Standards and Guidelines for Digital Brain Atlasing
The key aim of this project is to coordinate and improve the impact of atlasing projects, with a focus on rodent brain. As a step towards fostering global interoperability, accessibility and sharing of databases, the action started with a comprehensive analysis of the current and desired status of digital atlasing, which led to the vision and direction necessary to make the rapidly growing collection of multidimensional data such as images and gene expression widely accessible and usable to the international research community (1st Task Force Report). Central to this endeavor is a new standardization in atlas mapping, proposed as Waxholm Space (named after the site of a key meeting in 2008). Waxholm Space is a coordinate-based reference space for the mapping and registration of neuroanatomical data.
INCF has assembled a task force, consisting of leading experts who have been involved in major atlasing projects worldwide, to bring data into the Waxholm Space and to establish procedures for registration and validation. To date, Waxholm Space has been clearly defined and its construction has begun by setting a standardized acquisition procedure for passing data into the Space, using a high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dataset and companion Nissl-stained reconstructions. The next steps include the registration of key reference atlases into this Space, and development of a set of “best practices” for experimenters to ensure Waxholm Space compatibility.
The longer term goal of this program is to establish a broader INCF Digital Atlasing Infrastructure to facilitate interoperability between atlases and data sharing. This infrastructure is envisioned as a collection of distributed services that support publication, discovery and invocation of heterogeneous atlas resources.