A Metric for Performance Evaluation of Multi-Target Tracking Algorithms

Branko Ristic, Ba-Ngu Vo, Daniel Clark, Ba-Tuong Vo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Citations (Scopus)


Performance evaluation of multi-target tracking algorithms is of great practical importance in the design, parameter optimization and comparison of tracking systems. The goal of performance evaluation is to measure the distance between two sets of tracks: the ground truth tracks and the set of estimated tracks. This paper proposes a mathematically rigorous metric for this purpose. The basis of the proposed distance measure is the recently formulated consistent metric for performance evaluation of multi-target filters, referred to as the OSPA metric. Multi-target filters sequentially estimate the number of targets and their position in the state space. The OSPA metric is therefore defined on the space of finite sets of vectors. The distinction between filtering and tracking is that tracking algorithms output tracks and a track represents a labeled temporal sequence of state estimates, associated with the same target. The metric proposed in this paper is therefore defined on the space of finite sets of tracks and incorporates the labeling error. Numerical examples demonstrate that the proposed metric behaves in a manner consistent with our expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3452-3457
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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