About two months ago Wikimedia CTO Brion Vibber raised the file upload limit for our image servers to 100 megabytes in order to make space for larger movies. Today I learned of a new project that might make picture stills that are even 10 or 20 times larger than that ubiquitous. How cool would that be? Imagine Wikipedia filled with stunning panomaras of landmark sites that can be zoomed in several orders of magnitude.

Here is the same picture of the inauguration of Barack Obama at three zoomlevels (click image for original size of screenshot). Is this new? I would say so, even when I have seen images like this before.

Final image size is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels.
By: David Bergman (DavidBergman) on January 22, 2009

What is new is that the robot that was used to make the 220 images from which the composite picture was stitched together is meant to become a commodity, and does not cost more than a medium priced digital compact camera. Introductory Beta Price: $279.00 (regularly $379.00) I would have believed it when the price had been tenfold. So I took a deep breath and ordered one ($80 shipment to the Netherlands). Camera not included, but most digital compact camera’s will work. There are instruction videos on the site.

The stitch software is open source (but the online image browser uses Flash). As the about page tells us: GigaPan is the newest development of the Global Connection Project, which aims to help us meet our neighbors across the globe, and learn about our planet itself.  [..] GigaPan has been sponsored by Google, CMU and the NASA/Ames Intelligent Robotics Group. GigaPan is part of the Global Connection Project at Carnegie Mellon University. The Fine Family Foundation has provided gift funding enabling the Gigapan system to be used by scientists internationally for exploration, discovery and documentation.

You can upload stitched images to their site for interactive browsing. The uploader automatically rejects images that are less than 50 megapixel.

Here is another one: same picture, two zoom levels.

Hanauma Bay 70 columns X 25 rows of individual 8 megapixel frames stitched almost seamlessly by the GigaPan stitcher.
By: Richard Palmer (Apapane) on May 19, 2008

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3 Responses to GigaPan

  1. bawolff says:

    I must say, thats awesome.

  2. Pingback: Andrew Lih » Blog Archive » Gigapan Goodness

  3. Erik says:

    One GigaPan user gave this comment: “All cars drove slowly, they thought it were a radar trap.”

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