Parsing a table from an image

January 25, 2021

Topic

Coding  /  , , , , ,

Thomas Mock explains how to extract and parse data tables in image files via ImageMagick and R:

There are many times where someone shares data as an image, whether intentionally due to software constraints (ie Twitter) or as a result of not understanding the implications (image inside a PDF or in a Word Doc). xkcd.com jokingly refers to this as .norm or as the Normal File Format. While it’s far from ideal or a real file format, it’s all too common to see data as images in the “wild”. I’ll be using some examples from Twitter images and extracting the raw data from these. There are multiple levels of difficulty, namely that screenshots on Twitter are not uniform, often of relatively low quality (ie DPI), and contain additional “decoration” like colors or grid-lines. We’ll do our best to make it work!

You can never have too many tools to grab data from various, inconvenient file formats.