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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 6:32 pm

DICOM Viewers for GNU/Linux

DICOM in Octave

DICOM in viewer

IT HAS been a while since I last did a comprehensive survey of DICOM-related software and since I am ditching MATLAB (in the quest for Free software-only research) I decided to review or at least check out what’s available at the end of 2010. Other people may find this handy.

DICOM is notorious for being the standard that’s not quite the standard and is actually somewhat proprietary and controlled by one entity. As someone pointed out the other day, DICOM is considered “extensible”, which implies that the usual type of format ‘bastardisation’ will always occur. It’s just an inconsistent data format as someone warned, so some software would cough at it and sometimes manage to salvage some data. According to Wikipedia, some tagging of the image/s is accompanied by data fields like:

Value Representation Description
AE Application Entity
AS Age String
AT Attribute Tag
CS Code String
DA Date
DS Decimal String
DT Date/Time
FL Floating Point Single (4 bytes)
FD Floating Point Double (8 bytes)
IS Integer String
LO Long String
LT Long Text
OB Other Byte
OF Other Float
OW Other Word
PN Person Name
SH Short String
SL Signed Long
SQ Sequence of Items
SS Signed Short
ST Short Text
TM Time
UI Unique Identifier
UL Unsigned Long
UN Unknown
US Unsigned Short
UT Unlimited Text

Let us say that we are more interested in the raw image data and not so much in the metadata. If that’s the case, batch conversion to a more manageable format is worthwhile. Here is the command-line converter that I use (some are for Windows only and they are proprietary) and some other options can be found on the Web through directories. There are also good software resources on scientific data formats and there is radiology CEU information regarding PACS and DICOM viewers. There is actually far more choice out there than there was a few years ago. For GNU/Linux and Free software proponents there is no lack or deficiency, either.

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