A microcomputer-aided system for the graphic reproduction of neurohistochemical maps

Frank G Williams, Robert Elde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this report we describe the computer hardware and software used in the production of microscopic maps from histochemical data. The maps may consist of lines, shaded areas and symbols, each drawn in any of four styles and in any of four colors. The system employs a microscope stage digitizer and plotter to produce an initial map containing precise positional information. A desktop computer equipped with a four-color digital plotter and a digitizing tablet is used to produce the final map. The positional information of the initial map is traced on the computer's digitizer to produce the final map. The software enabling this transformation is specialized for three basic types of structures. Cytoarchitectural landmarks and macroscopic morphology are represented by lines. Areas of a microscopic field which have some degree of visibly definable characteristics such as axonal staining are represented by areas shaded with dots. Microscopic structures of individual interest are represented by various symbols. Other program options allow the computation and printing of figure areas and perimeters while digitizing shaded areas, storage of all map information on a mass-storage medium, the drawing of alignment registration marks, and flexible access to and prompting for all program options. While the role of the anatomist in recognition and descrimination of meaningful histochemical information is unchanged, production of microscopic maps using this system consumes far less time than hand methods and results in uniform, accurate illustrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1982


  • Computer software
  • Digitizing tablet
  • Microscopic mapping
  • Neurohistochemistry


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