Open Local Images

Today the new Orbit version 2.41 is released.

The main achievement of this major version is the ability to work with whole slide images images in standalone mode, even without using an image server. In addition, many speed improvements (faster rendering) and bug-fixes are included.

Orbit is designed to work with an image server, e.g. Omero.  However, you can also use Orbit to open images from your local file system. For this, you first have to switch Orbit to “local file mode” via Image-> Switch Local/Remote Image Provider.

Then you can open a local image via “Image” -> “Open From Local File System”.

(The button Open Image from Server changes to Open Image from File System after pressing the Switch Local/Remote Image Provider button.)

Or you simply drag&drop an image from your file system (e.g. explorer) into the Orbit application.

All major whole slide image formats like SVS, NDPI, SCN, … are supported by making use of the great Scifio/Bioformats library. More details about image formats can be found here.

Please be aware that for scaleout functionality (e.g. to use Spark) you still need an image server!


Technically Orbit writes meta data like annotations into a local Sqlite database file. By default this file is written in your user home directory / orbit.db. Another location of this file can be defined in the as described here.

You can run Tools -> DB Cleanup to get rid of orphan meta data of non-existing images. You can also give your orbit.db to someone else in order to e.g. share annotations. The link between the meta data and the images is filename+md5 hash of the file, so the path of the images can be altered at any time.