MALDI MS Imaging began in 1994, when first images of peptides were acquired from standard preparations and images were created by dedicated software with sub-micrometer resolution on the LAMMA2000 instrument (ref). Soon after, people began to acquire mass spectra point-by-point using commercial instruments and assembling the data by hand into an excel table. Since then, we worked on tools to automate this process by writing software to control commercial instruments. Five versions have been written and applied in biomedical research since. During this process, we were often contacted by outside parties for access to this software tools. In the past, we did not have a mechanism to efficiently distribute and support the software and therefore only a small group of collaborators had access to our tools.
In the year 2000, Novartis switched to a data format which is compatible with BioMap, an extremely powerful software for processing and visualization of image data from multiple techniques (optical, MRI, CT, PEt, NIRF, MSI). This software originally written for Unix by Martin Rausch was ported to Windows in 2004 and to MAC OS in 2005.
In an effort to make this software public and to stimulate the field of MSI, this site was created in 2003.
One of the most noticeable achievements of the COMPUTIS consortium (http://www.computis.org) was the definition of a new data format for ms imaging, termed i-mzML. By 2009, the format was published on this site by members of the Justus Liebig University Giessen.
Starting of 2012, this site also hosts information from the COST action on MS Imaging, initiated by Liam McDonnell and Garry Corthals.
After we stayed with the ‘Alps design’ for nearly a year, we changed the design of this website in September 2007 to give it a fresh look. You might wonder why we choose the combination of bright green with blue as the color scheme. This selection was not done based on a scientific evaluation of the task, but rather on personal taste. We browsed through hundreds of different themes, testing some for a couple of days or for just a few hours till we settled with the current one. Once the site was definitively switched to the new design, we began a discussion on what might have influenced our decision. When driving to work one morning, it occurred to me that Swiss street signs use these two exact colors and they can often be seen combined. Green stands for the ‘Autobahn’ and blue marks a ‘Landstrasse’, a major road. I like the thought that this color combination was chose unconsciously, because we believe that MS Imaging is a technology which will lead the way into new knowledge, and that it can take us there very efficiently.
MS imaging software was in the beginning developed in academia and industry for internal use only. We like to thank Applied Biosystems, Novartis and Vanderbilt University who decided to make the software available to other parties. The following people made this site happen with their personal contribution : Rene Amstutz, Richard Caprioli, Jere Compton, Dale Patterson, Martin Rausch, Andreas Roempp, Tatiana Rohner, Markus Rudin, Thorsten Schramm, Darryl Spencer, Bernhard Spengler, Dieter Staab and George Vella.