1) Provide an overview of the open-source Insight Toolkit (ITK) and Visualization Tool (VTK). 2) Summarize the rigorous software practices which assure the functionality and stability of these toolkits. 3) Explore segmentation and registration algorithms in ITK for medical research and applications. 4) Explore visualization methods in VTK for medical research and applications. 5) Introduce web-based databases, that can also be integrated into desktop applications and workflows, for managing and distributing collections of data and associated publications. 6) Summarize licensing considerations in open-source software development and use.
The field of medical image research and application is undergoing an explosion of scientific advancement, due in part to the spread of open source software. Herein we review two leading open-source, freely available software libraries for medical image analysis and visualization. The first is the Insight Toolkit (www.itk.org) which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, particularly the National Library of Medicine, to provide state-of-the-art medical image segmentation and registration algorithms. The second is the Visualization Toolkit (www.vtk.org) which provides leading medical image visualization techniques. We will also present the software policy and practices which assure the consistent quality of those toolkits. Furthermore, we review an open-source package for hosting multi-media (images, videos, presentations, and documents) associated with conducting, documenting, and distributing experiments and their data.