Quantitative evaluation of three cortical surface flattening methods

Lili Ju, Monica K. Hurdal, Josh Stern, Kelly Rehm, Kirt Schaper, David Rottenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


During the past decade, several computational approaches have been proposed for the task of mapping highly convoluted surfaces of the human brain to simpler geometric objects such as a sphere or a topological disc. We report the results of a quantitative comparison of FreeSurfer, CirclePack, and LSCM with respect to measurements of geometric distortion and computational speed. Our results indicate that FreeSurfer performs best with respect to a global measurement of metric distortion, whereas LSCM performs best with respect to angular distortion and best in all but one case with a local measurement of metric distortion. FreeSurfer provides more homogeneous distribution of metric distortion across the whole cortex than CirclePack and LSCM. LSCM is the most computationally efficient algorithm for generating spherical maps, while CirclePack is extremely fast for generating planar maps from patches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-880
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported in part by NIH grant MH57180 and NSF grant DMS101339. Special thanks go to Dr. Bruce Fischl of Harvard University for assistance with FreeSurfer. The authors would also like to acknowledge Bill Wood from the Department of Mathematics at Florida State University for assistance with processing some of the data. The authors wish to thank the referees for their very helpful comments and suggestions.


  • Angular distortion
  • Cortical surface flattening
  • Metric distortion


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