Bitplane (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 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.
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