This is the application manual of BIIGLE. Here you can find articles on how to use the application as well as reference publications and the developer documentation.

Account settings

Learn how you can manage your user account.


View and manage BIIGLE notifications in the notification center.


Learn what projects are and how to manage them.

Label Trees

About Label Trees

Learn what label trees are and how you can manage them.

Manage Labels

Learn how to create, modify or delete labels of a label tree.

Label Tree Versions

Everything you need to know about versioned label trees.

Merge Label Trees

View and resolve differences between label trees.

Annotation Catalog

The annotation catalog shows you all annotations with a certain label.

Download and import

Learn more on how you can download a label tree and use it elsewhere.


Volume overview

The volume overview allows you to explore all files that belong to a volume.

Remote volumes

With remote volumes you can use images from your own data source in BIIGLE.

Annotation sessions

Annotation sessions can be used to conduct scientific studies.

File metadata

Upload metadata to add information that can't be extracted from the files.

File Labels

File labels are labels that are attached to whole images or videos.

Image Annotations

Getting Started

A quick introduction to the image annotation tool.

Creating Image Annotations

Learn about all the tools that are available to create new image annotations.

Editing Image Annotations

Learn about all the tools to modify or delete existing image annotations.

Navigating Images

Learn about advanced ways to navigate the images in the image annotation tool.


All sidebar tabs of the image annotation tool explained.


A list of all available shortcut keys in the image annotation tool.

URL Parameters

Advanced configuration of the image annotation tool.

Video Annotations

Getting Started

An introduction to the video annotation tool.

Creating Video Annotations

Learn how to create different kinds of video annotations.

Navigating the Timeline

Learn about the video timeline and how to navigate it.

Editing Video Annotations

Learn about all the tools to modify or delete existing video annotations.


All sidebar tabs of the video annotation tool explained.


A list of all available shortcut keys in the video annotation tool.

URL Parameters

Advanced configuration of the video annotation tool.


The Label Review Grid Overview and what you can do with it.


Reports schema

A description of the file formats of the different available reports.

Image location reports

A detailed description of image location reports with a short introduction to QGIS.

Annotation location reports

A detailed description of the annotation position estimation of the annotation location report.

Image volume map

The image volume map shows the locations of images on a world map.

Laser point detection

The automatic laser point detection is used to determine the visual footprint of images.

Annotation assistance requests

Learn how to ask any person for advice on the label of an image annotation.


About MAIA

An introduction to the Machine Learning Assisted Image Annotation method (MAIA).

Novelty detection

Using novelty detection to obtain training data.

Existing annotations

Using existing annotations to obtain training data.

Knowledge transfer

Using knowledge transfer to obtain training data.

Training proposals

Reviewing the training proposals from novelty detection.

Object detection

The automatic object detection.

Annotation candidates

Reviewing the annotation candidates from object detection.

User storage

Learn how you can upload and manage files to be used in volumes.


Reference publications that you should cite if you use BIIGLE for one of your studies.

Langenkämper, D., Zurowietz, M., Schoening, T., & Nattkemper, T. W. (2017). Biigle 2.0-browsing and annotating large marine image collections.
Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, 83. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00083

Observations From Four Years of BIIGLE 2.0
Zurowietz, M., & Nattkemper, T. W. (2021). Current Trends and Future Directions of Large Scale Image and Video Annotation: Observations From Four Years of BIIGLE 2.0.
Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 760036. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.760036

Video Object Tracking
Lukezic, A., Vojir, T., ˇCehovin Zajc, L., Matas, J., & Kristan, M. (2017). Discriminative correlation filter with channel and spatial reliability. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (pp. 6309-6318). doi: 10.1109/CVPR.2017.515

Laser Point Detection
Schoening, T., Kuhn, T., Bergmann, M., & Nattkemper, T. W. (2015). DELPHI—fast and adaptive computational laser point detection and visual footprint quantification for arbitrary underwater image collections.
Frontiers in Marine Science, 2, 20. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2015.00020

Zurowietz, M., Langenkämper, D., Hosking, B., Ruhl, H. A., & Nattkemper, T. W. (2018). MAIA—A machine learning assisted image annotation method for environmental monitoring and exploration.
PloS one, 13(11), e0207498. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207498

M. Zurowietz and T. W. Nattkemper, "Unsupervised Knowledge Transfer for Object Detection in Marine Environmental Monitoring and Exploration,"
in IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 143558-143568, 2020, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3014441.

Developer Documentation

The source code of BIIGLE can be found at GitHub.


You may access most of the functionality of this application using the RESTful API. Most of the API requires user authentication via session cookie (being logged in to the website) but it is also available for external requests using a personal API token. You can manage your API tokens in the user settings.

API access is rate-limited to 10,800 requests per hour (3,600 for unauthenticated users). You may access the rate limit and the current number of remaining requests through the X-RateLimit-Limit and X-RateLimit-Remaining HTTP headers.

The API works with form (x-www-form-urlencoded) as well as JSON requests. For form requests, you can use method spoofing to use different HTTP methods. For the complete documentation, check out the link below.

RESTful API documentation


The server application is written in PHP using the Laravel framework. Have a look at their excellent documentation for further information. For the class reference and API documentation, check out the link below.

Laravel allows a modular application design using custom packages (or modules). In fact, the core of this application doesn't provide much more than user and database management as well as the RESTful API. Any additional functionality is added by a new module.

We encourage you to add functionality by developing your own modules! There are some resources on package development in the Laravel documentation but we have some tutorials here as well.

Server API documentation


The database schema documentation can be found in the BIIGLE GitHub organization.

Database schema documentation

Developer Tutorials

The tutorials for module development can be found in the admin documentation.

Admin documentation