What are the advantages of a dedicated program like WinRHIZO compared to other programs that can analyse everything?
Many image analysis programs on the market were developed for morphology analyses of complex objects. These programs can analyse many types of objects and produce hundreds of measurements for each one. The main problem with them is that they require a high level of expertise and customization before producing the analyses that you want. This means that you must be familiar with the basics of image analysis. This complexity is easily recognizable in the structure of the commands and the manuals that come with these programs. They contain many commands that you will never use. They are designed for people who don’t do repetitive measurements or for those who have image analysis experts (with spare time) in house.
In contradiction to the above approach, WinRHIZO already knows what you want to digitize and measure (we refer to WinRHIZO as being integrated). Without modification to its configuration, it can do root analysis. You simply indicate which analyses you want to do. This makes your work more efficient (and hopefully more pleasant!).
What are the differences between WinRHIZO and the other dedicated root measurement programs commonly found in agro-forestry instrumentation companies?
Some products are simply an interface in front of a general image analysis library of functions that can do many things. These systems are in fact complex morphology image analysis programs marketed as "Do Everything" solutions. They share the same disadvantages as the non-dedicated systems described above.
Another approach consists of subcontracting the design to an external firm which either modifies an existing product, customizes a general image analysis system or builds one from scratch. Because the contractor has to pay for each modification, it is unlikely that these systems will be upgraded on a regular basis. On the other hand, WinRHIZO is updated regularly as can be seen by clicking here.
Can RHIZO be used for other applications?
is optimized for root analysis, it can be used to analyse other objects. For example all versions can be used as an area meter (i.e. leaf analysis), while the Pro and Arabidopsis versions can be used as a color quantifier that has many applications (i.e. disease quantification). By default it expects to analyse roots, so you’ll have to change some settings to use it for other applications. Refer to WinFOLIA
for more sophisticated leaf analysis and WinCAM NDVI
for generic objects morphology and color analyses.