VS: A surface-based system for topological analysis, quantization and visualization of voxel data

Itay Cohen, Dan Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


VS is a simple system consisting of several techniques for various volumetric problems. Based on the marching cubes algorithm, it operates with one space sweep through the voxels and extracts all topological information: detection of all isosurfaces, partitioning the data into connected components on the basis of surface connectivity, and association of surfaces with any internal surfaces to arbitrary levels of nesting. VS extends Baker's "Weaving Wall" method by associating topological cavities with their outer surface, and by using efficient data structures for the voxel traversal and for the connected component detection. Its runtime, on average, is only about 2% more than the speeded-up marching cubes algorithm. VS operates on the original voxels without using the contour tree required by other approaches. Using linear-time preprocessing, VS constructs a data structure which can be utilized for any isovalue or interval of isovalues. An accurate estimate of each component's volume is based on the volume enclosed by the outer surface, minus the volume of any internal cavities. VS enables noise reduction by eliminating components (and cavities) with a small volume. Different components can be rendered with different visual attributes, and cutaway views by arbitrary cut-planes are displayed as if the objects were solid, without adding any new surface patches to match the intersection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is based on the first author’s MSc thesis in Computer Science, carried out under the second author’s supervision at the University of Haifa. The research was supported by Grant No. 01-01-01509 from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology. The CThead data was taken on a General Electric CT Scanner and provided courtesy of North Carolina Memorial Hospital. The Boston teapot data is due to Terarecon Inc., MERL, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The authors are indebted to the anonymous reviewers whose valuable comments led us to a much improved presentation of our results in the context of previous work.


  • Connected components
  • Isosurface extraction
  • Marching cubes
  • Surface connectivity
  • Topological information
  • VS system
  • Virtually-solid display
  • Voxel-sweep
  • Weaving wall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Health Informatics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'VS: A surface-based system for topological analysis, quantization and visualization of voxel data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this