The GNU Image-Finding Tool

Table of Contents


The GIFT (the GNU Image-Finding Tool) is a Content Based Image Retrieval System (CBIRS: It enables you to do Query By Example (QBE: on images, giving you the opportunity to improve query results by relevance feedback. For processing your queries the program relies entirely on the content of the images, freeing you from the need to annotate all images before querying the collection.

The GIFT comes with a tool which lets you index whole directory trees containing images in one go. You then can use the GIFT server and its clients, to browse your own image collections.

The GIFT is an open framework for content-based image retrieval. We explicitly have taken into account the possibility of adding new ways of querying to the framework. Our communication protocol for client-server communication, MRML, is XML based and fully documented ( This aims at promoting code reuse among researchers and application developers. Inquiries about APIs and how to integrate new clients/servers into the framework are welcome (send questions to or the maintainer

The current version of the GIFT can be seen in action at The image database was seeded from Openclipart.

The latest version can be found and downloaded at

The GIFT (ex Viper) is the result of a research effort at the Vision Group at the CUI (computer science center) of the University of Geneva (see This cutting-edge research has been the subject of several publications and conference talks. Details can be found at


The latest version can be downloaded at Currently, the latest is quite often the greatest, so consider trying out the anonymous CVS provided on savannah.


The GIFT framework consists of a kernel and plugins. Currently, the oldest, and the most important plugin is the Viper plugin. Find under gift-plugins.html a list with pointers to plugins.


On the page at mrml-clients.html you can find a list of clients that can be used with the GIFT and their download locations.


Two mailing lists have been set up on the server.

Use the source is GNU's SourceForge clone. You find the GIFT there under On Savannah you can browse the gift sources in cvs. You can also report bugs there. For discussions, please use the mailinglists instead of the Savannah-provided forum, we do not want people to have to look at too many places for information, and mailman was there first.


There are lots of things to do. Current suggestions can be found at the task manager To give you some ideas:

If you have some spare time, sign up in bug-gift and help-gift, and tell us what you would like to do, what kind of hacking you prefer, and we find out what's best for you. There is enough for everyone.

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