Robust text detection in natural scene images

Xu Cheng Yin, Xuwang Yin, Kaizhu Huang, Hong Wei Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

571 Citations (Scopus)


Text detection in natural scene images is an important prerequisite for many content-based image analysis tasks. In this paper, we propose an accurate and robust method for detecting texts in natural scene images. A fast and effective pruning algorithm is designed to extract Maximally Stable Extremal Regions (MSERs) as character candidates using the strategy of minimizing regularized variations. Character candidates are grouped into text candidates by the single-link clustering algorithm, where distance weights and clustering threshold are learned automatically by a novel self-training distance metric learning algorithm. The posterior probabilities of text candidates corresponding to non-text are estimated with a character classifier; text candidates with high non-text probabilities are eliminated and texts are identified with a text classifier. The proposed system is evaluated on the ICDAR 2011 Robust Reading Competition database; the f -measure is over 76%, much better than the state-of-the-art performance of 71%. Experiments on multilingual, street view, multi-orientation and even born-digital databases also demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Finally, an online demo of our proposed scene text detection system has been set up at scene-text-detection/.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6613482
Pages (from-to)970-983
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Scene text detection
  • distance metric learning
  • maximally stable extremal regions
  • single-link clustering


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