More on bigTIFF – The BigTIFF File Format Proposal

| July 2, 2007

Thank you to everyone who has e-mailed me or called with their commendations and criticisms of the blog.  The blog will post 3 days a week.  This will allow me to keep a cache of current ideas and innovative topics while also allowing me to build useful links and prevent redundancy with other weblogs that address similar topics.  Although a "great" blog should be controversial on some level, my goals for the blog remain that of information dissemination as digital imaging plays a larger role in our practice.

I look forward to the continued dialogue.  There were several questions on the bigTIFF format. 

More information is available here following last weeks posting.  A brief synopsis from AWare Systems is below:

What is BigTIFF?

The TIFF file format uses 32bit offsets and, as such, is limited to 4 gigabytes. This has been quite sufficient for many years. Today however, there is a need for a good multi-purpose open image file format that can handle huge images, or very large collections of images, breaking the 4 gig boundary.

There is currently an ongoing attempt to design a new variant of TIFF, called BigTIFF, that closely resembles TIFF, but uses 64bit offsets instead. The benefits of closely resembling TIFF are huge. For instance, existing TIFF libraries can quite easily extend their support for TIFF to also include this new variant. Documentation needs are minimal. All the much appreciated properties of a file format that has been around and has been extended for more then a decade are inherited. All properly known tags are being reused, all supported bitdepths and datatypes remain valid. The arbitrary number of ‘extra channels’, the tiling and striping schemes, the multitude of compression schemes, and the private tag scheme, that made TIFF very useful in pre-press as well as for storing scientific data, and many other applications, all remain intact. Yet, the offset bitdepth changes, and BigTIFF files are no longer restrained by the 4 gigabyte limitation from which classic TIFF suffers.


Category: Digital Pathology News, File format

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