Lundin, M., Szymas, J., Linder, E. et al. Virchows Arch (2009) 454: 421. doi:10.1007/s00428-009-0749-3
Web-based virtual microscopy has enabled new applications within pathology. Here, we introduce and evaluate a network of academic servers, designed to maximize image accessibility to users from all regions of Europe. Whole-slide imaging was utilized to digitize the entire slide set (n = 154) for the slide seminars of the 21st European Congress of Pathology. The virtual slides were mirrored to five academic servers across Europe using a novel propagation method. Functionality was implemented that automatically selects the fastest server connection in order to optimize the slide-viewing speed (http://www.webmicroscope.net/ECP2007). Results show that during 6 months of monitoring the uptime of the network was 100%. The average viewing speed with the network was 3.1 Mbit/s, as compared to 1.9 Mbit/s using single servers. A good viewing speed (>2Mbit/s) was observed in 32 of 37 countries (86%), compared to 25 of 37 (68%) using single servers. Our study shows that implementing a virtual microscopy network spanning a large geographical area is technically feasible. By utilizing existing academic networks and cost-minimizing image compression, it is also economically feasible.
Connection speed (average of top half, Mbit/s) by country. For each country the connection speed to the network as well as to each single server is shown. The effect of a server within a country is clearly seen as peaks in 4 countries (Finland, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden). The server in Spain had a 100 Mbit/s connection, with decreased top speeds, but nonetheless providing excellent connections speeds to web users (GIF 1.00 MB)