DicomAnnotator: a Configurable Open-Source Software Program for Efficient DICOM Image Annotation

J Digit Imaging. 2020 Dec;33(6):1514-1526. doi: 10.1007/s10278-020-00370-w.


Modern, supervised machine learning approaches to medical image classification, image segmentation, and object detection usually require many annotated images. As manual annotation is usually labor-intensive and time-consuming, a well-designed software program can aid and expedite the annotation process. Ideally, this program should be configurable for various annotation tasks, enable efficient placement of several types of annotations on an image or a region of an image, attribute annotations to individual annotators, and be able to display Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-formatted images. No current open-source software program fulfills these requirements. To fill this gap, we developed DicomAnnotator, a configurable open-source software program for DICOM image annotation. This program fulfills the above requirements and provides user-friendly features to aid the annotation process. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of DicomAnnotator. Using spine image annotation as a test case, our evaluation showed that annotators with various backgrounds can use DicomAnnotator to annotate DICOM images efficiently. DicomAnnotator is freely available at https://github.com/UW-CLEAR-Center/DICOM-Annotator under the GPLv3 license.

Keywords: DICOM; Image annotation; Machine learning; Open source; Software design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Curation*
  • Humans
  • Software*