Bitplane makes the IMS file format Open Source

Bitplane makes the IMS file format Open Source

Proprietary file format open and available to the Microscopy community

Belfast, 13 August, 2015

Bitplane, an Oxford Instruments Company and world leader in 2 to 4D image visualization, analysis and interpretation, today announced that its proprietary IMS file format would become Open Source.

The IMS file format is based on Hierarchical Data Format (HDF5), which is designed to work with huge multidimensional data and is optimized to allow extremely fast visualization of huge volume data. To facilitate this, the format stores not only the original image data but also lower resolution versions of the original data. This allows the visualization software to load the resolutions which match those of the screen. Also, for the purpose of fast rendering, the Imaris File Format stores the image data in contiguous 3D chunks (or blocks), which enables the software to load only the data that is in the field of view. The multiresolution structure and the chunk-wise storage layout are the cornerstones of this high performance IMS file format for big datasets.

The IMS file format has been enabling Imaris users to work with huge data sets since 2006. Over the last nine years Bitplane has continuously improved IMS to ensure optimum performance and now in 2015 has moved to Open Source so that the image analysis and microscopy community can fully benefit from its capabilities. With the advantage of light sheet microscopy and large chip sCMOS/EMCCD cameras, microscopists frequently generate several hundreds of gigabytes of 3D data per experiment. By making IMS Open Source we aim to work with the microscopy community to solve one of the most challenging bottlenecks of the early 21st century.

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