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<p><b>Abstract</b>—We introduce the virtual image, an iconic index suited for pictorial information access in a pictorial database, and a similarity retrieval approach based on virtual images to perform content-based retrieval. A virtual image represents the spatial information contained in a real image in explicit form by means of a set of spatial relations. This is useful to efficiently compute the similarity between a query and an image in the database. We also show that virtual images support real-world applications that require translation, reflection, and/or rotation invariance of image representation.</p>

G. Tortora, M. Sebillo, M. Tucci and G. Petraglia, "Virtual Images for Similarity Retrieval in Image Databases," in IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering, vol. 13, no. , pp. 951-967, 2001.
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