PointCount’99 is a Win95/98 based PC program derived from PointCount for Coral Reefs© which was developed in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Florida Keys Coral Reef Monitoring Project (US EPA CRMP). The software utilizes the random point count method for accurately estimating percent coverage of corals, sponges, and associated substrate from digitally frame-grabbed underwater video images. Unlike its predecessor, PointCount for Coral Reefs©, which operated in conjunction with Media Cybernetics’ Image-Pro Plus graphics software, PointCount’99 is a stand-alone Visual Basic program built on Accusoft’s Image Gear platform. Funding for the development of PointCount’99 was provided by the Jeanette and Lafayette Montgomery Foundation.
PointCount’99 makes image identification an efficient process. It calls up an image file and overlays a unique set of points supplied by an internal random number generator. PointCount’99 is also able to use a unique set of random points (cd.dat) created for, and stored along with, a set of images. The user identifies each point and enters the data via a mouse driven graphic user interface. Species and substrate identifications require only a single mouse click. Corrections and multiple selections are easy to make, and hot keys are available to expedite the process. PointCount’99 also makes identifications easier by allowing the user to zoom in and out on images and enhance image quality with buttons for brightness/contrast, sharpness, and color levels.
PointCount’99 can be used in virtually any application where the random point count method is appropriate. It accepts digital images in a number of formats including TIFF, JPEG, and Bitmap. Customized identification button menus can also be developed upon request
When identification for a particular image is complete, PointCount’99 generates manager and points files, which contain the identities of all points and associated metadata. These data files grow as the user analyzes additional images. After the pointcounting of a set of images is complete, the user is then able to create an ASCII format comma separated value file. The data are complete, compact, accessible using virtually any spreadsheet or data analysis program, and easily shared with colleagues via the Internet.