World Record For Panoramic Photo – 320 GigaPixel

World Record For Panoramic Photo – 320 GigaPixel

London in 48,640 images

Unique perspective of London

What is wrong with the wires?

Can you find Buzby in the London panorama?
A large scale unique project that has been in the works for many months now has just been unveiled. The project which took place in London just after the 2012 Olympics captured the largest ever 360 degrees panoramic picture – depicting the city of London in super high resolution details.
Over the past several years more and more super high resolution panoramic images appeared online. Probably the largest collection of these images, often known as  gigapixel images (as they are made of images with a combined resolution of more than 1000 megapixels) can be found on the 360 Cities website. Formed by a Czech based company.
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The founders of 360 Cities have been breaking gigapixel records for several years now and they were involved in most of the most well known pervious gigapixel projects including the former record gigapixel which also took place in London (in 2010) which “only” had 80 gigapixels, Paris (26 gigapixels) and many more.
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Creating a gigapixel image is a complex task – you first need to take thousands of images using a high quality camera and a long telephoto lens mounted on a special robotic arm which moves slightly each time to cover the entire relevant field of view. Since the number of pictures often exceeds that can be stored on a memory card the photographer needs to consider hooking the camera to a computer as well as provide power for the camera for several hours. A clear day is also preferable with as little change in lighting as possible (although in many cases this will have to be worked out by software later on).
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After taking all the pictures (typically from a high building with uninterrupted view), all the images need to be proceeded and stitched together using a special software. The more images you have – the more computing power you require and the more time this can take (anywhere between several days to several weeks).
The current London panorama project took the entire concept of gigapixel photography a gaint step forward. Here are a few interesting facts about the project and why is it so groundbreaking:

  • The finished panorama has 320 gigapixels (4 times as large as the previous attempt which actually also took place in London in 2010).
  • The panorama is made out of no less than 48,640 images.
  • All picture making the panorama were taken over a period of 3 days, however it took 3 months for a computer to process them!
  • If the panorama will ever be printed on paper it will be 321 feet long and 78 feet tall (in normal photographic resolution).
  • All pictures were taken from the 29’th floor of the BT tower in London giving a 20 mile view into the horizon of the city with unrecorded detail.
  • Making the panorama took 4 Canon EOS 7D cameras with EF 400mm f/2.8L  IS II USM lenses and Extender EF 2x III teleconverters were mounted on Clauss company Rodeon VR Head ST robotic panorama heads.
  • After the shot all 48+ thousand raw images were processed using a Fujitsu Technology Solutions’ Celsius R920 workstation with 256GB of RAM and 16 cores at 3.1GHz, and Autopano Giga panorama stitching software from Kolor – a process which took several weeks to complete.
  • The result of the project comes in the form of an online interactive photo comprised of a multi-layered, tiled 360 image of extremely high resolution that allow users to zoom in and out.

·      The result of the project comes in the form of an online interactive photo comprised of a multi-layered, tiled 360 image of extremely high resolution that allow users to zoom in and out.
 
Not everything is perfect of course (as can be expected with such a complex project). The 360 Cities team decided not to hide personal details (faces/car numbers) in the picture – something which you can typically find in other large online pictures such as Google street view for example. More interestingly, you can find some errors in the picture caused by movement which happened between different shots (Look for example at the broken lines on the giant London wheel – there are many other examples you can find).
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Finally – if you if you are feeling overly adventuress we suggest you try and find Buzby in the picture – you might win an iPad (you can find out more on that here).
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You can view the 320 gigapixel panorama of London on the following page.
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About the author

Iddo Genuth

Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.

View all articles by Iddo Genuth