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The Visible Human Project

Getting the Data

The Visible Human male and female datasets are available for download at As of July 2019, the NLM Data License has been replaced by Terms and Conditions. No registration is required to access data available from NLM's FTP servers. Users will not be required to renew a license agreement at the end of the year.

On the FTP site are folders containing the following:

  • Radiological: The original radiological images, in a lossless "Z" compression, in the GE format as received from the MRI and CT scanners, text files of the associated MRI and CT headers, and instructions on how to open these files.
  • Full Color: The original cryosectional images at 0.33mm XY resolution, in a lossless "Z" compression, in a .raw format, and instructions on how to open these files.
  • 70mm: The cryosectional images at 0.17 XY resolution derived from scanning the original 70mm film, in a lossless "Z" compression, in a .rgb format, and instructions on how to open these files.
  • PNG_format: The original radiological images and fullcolor images formatted in a lossless, directly readable .png format, and text files of the associated MRI and CT headers.

We recommend that you use the .png files.

The initial aim of the Visible Human Project® was to create a digital image dataset of complete human male and female cadavers in MRI, CT and anatomical modes.

The male dataset consists of axial MR images of the head and neck taken at 4 mm intervals and longitudinal sections of the remainder of the body also at 4 mm intervals. The resolution of the MR images is 256 pixels by 256 pixels. Each pixel has 12 bits of grey tone.

The CT data consists of axial CT scans of the entire body taken at 1 mm intervals at a resolution of 512 pixels by 512 pixels where each pixel is made up of 12 bits of grey tone. The axial anatomical images are 2048 pixels by 1216 pixels where each pixel is defined by 24 bits of color, each image consisting of about 7.5 megabytes of data. The anatomical cross-sections are also at 1 mm intervals and coincide with the CT axial images. There are 1871 cross-sections for each mode, CT and anatomy, obtained from the male cadaver.

The dataset from the female cadaver has the same characteristics as the male cadaver with one exception. The axial anatomical images were obtained at 0.33 mm intervals instead of 1.0 mm intervals. This results in over 5,000 anatomical images. The female dataset is about 40 gigabytes in size. Spacing in the "Z" direction was reduced to 0.33 mm in order to match the pixel spacing in the "XY" plane which is 0.33 mm. This enables developers who are interested in three-dimensional reconstructions to work with cubic voxels.

The latest addition to the male dataset is the inclusion of higher resolution anatomical images. 70mm film taken during the original data collection phase has been digitized at a resolution of 4096 pixels by 2700 pixels where each pixel is made up of 24 bits of color. As with the original anatomical images, there are a total of 1871 of these high resolution images.

Sample full scale images from the Male and Female Datasets include:


Last Reviewed: July 8, 2019