Skip to content

Importing Data Overview

Introduction

The first step for any new project in Flywheel is to import your imaging data, so you can organize your data, automate processing, and collaborate with other researchers. Flywheel offers three different methods for importing imaging data:

  • Flywheel Connector (also known as the Flywheel Reaper): Connects to an imaging machine to upload data directly to Flywheel. Learn more.
  • Flywheel Console: Drag and drop datasets under 200 MB directly to a Project. Learn more.
  • Flywheel command-line interface (CLI): Imports larger datasets through the Terminal or Command Prompt on your computer. Learn more.

All of these options get data in to Flywheel. However, the import method you can use depends on the type of data you have, the size of your dataset, and the resources available to you.

This article gives an overview of each of the options for importing data as well as steps for determining which method is best for your type of data.

Instruction Steps

Comparison overview

Below is a comparison of the import options. See the sections below for more information on the options.

Prefer videos?

We have a collection of videos showing you how to get the most out of Flywheel. See these for more information:

See all Flywheel webinars and videos.

|   | Flywheel Console | Connector | DICOM (CLI) | BIDS (CLI) | Folder (CLI) | Template (CLI) | | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | | Options for de-identifying data | X | X | X | X | X | X | | Reads file header to automatically place data in the correct Flywheel container and pull out metadata | X | | X | X | | X | | Handles over 200 MB of data |   | X | X | X | X | X | | Supports .dcm, .dcm.gz, .dicom, .dicom.gz, .ima, .ima.gz | X | X | X |   | X | X | | Bulk Ingest available for improved stability |   |   | X |   | X | X | | Requires a structured directory |   |   |   | X | X | X |

The Flywheel Connector

The Flywheel connector (formerly known as the Flywheel Reaper) moves data from an imaging device directly to Flywheel.

Connectors are unique to the site they are configured for. Contact your Flywheel Site Admin for more information about how to set up your session to automatically upload data from your imaging device to a project in Flywheel.

See the following article for more information on the connector:

If your data was uploaded by a connector review this article for tips on finding your data in Flywheel.

The Flywheel Console

The Flywheel Console is the web application where you can view your data. Use this option for a quick way to upload smaller datasets (about 200 MB per upload). There are a couple ways to upload data in the Flywheel console:

  • Upload DICOM: The DICOM uploader allows raw, uncompressed DICOM data to be added to projects. Flywheel reads the DICOM header information to fill out the appropriate metadata fields. Flywheel reads the header information to automatically group sessions and enter metadata in to Flywheel. See below for more details.

  • Add New Acquisition: Allows you to upload any filetype to Flywheel. This option does not evaluate data or read header information, so you must manually classify and add any metadata. See below for more details.

Upload DICOM

The DICOM uploader allows raw, uncompressed DICOM data to be added to projects. Flywheel reads the DICOM header information to fill out the appropriate metadata fields. To use the uploader:

For optimal performance, limit uploads to 10,000 DICOM files -or- 200 MB per upload.

  1. Sign in to Flywheel.
  2. In the left menu, click Upload DICOM.
    The Upload page appears.
  3. Choose to upload to an existing project, or create a new project.

    One must be a Site Admin to create new projects

  4. Select files to upload. The uploader does NOT support folders or zipped files. The uploader supports the following filetypes:

    • .dcm, .dcm.gz
    • .dicom, .dicom.gz
    • .ima, .ima.gz
  5. Review the upload information, and edit the session label, subject label, time, or acquisition label if you wish to use different labels inside Flywheel or if your data is missing a field.

    15eb5db3cafbc1.png

  6. Enable De-Identify Data if you wish to remove the PatientID, PatientName, and PatientBirthDate fields from the data in Flywheel. This also converts the PatientAge to months.

  7. Click Upload Data.

Add New Acquisition

Unsupported upload method for site, group, or project de-id profiles

Use one of these supported methods if you use site, group, or project de-id profiles.

If you have non-DICOM data you want to upload to Flywheel, such as you can create a new acquisition in Flywheel. To manually create a new acquisition:

  1. Sign in to Flywheel.
  2. Go to the Project where you would like to upload the data.
  3. Click the Sessions tab.
  4. You can create a new session or upload to an existing session.

    To create a new session and add an acquisition:

    1. Go to the Actions menu, and select Create New Session.
    2. Enter information about the session, and click Submit.
    3. Select the new session, and click the Acquisitions tab.
    4. Click Add New Acquisition.
    5. Enter a description.

      The uploader appears once the description is entered.

    6. Add files, and choose the filetype.

    7. Select Upload.

      15eb5db3cb5762.gif

    To add a new acquisition to an existing session:

    1. Select the session.
    2. Click the Acquisitions tab.
    3. Select the options menu Options-menu.png.
    4. Choose Create New Acquisition - Upload Data.
    5. Choose to upload to an existing acquisition or create a new acquisition.
    6. Enter a description.

      The uploader appears once the description is entered.

    7. Add files, and choose a filetype.

    8. Click Upload.

      15eb5db3cc5e9e.gif

CLI

The Flywheel CLI is the best way to import large amounts of historical data in to Flywheel. For example, if you have been using XNAT in the past to store data, but now you want all of your imaging data in Flywheel, use the CLI to bulk move the data. Each command for importing is designed for different filetypes or directory structures.

Evaluate the data you are importing. Which of these scenarios best describe your data? My data is:

DICOM and PAR/REC files

If you have folders that include DICOM files, you can use the corresponding commands. The fw ingest dicom command can be used on directories that include other file types. The Flywheel CLI searches for the .dcm file extension and adds just those files to Flywheel.

ingest DICOM command

Your Data Follows the BIDS Standard

The second ingest option relies on a standard directory structure to place data in the correct location in Flywheel. For example, the fw ingest bids command uses the industry standard directory structure for BIDS data.

To learn more about how to use these commands, see the following articles:

Your Directory Follows the Flywheel Hierarchy

The folder command should be used if you are importing data that you previously downloaded from Flywheel, or if you are importing data that was shared from another Flywheel site. The folder command relies on your folder directory to match the hierarchy within Flywheel. The folder command does not evaluate data before placing them, so it just places the data in a Flywheel location based on where the data appears in the directory.

Below is an example of the required directory structure for the folder command:

Flywheel Hierarchy Example directory for folder import
Alt text Alt text

See this article for directions on how to use the folder command:

Learn more about the supported methods for loading de-id profiles if you use site, group, or project de-id profiles.

Directories are a mix of file formats

If your directories are a mix of file formats and do not follow a standard structure described above, you can use the template to set rules for how to import data.

Learn more about the supported methods for loading de-id profiles if you use site, group, or project de-id profiles.

Invalid Characters

List of invalid characters that will result in blocked uploads via the CLI or DICOM uploader if they are included in a filename:

  • ~
  • :
  • *
  • ?
  • <
  • |
  • \
  • /
  • Tab
  • Line feed
  • Carriage Return
  • Vertical Tab
  • Form Feed