The True Data Accuracy - How To Separate Good Data From Bad Data
The ability to extract text from images makes office life much easier. If you have a reliable and accurate data extraction app you will never waste time retyping and formatting the scanned documents manually.
But, how do you know if the extracted data is accurate?
That's a good question, as in some cases you may waste even more time if you have to check the document after the app got the data, than it would take you to extract the data manually. That's why it is of vital importance that you can actually trust the app you choose as your data capture tool.
This post will tell you more about accuracy guarantees as ways to make sure the scanned data is accurate. We will also explain how OCR Gateway ensures you can trust that the data extracted is the same as the data scanned. Keep reading!
How Accurate Is OCR? - Page-Level Accuracy Vs. Field-Level Accuracy
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is the most commonly used technology to extract data from images, and it does its job with great success. It is fast, affordable, and accurate. But that doesn't mean it is perfect.
Data extraction app developers know how important it is for users to trust them, which is why they use accuracy guarantees to explain how exact the extracted data is.
Page-level accuracy describes how accurate the extracted data is, taking the full page as a measurement. So, when you see that an app claims "98% page-level accuracy," that means you can expect that app to recognize 980/1000 characters from a scanned document accurately.
When you think about 980/1000 characters accurately extracted from a full page, that doesn't sound bad at all. However, if you are an accountant or a financial planner, your work involves numbers; knowing that your app got 980/1000 characters right on a whole page is meaningless. Numbers don't have the same easy-to-understand context words do. It is not as easy to correct the mistakes from a poorly extracted invoice, as it would be if you scanned a memo.
Plus, page-level accuracy is only valuable if the scanned document is flawless and if scanning was done in a high-end scanner in perfect conditions and ideal settings. As you know, that is rarely the case.
This is where field-level accuracy comes into play. Advanced OCR software will give an accuracy score for each processed field. That serves as an automatic estimate and an exclamation point - when you see a low confidence score, you will know that you need to address that field manually.
Therefore, a field-level accuracy estimate will help bridge the gap between having to do everything manually and trusting the app to take care of even the most important task alone.
What OCR Gateway Does To Increase Data Accuracy
OCR Gateway prides itself on being an extremely accurate image-to-text converter you can use online. Here's how we make sure you get the data that is as accurate as possible:
1. Deskew and analyze - setting the image in the right place and analyzing its layout and format is the #1 step that will ensure accurate extraction.
2. Noise reduction - not every scan is a perfect one, which is why our tool reduces noise from the document before extracting data.
3. Precise table extraction - tables usually have the most sensitive data (a.k.a. numbers) that needs to be extracted with ultimate accuracy, which is why we optimized our software to deal with tables with great care.
4. Pre-select pattern verification settings - you can manually set custom date formats (for example, DD/MM/YYYY), which will help the app extract the data correctly. Also, with custom expression options, OCR Gateway ensures you get excellent field-level accuracy by giving the app more conditions and rules before extraction.
Bottom Line: Don't Blindly Trust The Claims
When you find a data extraction tool that claims 99% page-level accuracy, that sounds like it solves all of your office problems. But, in reality, that number alone is meaningless, so don't be fooled by that empty claim. Do your own research, and find out what the number actually means, and test the tool yourself.
If you want an accurate image to text converter online, try OCR Gateway. We stand behind our words, which is why we are offering a free live demo to anyone interested. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, and check out other articles on our blog, if you are interested in learning more about character recognition technologies.