In a move rarely seen in an industry plagued by proprietary technologies, Aperio has released its latest digital pathology imaging file format to the open source software community. To debut this technology, they have taken the world’s first terapixel image of 225 pathology slides from a sample of breast tissue, making it the largest image of a breast available on the internet today!
Aperio Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of digital pathology systems and services for the healthcare and life sciences industry, is pleased to announce it has implemented support for BigTIFF – Tagged Image File Format for files which are larger than 4 gigabytes – across all its products and systems. This enhancement to the TIFF standard enables image files larger than 4GB to be created and processed, in a backward-compatible fashion. As part of its commitment to open standards, Aperio has donated these enhancements to the public domain, and is working with the TIFF standards body to incorporate them into a future standard release.
This enhancement makes it possible to create very large high resolution digitized images of bone marrow and peripheral blood smears as part of my work with Aperio’s new high power oil immersion ScanScopes,” stated Douglas Tkachuk, MD and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.
Aperio’s ScanScope® slide scanning systems create digital images of entire microscope slides at gigapixel resolution in minutes. These digital slide images are very large, with dimensions that routinely exceed 100,000 x 100,000 pixels. The TIFF standard is perfect for storing digital slides – it is an open standard supported by a large number of applications on a wide variety of platforms. Until recently TIFF files were limited in size to 4GB, or about 30 gigapixels. With BigTIFF support it is now possible to store images of all sizes, including those larger than 4GB, in the TIFF format. The BigTIFF design was first proposed in 2004 by Joris Van Damme of Aware Systems, and has been refined in online discussions on the TIFF message boards.
“Aperio believes strongly in open standards and anticipates that with this enhancement, TIFF will continue to be the standard for storing and managing very large images such as digital slides,” stated Ole Eichhorn, chief technology officer for Aperio.