A European network for virtual microscopy—design, implementation and evaluation of performance
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.
KeywordsVirtual microscopy Whole-slide imaging Network Internet Pathology
This study has been supported by grants from Biomedicum Foundation, Finska Läkaresällskapet, Instrumentariumin Tiedesäätiö, Medicinska Understödsföreningen Liv och Hälsa, Svenska Kulturfonden, and COST Action IC0604 Euro-Telepath.
Conflict of interest statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest
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