port via localhost:12960/cgi-bin/ but not getting anything

Comment by , Jun 8, 2011

I have exactly the same problem, have you found where the problem is? Thank! Best

Comment by , Jun 9, 2011

Has anyone solved this problem? Thanks! Regards

Comment by , Jul 21, 2011

How to make sure my webserver has the proper rights to access the pictures? Thanks! Regards

Comment by , Nov 30, 2011

hi I got an Assertion failure when executing the following cmd:

~/fire-cbir/bin/extractcolorhistograms --color --images ~/fire-img/.jpg

The Error msg is: (10) [FeatureExtractors/extractcolorhistogram.cpp:93:main] Processing /home/zxj/fire-img/001.jpg (1/101). extractcolorhistogram: magick/semaphore.c:525: LockSemaphoreInfo?: Assertion semaphore_info != (SemaphoreInfo? ) ((void)0) failed. Aborted

Comment by , Dec 1, 2011

It seems something wrong with the ImageMagcik?. Anyone know how to fix this issue?

Comment by , Apr 9, 2012

hi,guys,I come across a problem when I compile FIRE using the cmd "make":

/usr/bin/ld: lib//libRetriever.a(retriever.o): undefined reference to symbol `omp_get_num_threads@@OMP_1.0`
/usr/bin/ld: note: 'omp_get_num_threads@@OMP_1.0' is defined in DSO /usr/lib/

so try adding it to the linker command line /usr/lib/

could not read symbols: Invalid operation collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit
status make: [bin//fire] Error 1

my os is ARCH 32bit.Google says that because my os is 32bit while the program should be compiled on 64bit os.I don`t know if it is true.Anyone who have compiled it can help me?

Editor's notes:


† I am pretty confident that the late mod_python, or something like it, is needed in order to deploy Python code by plopping some of it into a CGI directory, as per the FIRE-CBIR author's directive. I don't know about that stuff (I'm more of a WSGI gunicorn-y type guy, personally) but I'd wager you'll investigate that, like as like a part of the same content-based journey through the forgotten world of image retrieval, upon which you and I are both apparently adrift. § BACK TO TEXT


†† These were provided by google code users. I cleaned them up a little bit but it was all like that when I got here, basically. § BACK TO TEXT

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