Advances in shape analysis impact a wide range of disciplines, from mathematics and engineering to medicine, archeology, and art. Anyone just entering the field, however, may find the few existing books on shape analysis too specific or advanced, and for researchers interested in the specific problem of shape recognition and characterization, traditional books on computer vision are too general. 'Shape Analysis and Classification - Theory and Practice' offers an integrated and conceptual introduction to this dynamic field and its myriad applications. Beginning with the basic mathematical concepts, it deals with shape analysis, from image capture to pattern classification, and presents many of the most advanced and powerful techniques used in practice. The authors explore the relevant aspects of both shape characterization and recognition, and give special attention to practical issues, such as guidelines for implementation, validation, and assessment. 'Shape Analysis and Classification' provides a rich resource for the computational characterization and classification of general shapes, from characters to biological entities. Both beginning and advanced researchers can directly use its state-of-the-art concepts and techniques to solve their own problems involving the characterization and classification of visual shapes.