Taking a Gigapixel Picture

Some researchers in the Netherlands created the largest digital panoramic
photo in the world. Could there be a new trend in making one’s own gigapixel photo?

The finished image is 2.5 billion pixels in size – making it about 500
times the resolution of images produced by good consumer digital cameras.
The huge image of Delft was created by stitching together 600 single snaps
of the Dutch city. If printed out in standard 300 dots per inch resolution
the picture would be 2.5m high and 6m long.

The researchers have put the image on a Web site which lets viewers explore
the wealth of detail that it captures. Tools on the page let viewers zoom in
on the city and its surroundings in great detail. The website is already
proving popular and currently has more than 200,000 visitors every day. The
image was created by imaging experts from the Dutch research and technology
laboratory TNO which created the 2.5 gigapixel photo as a summer time challenge.

The goal of the project was to be one of the first groups to make gigapixel
images. The first image of such a size was manually constructed by US
photographer Max Lyons in November 2003. That image portrayed Bryce Canyon
National Park, in Utah and was made up of 196 separate photographs.
The panorama of Delft is a little staid in contrast to the dramatic
rockscape captured in Mr Lyons image. “He did it all by hand, which was an
enormous effort, and we got the idea that if you use automatic techniques,
it would be feasible to build a larger image,” said Jurgen den Hartog, one
of the TNO researchers behind the project. “We were not competing with Mr
Lyons, but it started as a lunchtime bet.” [Continued…]

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