Luke Davies-Cooke •October 25, 2022
Early Fall Updates (Encord Product Update September 2022)
The leaves have hit the pavement and the days are growing shorter here in London. We hope everyone is staying warm and healthy as the weather cools — and most importantly, that you’re eager for another round of updates from Encord. Read on to catch up with Encord on the web, and to learn about our new and coming QA workflows, powerful DICOM upgrades, and flexible annotation features.
Customize Your QA
Empower domain experts
Many industries and domains require years of training or experience to accurately recognize and classify examples — and an expert’s time can often be expensive or hard to schedule. In other cases, there may be additional requirements on your data quality assurance processes depending on the regulatory environment. To help customers speed up their data annotation processes in these complex environments, Encord has improved the power of their expert review workflows.
You can now configure how reviews are forwarded to experts after each review, as well as setup a final review, such that all rejections at the final review stage are forwarded to expert reviewers you designate. When an expert reviews an annotation instance, their judgement is final, reflecting their recognized authority in the domain. This means labels rejected by experts are not returned for annotation but instead permanently rejected from the label set. Read more about the power of expert review flows in our documentation, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have special quality assurance and data processing workflows you would like to consult with us about!
Coming Soon - Automatic QA
Controlling the manual review sampling rate helps us control how many annotations pass through the review stage before being accepted into downstream processing.
However, manually reviewing live production data can create several bottlenecks in labeling workflows including disagreements between reviewer and annotator, and a lack of reviewer time leading to ever longer backlogs of labels to review. Automating the QA step using pre-labeled data presented to annotators can provide a scalable alternative to manual review workflows. Encord is working on enabling automated benchmark quality assurance — so that project and team managers can monitor annotator performance against known quality standards without having to schedule and allocate manual reviews!
Contact us if you’d like to know how automatic QA can accelerate your labeling pipeline, or if you have a QA workflow you need implemented — we would love to hear how we can assist in your use case!
Flexibility in the label editor
Put some spin on that box
Segmentations allow arbitrary precision but can make it difficult to work with advanced automation techniques. Bounding boxes are quick to draw and enable the full suite of automations, but often lag in accuracy when the captured object is at an angle. How to get the best of both? Start with a bounding box — then twist it. Introducing rotating bounding boxes! Indicate your object should be rotatable in our ontology editor, then use the rotation handle to precisely position the box around your object of interest. Also compatible with the CVAT implementation of bounding boxes that rotate. Encord is currently rolling out support for rotatable boxes with interested customers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss how rotatable boxes could assist in your annotation endeavours.
In order to more properly support medical professional's working environment and expectations, we’re happy to announce the following new features in DICOM:
- Export measurements
- Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP)
- Cross-hair navigation
- Visualise annotations in all views
Catch a quick preview below and head to our documentation for details. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our best-in-class DICOM annotation tool!
If your labelling protocol requires you to measure many structures, our new measurement export feature will come in handy! All you have to do is draw a line using the polyline annotation type and click on the copy measurement icon. This will copy the length of the line measured in millimetres to the clipboard, which you can then easily paste outside the editor anywhere you need.
Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP)
MIP enables you to project the voxels with the highest attenuation value on every view throughout the volume onto a 2D image. This method is great to visualise contrast material-filled structures and bones. Another use case is the detection of lung nodules in lung cancer screening programs because it enhances the 3D nature of these nodules, making them easier to spot in between pulmonary bronchi and vessels.
Now you can navigate through all views of a volume simultaneously by clicking on any location within the views. This is a more natural way to inspect a volume. Cross-hair mode can be activated using the toggle in the Healthcare icon.
Visualise annotations in all views
With our new release, you will be able to see your annotations in all views, not just the one they’re drawn in. For example, you can annotate on the axial view and the annotations will show up in realtime on the corresponding sagittal and coronal view. Useful to ensure that you’ve captured your target structure to its full extent.
In order to ease the annotation process, our DICOM tool now supports auto-segmentation! To use it, open the Settings drawer and scroll down to the Drawing settings section, and turn the switch for Auto-segmentation ON. Then, draw a polygon around your target structure. With auto-segmentation on, there is no need to be completely precise. Finish drawing the polygon and the auto-segmentation feature ensures the polygon will "snap" down to a snug fit around the object of interest.
For the programmers - SDK
We’ve been moving forward adding powerful programmatic interfaces to our SDK as well. As always, the github changelog is the best place to find all the details. We’ve also pulled out a couple new updates for special focus, below.
It’s now possible, to fetch multiple label rows with one method call using the new get_label_rows method. As this may lead to an increase of label exports, we’ve made it easier to track export history. A label row’s export history is now included with the exported label JSON when you export from the Encord Web App. Each history entry tracks the who and when of the export, regardless of if it was from the web app or the SDK - confirm the details in our documentation.
We’ve also added support for uploading not only DICOM data, but DICOM annotations as well.
Dashboards - Reorganized
We’re happy to report customers are getting more and more usage out of Encord — and projects on the platform are growing as well. We’ve reorganized the project dashboards to speed up loading times, and make it easier to find what you’re looking for. The simplified Summary tab is now focused solely on clean indicators of task progress. The newly debuted ‘Explore’ dashboard is all about understanding the instance and label statistics of your project in greater detail. We’ve also added ‘Reviewed by’ and ‘Reserved by’ filters to the Label Tab’s Queue and Activity panes — making it easier to search and sort through tasks as projects grow bigger. Catch up on the details of our new dashboards in our documentation.
Add collaborators to your organization
You can now invite collaborators not only to projects, datasets and ontologies, but at the organizational level as well. From the organization control panel, click ‘Add user’, enter the e-mails of the collaborators to invite, select the type of organisation member (Internal, External, or Workforce) and then click ‘Add’! You must be an Administrator user in your organization to invite new users.
Zoom your way
Everyone has their own preferences for scroll and zoom direction. We’ve heard customers asking to be able to scroll up to zoom in and we’re happy to say you now set how zoom responds to mouse scrolling in our label editor settings. See the documentation if you need a reminder of how to modify your settings, otherwise simply set the toggle and zoom until your heart’s content.
As always, more than happy to hear comments, feedback and feature requests — keep them coming!
Luke is the head of marketing at Encord. He has extensive experience helping B2B software companies better communicate with their audiences and grow their revenue. He holds a degree in Law and French from the University of Reading. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lukedaviescooke/