View on GitHub

Out the Window

A Crowd-Sourced Dataset for Activity Classification in Security Video

The Out the Window (OTW) dataset is a crowdsourced activity dataset containing 5,668 instances of 17 activities from the NIST Activities in Extended Video (ActEV) challenge. These videos are crowdsourced from workers on the Amazon Mechanical Turk using a novel scenario acting strategy, which collects multiple instances of natural activities per scenario. Turkers are instructed to lean their mobile device against an upper story window overlooking an outdoor space, walk outside to perform a scenario involving people, vehicles and objects, and finally upload the video to us for annotation. Performance evaluation for activity classification on VIRAT Ground 2.0 shows that the OTW dataset provides an 8.3% improvement in mean classification accuracy, and a 12.5% improvement on the most challenging activities involving people with vehicles.


otw.tar.gz (48GB, MD5:9096bad6ff78056b505fafb4cded1734)


Dataset Description

This dataset features two parts - the Homes and Lots collections. The Homes collection was created by workers on the Amazon Mechanical Turk, while the LOTS dataset was collected on-site at STR.

Annotation Instructions for the collected video can be found here:

Note that this annotation document includes a total of 24 activities, but the dataset included here includes a total of 20 unique activities.

Dataset statistics

Activity Type: Quantity
carrying (large): 288
carrying (small): 364
closing door: 898
closing trunk: 278
conversation: 372
dismounting bike: 183
entering: 333
exiting: 325
loading vehicle: 320
mounting bike: 69
opening door: 907
opening trunk: 277
pushing cart: 88
riding bike: 146
talking on phone: 170
texting on phone: 328
unloading vehicle: 322

Activity Type: Quantity
carrying (small): 8
closing door: 3
entering: 1
opening door: 2
talking on phone: 3
texting on phone: 5
vehicle turning left: 137
vehicle turning right: 161
vehicle u-turn: 1

File structure


Videos containing activities of interest. Unlike some activity datasets, these videos contain multiple activities of interest; annotations of these activities are provided in the accompanying annotation csvs.


Annotation format

Annotation files are CSV format with schema:

[Video ID, Activity ID, Actor ID, Activity or Object Type, Frame Number, XMin, YMin, XMax, YMax, Labeled]

Example annotations for a single activity from ./homes/annotations.csv:

00000,0,00038,dismounting bike,252,82,1165,255,1586,True
00000,0,00038,dismounting bike,253,85,1165,250,1458,False
00000,0,00038,dismounting bike,254,85,1165,254,1455,False
00000,0,00038,dismounting bike,255,85,1165,255,1449,False

Frames are 0-indexed. Given an Activity Directory (homes or lots) and a Frame Number, the python snippet for the absolute path of an frame image filename is:

img_file_name = os.path.join(".", "homes", "%08d.jpg" % framenum)

OTW to DIVA annotation

d_otw_to_diva.json is a JSON dictionary that maps OTW label string to their equivalent DIVA label string. For example:

"carrying (large)":"transport_heavycarry",
"pushing cart":"pull"

Frame extraction

A python3.x script for extracting frames from either the homes or lots datasets.


pip3 install imageio imageio-ffmpeg
python3 homes 10 5
python3 lots

This export will take a while, and will extract frames to ./homes/frames. This will parallelize the extraction over 10 workers (optionally can be increased or decreased) with the PNG compression level of 5 (1=worst, 9=best).



Creative commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


If you use this dataset, we ask that you cite:

G. Castanon, N. Shnidman, T. Anderson and J. Byrne, Out the Window: A Crowd-Sourced Dataset for Activity Classification in Security Video, arXiv:1908.10899v2, 2019


Gregory Castanon «»
Jeffrey Byrne «»


Supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) via Department of Interior/ Interior Business Center (DOI/IBC) contract number D17PC00344. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright annotation thereon. Disclaimer: The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of IARPA, DOI/IBC, or the U.S. Government.