New Use Case: Intelligent Image Analysis

ChatGPT Plus with Vision (GPT-4V) is going to be able to do some cool stuff.

New Use Case: Intelligent Image Analysis.

I attached an image of a headstone commemorating my maternal second great-grandparents, David S. Lawrence and Marget M. Lawrence. I thought about what I’d like to know about the image, and I wrote this prompt.

PROMPT: You are an expert genealogist, talented writer, and imaging expert. Your goal is to extract information from images. Find attached an image of headstone. Analyze the image. Transcribe any text on the headstone. Describe any notable features in on the headstone. Describe the whole image. Create a narrative report from the text on the headstone; dry recitation, no editorializing. 

This was a first-attempt, so I didn’t know what to expect.

I was impressed. This is going to be useful. (Imagine writing a simple Python script to process a folder of 20 or 200 or 2000 images like this for you.)

ChatGPT responded:

Transcription of the Headstone:
FEB. 8, 1845   FEB. 6, 1844
DEC. 26, 1916  AUG.15, 1896

Description of Notable Features:
The headstone appears to be made of a weathered gray stone, possibly granite.

The surname "LAWRENCE" is prominently inscribed at the top of the headstone.

To the left side, details of "DAVID S." are inscribed, and to the right are the details of "MARGET M."

Each individual's birth and death dates are inscribed below their names.

There are floral motifs carved on both the left and right top corners of the headstone, which appear to be blossoming flowers with leaves. These motifs are symmetrical to each other.

The headstone is set on a slightly raised rectangular stone base.
The surrounding area appears to be grassy and suggests the headstone is located in a cemetery.

Narrative Report:
David S. Lawrence was born on February 8, 1845, and passed away on December 26, 1916. Beside him, Marget M. Lawrence was born on February 6, 1844, and departed this life on August 15, 1896. Both are commemorated on a headstone bearing the surname "LAWRENCE," adorned with floral motifs, resting in a grassy location.

Earlier, I had looked at how ChatGPT with Vision handled a fan chart (imperfectly), a pedigree chart (impressively), and a death certificate (also impressively).

Beyond the genealogy community, this use will be very helpful. Having friends in the blind and low vision community, I was aware of the Be My Eyes app for years.

It was a good day at East Coast Genetic Genealogy Conference 2023.

UPDATE: Second success the next day

After leaving East Coast Genetic Genealogy Conference but before leaving Baltimore, my wife and I enjoyed the afternoon attending Poe Fest International, a part of which included a cool walk through cemetery where Poe is buried; I snapped a shot of Poe’s first burial location and the headstone now there, and I processed it with GPT-4V as I did with the Lawrence headstone yesterday.

Nailed it again.

Same prompt. More challenging image, with areas of dark and light, curved text, and more of it. I see no errors in the transcription. And it got the curved text correct, too, though I’m not sure the famous name and popular quotation might not have provided context that would have been useful during the image analysis.

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