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Screenshot of BrainMaps Atlas Viewer of labeled monkey brain

BrainMaps is an NIH-funded interactive zoomable high-resolution digital brain atlas and virtual microscope that is based on more than 20 million megapixels (50 terabytes) of scanned images of serial sections of both primate and non-primate brains and that is integrated with a high-speed database for querying and retrieving data about brain structure and function over the internet.

Datasets as a function of species at BrainMaps

Currently featured are complete brain atlas datasets for Macaca mulatta, Chlorocebus aethiops, Felis silvestris catus, Mus musculus, Rattus norvegicus, and Tyto alba.

BrainMaps uses multiresolution image formats for representing massive brain images, and a dHTML/Javascript front-end user interface for image navigation, both similar to the way that Google Maps works for geospatial data.

Massive brain images are formatted as multiresolution image pyramids, enabling rapid navigation by loading small image tiles instead of the entire image

BrainMaps is one of the most massive online neuroscience databases and image repositories and features the highest-resolution whole brain atlas ever constructed.[1]

Extensions to interactive 3-dimensional visualization have been developed through OpenGL-based desktop applications. [2] Freely available image analysis tools enable end-users to datamine online images at the sub-neuronal level. BrainMaps has been used in both research [3] and didactic settings.

The project is lead by Ted Jones and Shawn Mikula at the University of California, Davis .


  1. Mikula, S (2007). "Internet-enabled high-resolution brain mapping and virtual microscopy". NeuroImage. PMID 17229579. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  2. Trotts, I (2007). "Interactive visualization of multiresolution image stacks in 3D". NeuroImage. PMID 17336095. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  3. Mikula, S (2007). "Review. The thalamus of the monotremes: cyto- and myeloarchitecture and chemical neuroanatomy". Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. PMID 17553780. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)

External links