NeTra: A toolbox for navigating large image databases


We present here an implementation of NeTra, a prototype image retrieval system that uses color, texture, shape and spatial location information in segmented image regions to search and retrieve similar regions from the database. A distinguishing aspect of this system is its incorporation of a robust automated image segmentation algorithm that allows object- or region-based search. Image segmentation significantly improves the quality of image retrieval when images contain multiple complex objects. Images are segmented into homogeneous regions at the time of ingest into the database, and image attributes that represent each of these regions are computed. In addition to image segmentation, other important components of the system include an efficient color representation, and indexing of color, texture, and shape features for fast search and retrieval. This representation allows the user to compose interesting queries such as “retrieve all images that contain regions that have the color of object A, texture of object B, shape of object C, and lie in the upper of the image”, where the individual objects could be regions belonging to different images. A Java-based web implementation of NeTra is available at

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ma, WY., Manjunath, B. NeTra: A toolbox for navigating large image databases. Multimedia Systems 7, 184–198 (1999).

Download citation

  • Key words:Color – Texture – Shape – Query by spatial location – Content-based image retrieval – Image databases – Image segmentation