Handwriting recognition in indian regional scripts: A survey of offline techniques

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Journal Article
ACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing, 2012, 11 (1)
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Offline handwriting recognition in Indian regional scripts is an interesting area of research as almost 460 million people in India use regional scripts. The nine major Indian regional scripts are Bangla (for Bengali and Assamese languages), Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Gurumukhi (for Punjabi language), Tamil, Telugu, and Nastaliq (for Urdu language). A state-of-the-art survey about the techniques available in the area of offline handwriting recognition (OHR) in Indian regional scripts will be of a great aid to the researchers in the subcontinent and hence a sincere attempt is made in this article to discuss the advancements reported in this regard during the last few decades. The survey is organized into different sections. A brief introduction is given initially about automatic recognition of handwriting and official regional scripts in India. The nine regional scripts are then categorized into four subgroups based on their similarity and evolution information. The first group contains Bangla, Oriya, Gujarati and Gurumukhi scripts. The second group contains Kannada and Telugu scripts and the third group contains Tamil and Malayalam scripts. The fourth group contains only Nastaliq script (Perso-Arabic script for Urdu), which is not an Indo-Aryan script. Various feature extraction and classification techniques associated with the offline handwriting recognition of the regional scripts are discussed in this survey. As it is important to identify the script before the recognition step, a section is dedicated to handwritten script identification techniques. A benchmarking database is very important for any pattern recognition related research. The details of the datasets available in different Indian regional scripts are also mentioned in the article. A separate section is dedicated to the observations made, future scope, and existing difficulties related to handwriting recognition in Indian regional scripts. We hope that this survey will serve as a compendium not only for researchers in India, but also for policymakers and practitioners in India. It will also help to accomplish a target of bringing the researchers working on different Indian scripts together. Looking at the recent developments in OHR of Indian regional scripts, this article will provide a better platform for future research activities. © 2012 ACM.
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