Anatomy Browser


Current anatomic data sets
Anatomy atlas project
Anatomy browsers
Getting source code

The Java-based Anatomy Browser. Click to see a larger view.


The SPL's Anatomy Browser project brings a rich, highly detailed, hierarchical view of human anatomy to ordinary computers or workstations. Please view some of our growing collection of anatomic data sets. To view the examples below, all you need is the Java software environment (version 1.1.3 or later) running on your computer. By using Java applets through your web browser, there's no software installation needed. (Please note that some of the examples are quite large, and may take several minutes to download their data over slow network connections.)

See also our Image Gallery

Current anatomic data sets

Atlas Cases

Clinical Cases


The anatomy atlas project

The SPL, together with Division of Neurosciences at Harvard Medical School, has been engaged in making a detailed morphological brain atlas since 1990. In collaboration with several other groups, this work is now being extended to other parts of human anatomy. Projects exist for the chest and abdomen, spine, pelvis, the inner ear, and the knee. As improvements in imaging technology continue, we are just beginning to incorporate other type of information into the morphological "landscape".

The overall goals of our atlas project:

  • to develop it as a tool for education,
  • use it for pre-surgical planning and reference,
  • apply the anatomy as a template for segmentation using matching algorithms.

Anatomy Browsers

In order to make the information available for teaching purposes, we have developed Java based viewers. Two viewers are available:

  • The Anatomy Browser was developed by Chris Umans, Michael Halle, Polina Golland, and Ron Kikinis and allows to view 3D renderings and cross-sectional slices and to interact with them. The Anatomy Browser has minimal requirements for the viewing hardware; it uses image-based rendering techniques for efficiency. It is available for viewing on this page.
  • SPLViz is a viewer based on java 3D technology. It is available for downloading. It requires significant graphics hardware support.


Golland P, Kikinis R, Umans C, Halle M, Shenton M, Richolt J. Anatomy browser: A framework for integration of medical information. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv Int Conf Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 1998;1:720-731.

Anderson J, Umans C, Halle M, Golland P, Jakab M, McCarley R, Jolesz F, Shenton M, Kikinis R. Anatomy Browser: Java-based Interactive Teaching Tool for Learning Human Neuroanatomy. Radiological Society of North America - Electronic Journal 1998;2.

Umans C, Halle M, Kikinis R. Multilayer Images for Interactive 3D Visualization on the World Wide Web. SPL Technical Report, September 1997.

Kikinis R, Shenton M, Iosifescu D, McCarley R, Saiviroonporn P, Hokama H, Robatino A, Metcalf D, Wible C, Portas C, Donnino R, Jolesz F. A digital brain atlas for surgical planning, model-drivensegmentation, and teaching. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 1996; 2(3):232-241.

Shenton M, Kikinis R, McCarley R, Saiviroonpom P, Hokama H, Robatino A, Metcalf D, Wible C, Portas C, Iosifescu D, Domino R, Goldstein J, Jolesz F. Harvard brain atlas: A teaching and visualization tool. Proceedings of the 1995 Biomedical Visualization 1995; pp 10-17.

Warfield S, Kaus M, Jolesz F, Kikinis R. Adaptive Template Moderated Spatially Varying Statistical Classification. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv Int Conf Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 1998;1:231-238.

Warfield S, Jolesz F, Kikinis R. Real-Time Image Segmentation for Image-Guided Surgery. IEEE/ACM Conference on Supercomputing, SC98, pp. 42, 1998.

Getting source code

If you're interested in the technology behind the Anatomy Browser, source code for the application is freely available and provided as open source software for non-commercial purposes.

To obtain a copy, you need to read and agree with the Terms for use of the 3D Anatomical Atlas, which explains that this software is made available for scientific research purposes only, and then complete the following form. If you indicate you agree with the "Terms for use of the 3D Anatomical Atlas", we will send you an email explaining how to access the viewer programs and the data sets.


Page last updated June 24, 2003. Pictures are from Anderson,, cited above.

Surgical Planning Laboratory, Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital